Our Friend, Señor Piñata

My son Nick's 3rd grade class is learning about paper maché. Their schoolbook shows many wonderful (and easy) examples of paper maché projects such as: a pencil holder, a fruit bowl and a cute little jewelry box. That said, Nick's homework assignment this weekend was to create a paper maché masterpiece. This should be fairly easy, especially since the kids have Friday off from school.

Nick is a very intelligent and creative 9 year old. He also likes to think "outside" the box. He spent most of Thursday afternoon deciding what masterpiece to create. His paper maché project of choice...a piñata. Why? Because it's probably the most famous of all paper maché projects and its not even mentioned in the schoolbook. Nick needs to pay tribute to the piñata. Now that he's decided what to make, we can get started, tomorrow! It's Friday and I have been ravaged by the stomach flu. No piñata making today. But Dad, being the wonderful man that he is, has offered to help, tomorrow!

Saturday arrives. I'm still feeling a bit queazy, but I should be feeling better in the afternoon. Dad, busy with work and customers, finds time to buy balloons and a newspaper. Before you know it, it's mid-afternoon. Feeling somewhat normal, I make homemade paste with flour and water, just like the book says. Nick finally gets to work on his piñata. He wanted to do it alone, but couldn't refuse the help offered by his 3 eager siblings. When the kids finally got tired of playing with the paste and newspaper, it was time for me to hang the soon-to-be masterpiece outside on the clothesline to dry.

First thing Sunday morning, Nick went outside to check on his creation. It still needed an extra hour or 2 in the sun. While waiting for the paste to dry, Dad goes for a bike ride and the rest of us discuss how to decorate Nick's piñata. Never occurred to us to discuss this beforehand. Oh well! After much debate, it was decided that Nick's piñata would be a giant Easter egg. Now, we need to go downtown to buy pastel colored tissue paper, glue and whatever else we can think of, before Dad comes home. Moments later, the kids and I are all ready to walk out the door when Dad arrives with a surprise. He's just arrived from the stationery store, where he purchased green, white and red tissue paper. He had envisioned a piñata in the colors of the Mexican flag.

So, with a slight change in last-minute plans, Nick and I decorate the piñata in true Mexican colors. Upon finishing, the family gets to play "What Is It?" Some of the suggestions: a mexican ball, a mexican bouquet, and my favorite, a mexican feather duster. With just a few minor adjustments, Señor Piñata was born.

This is the most fun we have had with a homework assignment. We're already planning on making more piñatas next weekend, just for fun!

With Love,

Leslie Limon

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