How to Play the Piñata Game at Parties
Piñatas are an exciting addition to any party. It is a lot of fun bashing a piñata open and discovering which kinds of treats are inside. The mad rush to pick up all of the treats from the ground is also a lot of fun for kids and adults alike.
If you want to have a piñata at your next party, you have come to the right place. In this post, I’ll share some information about the origins of the piñata before explaining how to play the piñata game at parties. Afterwards, I’ll share some high-quality piñatas that are perfect for different kinds of parties.
Where did the piñata originate?
Although piñatas are mostly used for parties nowadays, traditionally, they were used for various ceremonies and religious events. Surprisingly, the first piñatas didn’t come from Spain or some part of Latin America — piñata’s were first used in China.
The Chinese used sculptures that were shaped like cows, oxen, and other farm animals. These piñatas were usually covered with symbols and colors that would increase the fruitfulness of the coming growing season. Each piñata would contain different kinds of seeds, which were usually planted after being recovered. After being smashed open, the piñata would be burnt, with the ashes retained for good luck.
The tradition made its way to Europe in the 14 th century, when Christians in Spain began using piñatas as a part of their Lent celebrations. The invented the word piñata, which came from pignatta, which means “earthenware pot” — the kind of vessel often used to make their piñatas.
Piñatas became popular in Mexico in the 16 th century, however, the Mayans had already invented a tradition involving the piñata. The Mayan tradition of using piñatas is very similar to how we use them today, with blindfolded participants attempting to hit the piñata. The Aztecs would fill a clay pot with colored feathers and people would attempt to crack the pots open using large sticks.
Modern piñatas are typically made from craft paper and cardboard. These materials are used because they are easy for children to break open and won’t send any dangerous shards of clay pot flying in many directions.
Although most people fill their piñatas with candy, they can also be filled with many other items. In Mexico, piñatas are often filled with a combination of wrapped candy, toys, and fruit. “Trap” piñatas can also be made, which can be filled with flour, eggs, streamers, and confetti. It can be fun to have multiple piñatas in action, with the participants trying to guess which ones contain candy and which ones are a trap!
How do you play the piñata game?
The piñata game can be the highlight of a party. It is the perfect game for many kinds of party including birthday parties, quinceañeras, bar mitzvahs, graduation parties, BBQs, anniversaries, engagement parties, and bachelorette parties. To play the piñata game:
- Gather the items you need
To play the piñata game, you will need at least one piñata, a blindfold, a stick, and items to fill the piñata with. The most common piñata fillers are candy, toys, dollar store finds, craft supplies, play jewelry, and glow sticks — but use your imagination.
If you want to make the game even more exciting, use multiple piñatas filled with different kinds of items. The stick should be one that is light enough for the participants to lift, so very young children may require a lightweight plastic baton.
- Find a location to hang the piñata
Normally, the piñata game is played outdoors, but indoors is also fine if you have a large enough room available. All you need is an object to hang the piñata from. Suitable objects are ones that are stable and capable of holding the weight of the filled piñata.
The best objects include overhead beams, tree branches, and basketball rings. If the participants are children, you can use a rope that is being held by two adults, with the piñata in the middle.
When calculating the best piñata height, think about the height of the shortest participant and the length of the stick. The piñata height must be low enough that they can easily hit it with a swing. If you have participants that greatly vary in height, consider raising the piñata height between rounds. The piñata should always be above the participant’s heads, so they must swing the stick at an upwards angle.
3. Fill the piñata
Before the party has started, fill the piñata with your chosen goodies. Do it out of sight, so the attendees of the party have no idea about what the piñata holds.
4. Setup the piñata
It’s usually a good idea to set up the piñata when you set up the party decorations. This makes the piñata a fun-looking centerpiece of the party and gives attendees something to look forward to.
5. Have the participants get ready
When it is time to play the piñata game, have all of the participants stand in a circle around the piñata. If the participants include children, have them stand in order from the shortest to the tallest. This gives the youngest children a chance to have a few swings before the bigger kids crack it open.
All participants should be at least 15 feet from the piñata so the person with a stick doesn’t accidentally hit someone. If the player is older than 3 years of age, blindfold them and spin them around a few times so they lose their sense of direction. You won’t need to do this for very young children as they will struggle to hit the piñata even without the blindfold.
Each player gets 5 swings at the piñata. The other players can shout out to count the swings and give clues about the piñatas position. Once a player has completed their turn, they give the blindfold to the next person in the circle.
Once the piñata has been successfully opened with a swing of the stick, make sure the child with the stick knows they have succeeded — this will ensure they stop swinging again as the children rush in to collect candy. You can throw in additional candy to make sure that all of the children collect some of the treats.
To make the game even more challenging, you can push the piñata so it swings around. You can also have some guests give the player incorrect information about the position of the piñata.
What is the best piñata to buy?
There are dozens of different piñatas available. Each one has a unique design, candy capacity, and construction quality. To help you choose the right piñata for your party, we’ve created list of the 5 best piñatas that are currently available. These colorful piñatas will make your next party much more enjoyable for attendees.
Aztec Imports Dragon Piñata
This colorful dragon piñata is perfect for any children’s party. It is made a combination of tissue paper and cardboard which kids can get through with a few well-aimed hits. This piñata features a large opening that can be filled with up to 2 pounds of toys, candy, and other goodies. It also comes with a cable tie which makes hanging the piñata simple. It measures 14 x 6 x 20 inches. View the Aztec Imports Dragon Piñata.
Mexican Star Piñata Party Decoration
If you are looking for a piñata that is suitable for both children’s and adult’s parties, take a closer look at this Mexican Star piñata. It is a handmade piñata is created by Mexican artists from a combination of cardboard, foil, and paper. The colorful design makes it an attractive centerpiece for any kind of party. When assembled, the piñata measures 32 inches from tassel to tassel. It is very easy to assemble and comes with a ribbon to hang it from an object. View the Mexican Star Piñata.
Ya Otta Pinata Pig Piñata
This is a super cute pig piñata that measures 18 x 9 x 11 inches when fully assembled. It is simple to assemble and has a large label which helps you find the pre-made hole for candy insertion. It comes with a built-in hang loop and can hold up to 2 pounds of candy and toys. View the Ya Otta Pinata Pig Piñata.
Diamond Ring Piñata
This diamond ring piñata is perfect for engagement parties, bridal showers, anniversaries, and bachelorette parties. It is a very pretty piñata that measures 8.2 x 2 x 11.8 inches when fully assembled. The perfect attention-grabbing design for special events. View the Diamond Ring Piñata.
Lytio Mexican Donkey Piñata
If you are after a more traditional-looking piñata, this Lytio Mexican Donkey Piñata will fit the bill. Made from cardboard and colorful tissue paper, it is the perfect piñata for a children’s party or any Mexican-themed party. It is made from colorful tissue paper and can hold up to 2 pounds of candy. This piñata measures 8 x 7 x 6 inches. The company that makes this piñata makes traditional piñatas with many other designs including guitar piñatas, treasure chest piñatas, football piñatas, cactus piñatas, and chili piñatas. View the Lytio Mexican Donkey Piñata.
Thanks for reading How to Play the Piñata Game at Parties! Make sure you check out our Mexican themed games and activities.
History of the Pinata and Mexican Candy
Chances are good that you’ve been to a party with a piñata. Whether they’re celebrating a birthday or some other occasion, Mexican fiestas are often the place to find guests circled around a piñata, taking turns trying to break it open to spill out the candy. Kids aren’t the only ones who can have fun with this party activity, though: People of all ages have been known to enjoy a piñata at a party. There’s a fascinating history behind the Mexican piñata, though, and it might even surprise you.
What Is a Piñata?
A piñata is a hollow object that’s often covered with papier-mâché and painted or decorated with tissue paper. Piñatas might take the shape of well-known characters or generic figures. Inside, piñatas contain fruit, toys, or even Mexican candy. Traditionally, a piñata’s shape was a seven-pointed star, although it could be almost anything nowadays. At a party, the piñata will hang from a rope. Each guest takes a turn being blindfolded, spinning around, and trying to hit the piñata with a stick to break it open. Sometimes the piñata game is made even more challenging if someone pulls on the end of the rope to move the piñata around. The game continues until someone finally breaks the piñata open and all of the goodies fall out to the ground. Everyone can then move in to gather the treats.
History of the Piñata
The origin of the piñata has been traced back to the time of the Christmas posadas, or celebrations, in Acolman de Nezahualcoyotl, which is near the archaeological site of Teotihuacan. In 1586, Acolman’s Augustinian friars were instructed to hold special masses before Christmas, called “misas de Aguinaldo.” During these masses, the friars are said to have introduced the first piñatas. The friars were trying to draw big crowds to their masses, so they used fireworks, sparklers, and piñatas. They created piñatas as an allegory, which is a teaching device they used to try to teach the people about Christianity.
The first piñatas were shaped like stars with seven points. Each point stood for a deadly sin: envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath. The friars chose bright colors for the piñatas to symbolize the temptation that people face to fall into sin. People were blindfolded to represent the need for faith, and using the stick to hit the piñata was supposed to represent a person’s will to overcome the urge to sin. The treats inside piñatas are representative of the riches of heaven, which those who overcome sin will receive. So the entire process of whacking a piñata was conceived as a way to teach people the importance of faith and virtue as they strive to overcome sin and reach heaven.
Historians have also found a similar idea that dates back much farther, to the 1200s in China. It’s said that Marco Polo observed a Chinese celebration that involved a clay bull that was decorated with colored paper. Villagers would hit the clay bull with a stick until it broke open, spilling out a bounty of seeds. Then, all of the villagers would come forward to get a piece of the statuette, which they buried in their fields so they could have bountiful harvests. Marco Polo returned to Italy with a clay bull. It wasn’t long before clay pots filled with fruit were made a part of the Italians’ Lent celebrations.
Piñatas are popular with kids around the world, and they are common at birthday parties. In Mexico, piñatas might still be made out of a ceramic pot. These types of piñatas are easier to break, but the flying shards of the pot can be dangerous when the piñata breaks. Most people don’t know or think about the original meaning of piñatas as they play this fun game. Often, breaking open the piñata comes right before it’s time to blow out the candles and cut into the birthday cake. If you go to a Christmas party and a piñata is planned, it might be in the shape of a star. Whether you’re planning a birthday party or a Mexican-themed party, a piñata can be a fun addition to your festivities.