Do you have a graduation or birthday celebration coming up? I have a perfect project for you and your kids to add a little excitement to the celebration!

Today’s STEAM Activity is making a Piñata! This activity is easy and SO.MUCH.FUN to smash open, but it’s also a messy, multi-day process. If you are willing to clean up the mess and teach your kids patience, they will get an awesome payoff in the end. 

My kids love piñatas, so this was a thrill for them to make their own. We made this piñata to celebrate my son’s kindergarten graduation and my husband’s birthday. It was an exciting way for us to celebrate together at home.

MATERIALS:

  • Balloon 
  • Flour 
  • Water 
  • Newspaper
  • Paint 
  • String 
  • Candy or stickers

PROCEDURE:

  1. Shred newspaper into 1” strips.
That’s a lot of shredded newspaper!

2. Measure 1 cup flour, then it pour into a large bowl.

3. Add 1 cup water to the flour, then mix well until you have a thick paste.

4. Blow up a balloon, and tie it closed.

5. Dip the newspaper strips into the paste, covering them completely, then pull the strip between your fingers to squeeze off extra paste. 

6. Place the strips onto the balloon, laying them overlapping in the same direction until the balloon is completely covered. 

7. Allow the first layer to dry completely overnight. Then repeat Steps 2 through 6 adding a second layer, but lay the strips in the opposite direction from how you laid them with the first layer. Let dry completely overnight.

8. Optional: Add a 3rd layer of you want a very strong piñata. We did only 2 layers and it lasted a couple rounds of my kids hitting it before breaking. If your kids are older or you will have more than 2 kids hitting the piñata, I would recommend adding the 3rd layer for extra strength so it holds up a little longer. The third layer will add an extra day (while you wait for the 3rd layer to dry) before your piñata is ready.

9. Paint the Piñata, using any colors or designs you want. Let dry completely. 

10. Pop the balloon and pull it out, then expand the hole enough so you can add candy.

11. Add candy or stickers to the piñata by dropping them through the hole you just created.

12. Poke 2 or 4 small holes near the large opening on top and tie a string through each hole.

13. Hang from a tree or any stable structure outside. We hung ours on a soccer goal because all our backyard trees are still small.

14. Let kids take turns hitting with a bat or stick until it breaks open, then they collect the fallen candy!

STEAM CONCEPTS LEARNED:

  • Science: The water and flour form a starch glue. The starch glue works by forming a bond between the starch in the flour and the starch in the newspaper. The water is a carrier for the starch to bond, so that is why the layers need to dry (the water evaporates) before the strong bond is formed and the piñata takes shape. We use the balloon to shape the wet papers into the final shape we want the dry piñata, and the starch glue doesn’t stick to the balloon since it does not contain starch.
  • Art: Get creative with decorating the piñata and turn it into an art lesson. You can paint it like we did, talking about mixing colors and proper painting technique. Or you can use tissue paper and add fringe similar to piñatas you buy at the store. Have your children come up with an idea or design (such as an owl), then have them help figure out how to turn your balloon shaped piñata into an owl!

My kids had as much fun with our homemade piñata as they have with store bought piñatas. It held up to multiple hits from each kid, held lots of candy, and was beautiful to look at. I think we are going to start making our own piñatas from now on because it was so easy and fun to make.

Have you ever made your own piñata? Will you try it now after reading this post?

Disclosure

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