As the Christmas holidays creep ever closer you might start to look around for ideas and things to do to keep the kids entertained and occupied. It can be a hectic time of year for any parent, with masses of preparation, work and organisation, highly excited children running around and icy weather that stops you from hurling them out into the garden to run off some steam.
So in an effort to help all parents facing a week or so leading up to Christmas with excitable children looking for something to do, why not set them the task of creating a suitably festive Christmas piñata? It's surprisingly easy, can be very effective as a decoration, can be used as part of a party game, can incorporate an element of competition, is cheap to create, and offers a whole range of opportunities. In this post we'll explain the best way to go about creating a Xmas piñata, including the materials you need, the best way of creating a piñata, and some ideas for decorating it to look suitably Christmassy.
A piñata is a great idea for a whole variety of occasions, and is essentially a decorated papier mache model which is hollow inside, and which contains sweets, toys or prizes. The piñata is then hung up, and children are blindfolded, given a stick and spun round, after which they have to try to bash open the piñata, releasing the sweets or prizes.
To make your own piñata is quite easy, and all you'll need are some old newspapers, some PVA glue, a bucket, some water, a balloon (a round one of a goodish size is best, and one that's fairly good quality) and of course some paint and other decorative oddments. So how do you go about making your own piñata? There are two ways of starting, depending on the size of gift you're inserting into the piñata. If you just have small sweets or items that aren't sharp then you can drop them into the balloon before you inflate it. Otherwise you'll need to add them as you nearly finish the piñata.
Either way, inflate the balloon - not fully, but large enough for the piñata to be reasonably easy to hit. Next tear up the newspapers into strips about an inch wide, and mix some PVA glue in a bucket with some water. The next stage takes time (translated as 'keeps the children occupied for ages!') and involves dipping the paper strips into the PVA glue and water mixture, and then laying them across the balloon. It's usually best to make sure you cross strips one way, then the other, overlapping and crossing them for extra strength. Try to cover the whole of the balloon. Once the whole balloon is covered, start again with another layer, and another. Ideally at least three layers in total, but if you need to add the toys or presents at this stage, you'll need to leave the paper mache to dry, and then use a craft knife to cut a slit large enough for you to drop the items in to the piñata.
Don't worry about bursting the balloon, because you need to anyway. If the gifts are already inside the balloon, simply stick a pin into the piñata once the papier mache has dried to burst the balloon. Once the piñata has enough layers, and has fully dried, you can start painting it. A round Christmas piñata would be perfect painted as a Christmas pudding, or even a fat round Santa, or a snowman.
Paint and decorate the piñata, and then use string to tie it up high. They make great decorations, but on Christmas Day the kids will love bashing it down and breaking it apart to get the toys, sweets or prizes. This idea is also ideal if you happen to have a Christmas party, or even a birthday party at any time of the year (although perhaps decoration as a football would be more suitable than a Christmas pudding if this happens to be in June!) If your children do make a Xmas piñata, why not take a photo and send it in to us here - we'll publish the best ones to show off your handiwork!