How to Make a Dinosaur Pinata

Updated February 21, 2017

Bring a pinata to a party and watch the fun unfold. Pinatas are enormously entertaining for children. A pinata is a hollow figure, frequently shaped like an animal or some other familiar figure, often filled with candy, small toys, or other special treats. The object of a pinata is to whack it hard enough with a stick that its belly bursts open, spilling the treasure within on the crowd below. There is a hitch to this game, though: the wielder of the stick must be blindfolded to add an element of fairness to the game. Make your own dinosaur pinata, hang it from a low branch or swing set, and let the little ones go!

Blow up a large, spherical balloon and tie it off; this space will become your dinosaur’s body. Tape cardboard tubes from bathroom tissue to the balloon to make the dinosaur’s legs; you may need to cut them shorter to keep the proportions right. Use tape and construction paper to smooth out the connection between “body” and “legs.”

Use a longer cardboard tube (from paper toweling or gift wrap) to make the dinosaur’s long neck. Tape it to the balloon with masking tape. If your roll is long enough, bend the end for a head; if not, use another tissue tube for the figure’s head.

Make a dinosaur tail from somewhat stiff paper (a file folder or heavy construction paper will do). Fashion a long cone and tape the open end securely to the balloon opposite the neck/head. Bend it a bit to resemble a tail.

Cook up some papier mache paste: mix 1 part flour with 5 parts water; bring to a boil and cook until mixture thickens and becomes clear. Allow to cool a bit before using.

Tear newspaper in strips. Depending on the size of your balloon and your tubes, you may need to use several newspapers. (Use newsprint, not shiny paper.)

Dip the newspaper in the warm paste and apply it smoothly in a single layer over the dinosaur’s entire body, legs, neck, head and tail. Pay particular attention to the dinosaur’s “joints,” those places where you have attached tubes to the balloon. (Kids love this activity, so you might enlist their help and supervise the project.) Hang and allow to dry completely.

Apply a second smooth, thin layer of papier mache to the dinosaur. Allow to dry completely.

Use sharp scissors or a sharp knife to make a small opening in the dinosaur’s belly. Pop the balloon and gently remove it from the papier mache dinosaur. If you can’t get it out, leave it--just be certain it doesn’t cover the cut opening.

Paint the papier mache dinosaur in an appropriate color, which can be anything your imagination likes: yellow with orange spots, purple with red toenails, or a simple green. Use thin, water-based glue to attach pieces of tissue paper or other colorful paper to the painted dinosaur to enhance its texture and features.

Fill your pinata gently with treats and cover the opening in the dinosaur’s belly with a layer or two of tissue paper. Now, let the kids get to work!

Things You'll Need

  • Large, round balloon
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Newspaper, torn
  • Papier mache paste (flour and water)
  • Water-based paint
  • Paint
  • Tissue paper
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About the Author

Colleen Morrison has been writing professionally for two decades. She holds an M.A. from the University of Wyoming and a Ph.D. in history from Arizona State University. She ghostwrites articles, blogs and Web content for her clients. Articles under her name appear at M&M, eHow, Golflink and other sites.