Pinata Rules

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PInatas have become the main event at both children and adult birthday parties.
PInatas have become the main event at both children and adult birthday parties. (Image: party image by Silvia Bogdanski from Fotolia.com)

The piñata game originated as a traditional party game in Hispanic countries. Family and friends would gather together to break a clay pot filled with candy and coins. Today, the piñata has been redesigned into a hollow papier-mâché and cardboard sculpture covered with brightly colored tissue paper. Piñatas are crafted in all shapes and sizes. They can be made by hand or purchased from a party store ready to be filled. This exciting game is still played around the world at birthdays and other special celebrations.

Hanging the Piñata

Before play can start, the piñata must be hung in an outside location. Scout out your party site for a place where the piñata can swing freely, such as a tree branch or basketball hoop. Choose a hanging height that will allow the piñata to dangle above the tallest guest's head. Tie a tight knot to secure the piñata.

Creating a Circle

To give players enough room to hit the piñata, measure a circle with at least a 15-foot radius. Mark the circle with a jump rope or sidewalk chalk. When a player is hitting the piñata, no other players are allowed inside the circle. Tell players to leave their stick inside the circle after they finish their turn.

Taking Turns

Line players up in size order from smallest to largest. Blindfold the first player and spin him around a couple of times. Direct the player toward the piñata and let him swing three or four times at it. To make the game more difficult, swing the piñata up and down. Encourage participants waiting their turn to call out false directions to confuse the player. After the player has struck the piñata a number of times, switch players. If play slows down too much, throw out additional pieces of candy to give players something to collect.

Grabbing the Goodies

After the piñata has been struck a number of times, it will start to break open. As the goodies fall to the ground, players must collect them. Make sure the hitter has finished her turn and put down the stick before inviting players to enter the circle to gather any scattered pieces. When the piñata breaks completely, players run in and collect all of the prizes. Give each player a bag to store their goodies in. Be sure to shake out the piñata for any hidden treats. An empty piñata makes a beautiful souvenir.

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