HOW TO: Begin Indoctrinating Toddlers to Piñata Fun

We gave Little Miss her first taste of pinata pandemonium pondering at her second birthday party this past weekend. It was a smashing success. Almost.

Here is how our plans met reality:

1) We created a pull-string pinata. It involves participants taking turns pulling dangling ribbons, one of which opens a trap door, releasing goodies.

2) We filled the piñata with non-candy items which toddlers could enjoy with adult supervision, all placed inside Easter eggs.

Photo of toddlers staring at a pull-string pinata as hands pull one of the strings. A girl is visible standing behind the ribbons contemplating the scene.

  • Farm animal stickers and zoo animal stickers. Toddlers love stickers, placed on their shirts or on the back of their hands. We bought rolls of stickers from Oriental Trading Company which could be cut and folded into the Easter eggs. Stickers on traditional sheets sold in stores are usually spaced too close together and at odd angles.
  • Adhesive wooden farm animal heads. These  seemed smaller than advertised and had a tiny adhesive point, making them a potential choking hazard for young’uns if they become detached.
  • Self-inking rubber stamps featuring animal faces.

3) We suspended the pinata from a broom pole.

4) The toddlers were told our chicken-duckish looking piñata would lay eggs containing goodies. Each kid was to take a turn pulling a string from the chicken, then grab for the eggs when they came out.

Sounds simple enough, right? Not quite.

We encountered three problems:

1) After ten ribbons were pulled, the trap door was triggered — only, it didn’t open all the way. Our made-in-Mexico pinata was composed of thick cardboard and the door got stuck because toddlers can’t yank with much force. The eggs began flowing with a few good shakes of the piñata.

2) A third of the Easter eggs cracked open when they hit the floor, despite the pinata only being a couple feet off the ground and the eggs hitting a foam play pad. Next time we’ll do it over a lawn.

3) We had six kids: 1 one-year-old, 3 two-year-olds and 2 three-year-olds.  These kids had never seen a pinata before. When the eggs hit the floor there was no excitement. Those who remembered their Easter egg hunts three months earlier only had a vague notion they should be interested in collecting the eggs.

The parents did a good job of regulating egg collection so that
everyone received their fair share (not that these kids knew the difference or would even care). Like any contrived activity parents make their toddlers do, we acted excited to get them excited. Like dutiful toddlers, they had fun, but they weren’t quite sure why.


2 Responses to “HOW TO: Begin Indoctrinating Toddlers to Piñata Fun”

  1. Bev says:

    >> Our made-in-Mexico piñata was composed of thick cardboard and the door got stuck because toddlers can’t yank with much force.< <

    So who had the hammer?

    June 18th, 2006 at 4:36 pm

  2. AJ says:

    There was no hammer, just a 7-foot-tall dad willing to shake the pinata until the trap door opened. Not that his height is pertinent, but he probably is often asked to hoist pinatas. It’s also difficult to take birthday photos without decapitating him.

    For everyone else, here is the hammer reference:

    June 18th, 2006 at 4:53 pm