Piñata Tips & Tricks

By Emily Churchill

Created on June 14, 2016

Need a smashing hit for your next party? A pinata is a perfect activity! They are made in hundreds of shapes and sizes. Or you can make your own if you've got the gift of craftiness. And in case you didn't know, pinatas can be filled with anything small and unbreakable, so they aren't just for kids! If you have safety concerns about swinging a stick, we'll show you how to convert any traditional type into a pull-string version.  

Pinatas

Animals and popular characters are common choices when it comes to themed pinatas. But you can also "think outside the box" and choose generic shapes to match your theme. Or use a customizable pinata and add a printed image of your choice.

The Traditional Pinata

Shop our pinata accessories or grab a bat or a broomstick. Blindfold the kids. Spin them around a few times. And then let them swing, one at a time, until the pinata busts open and empties all the candy. Tip: a sheet or drop cloth below the pinata will help with cleanup.  

The Pull-String Pinata

A pull string pinata is great for the little ones. Each child gets to pull one string, but only one string will release the filler. Pull all the strings at once for very small children. Bonus: pull string pinatas remain mostly intact and can still be part of the decorations. 

Pinata Fillers

When it comes to fillings, candy is certainly not your only option. Steer clear of anything breakable or sharp. Otherwise, if it's small enough to fit inside, it's fair game for a prize. Be sure there are enough prizes inside, so everyone gets a fair share. Consider choosing prizes to match your theme.
  • Money
  • Spa supplies
  • Toy favors
  • Dollar store finds
  • Craft supplies
  • Play jewelry
  • Glow sticks

Safety Tips


When it comes to fillings, candy is certainly not your only option. Steer clear of anything breakable or sharp. Otherwise, if it's small enough to fit inside, it's fair game for a prize. Be sure there are enough prizes inside, so everyone gets a fair share. Consider choosing prizes to match your theme.

  • Before the kids step up to bat, be sure to hang the pinata securely with a sturdy rope.
  • Only one person goes at a time.
  • Allow a safe distance from the pinata batting area.
  • If the children are very young, choose a pull string pinata.
  • A plastic whiffle ball bat might be the safest tool to smack a traditional pinata.
  • Turn the blindfolded hitter around 2 or 3 times. Then point them in the right direction, within hitting distance.
  • When the pinata opens, don't let the kids rush for the spoils. Hand out favor bags and allow the children to slowly gather their prizes.
  • Limit the number of prizes each child may choose (based on how many items are inside) so no feelings get hurt.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much pinata filler do I need?
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.
  • A 16-28 inch pinata can hold up to 2 LBS of prizes or 100 pieces of candy filler, enough for 8-10 children.
  • A pinata larger than 34 inches can hold about 3 LBS of filler or 150 pieces of candy, enough for 12-15 children.
When should I use a pull-string pinata?
  • To make it easier for children between ages 3 and 7 to open
  • If your party is indoors
  • For a larger crowd, a typical pull string has about 20 strings and would give everyone a chance to participate.
  • A shy group of children may prefer a pull-string.
  • For ease and the safety of any children attending the party with disabilities
 
What if my pinata won't break? 
There are a few easy tricks for this! In some cases, you may need to hit the pinata in just the right spot with just the right amount of force to break it open. This will normally be towards the bottom center of the pinata. If you try to hit it in the bottom center and prizes still won't fall out, cut a small slot in the bottom center and then continue playing the game. A few small strategic cuts beforehand with an Exacto blade will add extra breakpoints.  


Converting to a Pull String Pinata

  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.

Top of Page