Guest Author - Kimberly Misra
Make a pinata to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, your child's birthday, or any day! Kids will probably be most interested in the candy and prizes, but the process of making the pinata is pretty fun too! For this project you will need liquid starch (found in the laundry aisle), a balloon, newspaper, a length of sturdy rope, and candy or other small items to fill your finished pinata.
Begin by tearing the newspaper into long strips, about 2 inches wide. They do not have to be perfect. Pour some liquid starch into a shallow pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Blow up your balloon, being careful not to overinflate it, and knot the end securely. Tie a piece of string to the knot. You will use the string to hang the balloon during the drying process.
Next, cover the balloon with newspaper strips dipped in liquid starch. Demonstrate the process before the kids begin; strips that are too wet will slow down the drying process. Dip a newspaper strip in liquid starch and run your fingers down the coated strip from top to bottom to remove excess liquid. Place the strip on the balloon, and gently smooth it out with your fingers. Continue in this manner until the entire balloon is covered, leaving a bare space around the top of the balloon. This is where you will add your candy later. Try to crisscross and overlap the strips as you add them. This will make the finished pinata stronger. When you have finished one layer, add a second. If you want a really strong pinata, or have a lot of kids that will be hitting it, you may want to add a third layer.
When the layers are finished, you will need to let the balloon dry. You can hang it by the string from a closet or shower rod. The drying process will take two or three days.
When your balloon is dry, attach a rope to it using masking tape. Starting at the top, make a loop of rope vertically around the balloon and tie it securely at the top, leaving a long end of rope for hanging. Use plenty of masking tape to tape down the rope all around the balloon. At this point, you can paint the pinata if you like.
Now comes the fun part! Carefully insert a sharp object into the mouth of the pinata to pop the balloon. Shake out the balloon fragments and fill the cavity with candy. Hang your pinata up by the rope and let the kids whack at it with a stick or baseball bat until it breaks open, spilling their prize.