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Smashing the Coronavirus!

By Saudnra McBrearty, Outreach and Volunteer Specialist
Mary Zaye, Preservation Parks Volunteer

For the past 15 years, volunteer Mary Zaye has blessed Preservation Parks by bringing her creativity and magic to our team. She shares her latest creation, a Coronavirus piñata, with us in hopes you may be inspired to build one of these beauties for yourself.

Stay well, Saundra

Smashing the Coronavirus!

PPDC Volunteer Mary Zaye at home with her Coronavirus piñata

The Sunday New York Times has created a section called AT HOME to give readers ideas for things to occupy time while they are sheltering at home. On Sunday, May 10, 2020 this section included an article with the headline: Make Your Own Coronavirus Piñata (And Then Smash it).

I was intrigued. What fun, I thought. Who could I make it for? AHA! My granddaughter! She is a high school Spanish teacher. She and her fiancé have postponed their wedding date twice because of the virus. Why not have it at their reception when they finally smash the virus. If you too would like a Coronavirus piñata, here are the directions extracted from the NYT article in abbreviated form:

Materials Needed: Newspaper torn into thin strips (lots of them), a large balloon, white flour, yarn or string, pipe cleaners.


Make the paste
One part flour and one and a half parts room-temperature water. Use a glass or metal container, which will be easier to clean than plastic. Whisk the mixture until it’s almost the consistency of glue. (I also added a tablespoon of white glue for extra “pastiness”.) For best results, store in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Making the virus shape (The messy part)
Inflate the balloon to the size you’d like the sphere to be and tie it closed.

  1. Tear the newspaper into skinny strips. You’ll need more than you think, so make a bunch of strips.
  2. Dip each strip one at a time into the paste until it’s soaked through. Pull the strip between your thumb and forefinger to remove excess globs of paste.
  3. Layer each strip onto the balloon until one side is completely covered. (If you want to stuff your piñata with goodies, leave a small area of the balloon uncovered.)
  4. Balance the balloon inside a cup or bowl. After the first half is dry, turn the balloon over and do the other side.
  5. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until you have two or three layers of newspaper strips plastered onto the balloon. Let each layer dry completely before adding another.

Filling the Piñata
Pop the balloon through the small hole you left uncovered and remove it. Put some wrapped candy inside. When you’re finished, cover the hole with cardboard and masking tape or a single layer of paper strips.

Your call. Paint gray with black smudges like I did. Use an ice pick to gently poke holes to insert twisted pipe cleaners and secure them with a hot glue gun. OR, Let your imagination work and make it as unique as you are!

Poke two small holes in the top of your piñata and thread yarn or string through them to get it ready for whacking. Be wise about where you hang it. Using fists, golf club, baseball bat, wooden spoons, or anything else that doubles as a battering ram, smash that sucker to bits.


Mary Zaye

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