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Pinata Tips and Tricks

Pinata Tips and Tricks

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Before you hang your pinata and have your guests bash it open, here are a few tips to make the game go more smoothly. Below we will detail the best way to fill a pinata, pinata filler suggestions, how to play the pinata game and give you some additional tips. If you are playing the pinata game with toddlers, we suggest converting your regular pinata into a pull-string pinata. Directions for making a pull-string pinata can be found at the end of this guide.

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Browse this guide:
How to Fill a Pinata
Pinata Filler Suggestions
How to Play the Pinata Game
Additional Pinata Tips
How to Make a Pull-String Pinata

Pinata Tips & Tricks

How to Fill a Pinata
  1. All pinatas have a designated opening for filling purposes. To find this area, look for the sticker on your pinata that says "press here to fill."
  2. You can either press into that part of the pinata with your finger or carefully cut a U shaped flap using a knife or scissors.
  3. Make sure you do not tear or cut off this section because it will make a hole.
  4. Choose candy or small prizes that will fit into the hole (see pinata filler suggestions below) and place as many as you can inside the pinata.
  5. The bigger the pinata, the more prizes it can hold. We suggest that you fill one pinata for every 8-12 guests.
  6. After you fill the pinata, push the flap down or tape it in place.
  7. Hang your pinata with sturdy rope or string by its plastic handle.
  8. We suggest hanging the pinata about 1-2 feet above the guests' eye level.
  9. You can even use your pinata as a table decoration and then hang it when it's time to play the game.

Pinata Filler Suggestions

Here are the best types of toys and candy to use as pinata filler. A good rule of thumb is to have three to four prizes for every child playing.

Good Pinata Filler Examples
  • Miniature chocolate candy
  • Individually wrapped hard or gummy candy
  • Stretchy animal flings
  • Shaped rubber bands
  • Stampers
  • Poppers
  • Gold coins
  • Child-sized rings
  • Fun shaped erasers
  • A bag of>pinata filler which already includes candy and toys

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Bad Pinata Filler Examples

Try not to use any prizes longer or wider than 2-inches. Also, try to avoid using candy that could break. Below are examples of items not to use and the reason why.
  • Lollipops (breakable)
  • Boxes of raisins (too big)
  • Granola bars (too big)
  • Bags of cookies/chips/crackers (too big)
  • Stickers (they could blow away)
  • Decks of cards (too big)
  • Full size candy bars (too big)
  • Anything sharp (hazard)

How to Play the Pinata Game

If you are using a regular pinata, you can choose to play the game either with or without a blindfold. Have one prepared and ask the children which they prefer. Older children should use a blindfold to make the game more challenging.
  1. Set up some rules ahead of time to prevent the children from grabbing at prizes once the pinata breaks such as:

    • Each child can only have 3-4 prizes

    • No pushing or shoving

  2. Line the children up single file according to height.
  3. Stand everyone far enough from the pinata so that no one will get hurt by the person swinging.
  4. The shortest child should play first. (This is a good idea especially if you have children of different ages playing. The oldest child will most likely hit the hardest and break the pinata. This way, everyone should get at least one turn.)
  5. If you're playing with blindfolds, tie it around the first player's eyes. You can use a scarf or tie if you don't have a blindfold.
  6. Hand the first child in line a baseball bat (wooden or plastic) or a broom handle.
  7. Spin them around three times slowly and then stop spinning once they are facing the pinata.
  8. The child now gets three chances to break the pinata open with the bat.
  9. After they take their three turns, the next child in line gets blindfolded and spun around.
  10. Continue taking turns until one child manages to break open the pinata.
  11. After the pinata is open, give your guests empty favor bags to fill with prizes.

How to Use a Pull-String Pinata

If you are playing the pinata game with a pull-string pinata, see the directions below.
  1. Set up some rules ahead of time to prevent the children from grabbing once the pinata breaks such as:
    • Each child can only have 3-4 prizes

    • No pushing or shoving

  2. You can use a pull-string pinata one of two ways.
    • For younger guests: Have all the guests pull a different ribbon at the same time.

    • For older guests: Have the children take turns choosing one ribbon to pull.

  3. Only one ribbon will pull open the trap door to make the prizes fall out!
  4. After the pinata is open, give your guests empty favor bags to fill with prizes.

Questions & Answers

Here are some answers to common pinata questions or concerns.

What is the recommended age for playing the pinata game?

We highly recommend that children under 3 should not play the pinata game. Pinatas are filled with small prizes that could be choking hazards for toddlers. Also, children under 3 could get hurt during the game. You should also keep pets away while this game is played.

How much pinata filler do I need for my pinata?

Refer to the size of the pinata before you purchase it to make sure it will hold enough candy for all of your guests. If you're having a big party, you may need more than one pinata.
  • A 16 to 28-inch pinata can hold up to 2 pounds of prizes or about 100 pieces of pinata filler. This is enough for 8-10 children.
  • A pinata up to 34 inches high will hold up to 3 pounds of prizes or about 150 pieces of pinata filler. This is enough for about 12-15 children.

When should I use a pull-string pinata?

There are several situations where a pull-string pinata is more appropriate for your party.
  • Children between ages 3 and 7 will have an easier time opening a pull-string pinata.
  • If your party is indoors
  • If you have a lot of children at the party, a pull-string typically has 20 strings to pull.
  • A shy group of children may prefer a pull-string

What if my pinata won't break?

Don't panic if your pinata won't break. In some cases, you may need to hit the pinata in just the right spot with just the right amount of force for the prizes to fall out. This will normally be towards the bottom center of the pinata. If you try to hit the pinata in the bottom center and the prizes still won't fall out, cut a small slot in the bottom center and then continue playing the game. This is a rare occurrence but happens sometimes if your pinata is particularly large and sturdy.

Converting to a Pull-String

How to Make a Pull-String Pinata

A pull-string pinata works well for younger children and enclosed spaces, as well as for pinatas that your child might not feel comfortable hitting, such as a familiar licensed character. Instead of hitting the pinata, children pull strings attached to a hidden door that opens the pinata and releases the candy. Most pinatas can be converted to a pull-string style using the following instructions:
  1. Set the pinata down with the bottom facing up. Some oddly-shaped pinatas may require creativity in deciding where the pull flap should be placed.
  2. On the bottom, use an Exacto or utility knife to make a 3-sided trap door with approximately 3- to 4-inch sides.
  3. Use the point of the blade to make small slits through the cardboard on the flap, making enough slits for each ribbon that you plan to use (at least one for each guest).
  4. Cut the appropriate number of ribbons. Ribbon length should correspond to the height at which you plan to hang the pinata.
  5. Thread a ribbon through each slit and attach them in one of two ways:

    • Knot all of the ribbons together inside the flap. This allows all the children to pull the strings at the same time to open the pinata as a group.

    • Knot just one or two ribbons and leave the rest loose. This will allow each guest to select a ribbon to pull until someone finds the one that opens the flap.

  6. Fill the pinata with candy and/or small prizes.
  7. Close the flap and lightly seal it with a small piece of Scotch tape, using enough to hold the flap shut but not so much that you prevent the door from opening when someone pulls the knotted ribbon(s).
Save time by purchasing our>Pull Ribbon Pinata Conversion Kit, which includes 20 cut ribbons, tissue paper, and instructions.