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Making Pumpkin Piñatas

Get your classroom in the spooky spirit with this fun arts and crafts activity!


  • Large balloons (one per child)
  • Newspaper
  • Plain newsprint paper
  • Glue
  • String
  • 4-5 bottles of orange paint
  • 1-2 bottles of green paint
  • Black tissue paper
  • Utility knife (adult use only)
  • Strawberry baskets (one per child)
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker

What to Do:

  1. Ask a parent volunteer to blow up one balloon for each child in your class. The balloons should be approximately 4" to 6" inches in diameter.
  2. Cover the tables with newspaper. This is a messy project!
  3. Make papier-mâché using water and glue (two parts water to one part glue).
  4. The easiest way for young children to cover their balloons is to paint a whole sheet of newspaper with the glue/water mixture, place the balloon in the middle (knotted end up), and wrap the paper around the balloon.
  5. Help the children pull up the ends of the newspaper to cover the knot (stem) on their balloons (pumpkins).
  6. Help them twist the ends of the newspaper to form a handle (stem) for the "pumpkin" before putting on the second layer of newspaper. Demonstrate how to wind string around the balloon with the ends coming out at the top so the piñata can be hung up, then apply another layer of newspaper.
  7. Use masking tape and a marker to make a name label for each pumpkin. Attach one label to the string hanging out and one to the strawberry basket. Place the pumpkin on top of the strawberry basket to dry. It will take about a week to harden.
  8. The next week, repeat the process, substituting blank newsprint paper for newspaper. Have the children put two more layers of newsprint around the pumpkin (no string this time). Allow it to dry for one week.
  9. The next week, have the children paint the handles green and let dry.
  10. The next day, have them paint their pumpkins orange. Let dry overnight.
  11. Ask a parent volunteer to make holes in the tops of the pumpkin piñatas (to put goodies inside).
  12. Cut out shapes from black tissue paper. Encourage the children to glue the shapes to their pumpkin piñatas to make jack-o-lanterns.
  13. At your classroom Halloween party, have the children fill their piñatas with goodies they brought for each other from home and take them home.

More to Do: Bring in a "real" piñata for the children to explore.

Related Book: Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington This activity was provided by Linda Ford, from Sacramento, CA for inclusion in The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities for Children Ages 3 to 6.

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