Feb 19

Planes, Parties, and Piñatas

by Hannah Holt »


My five-year-old flies around the house at an alarming rate. This is the child who jumped off the back of the couch, glanced off a window, and chipped his tooth on the entryway tile. But nothing keeps him down for long.

He wants to be a pilot when he grows up, so I wasn’t surprised when he requested an airplane party for his birthday.

papermache airplanes

We started with a crash-landing snack (rice krispy airplanes in chocolate pudding cups) because I think he likes crashing almost as much as flying:

IMG_7201Crashlanding Airplane snack

We decorated the room with yellow streamers and origami paper airplanes.

paper airplanes

Of course for one of our activities we made and decorated paper airplanes. [Note: the five-year-olds needed a little help with this, while the seven-year-olds had this skill mastered.]

paper airplanes2

We tested our airplanes for accuracy and distance.

I couldn’t think of a cute way to shape a cake into an airplane and all of the ones I found online looked like too much work. I opted for a sheet cake with an airplane design.

birthday cake

But my most ambitious birthday project the paper-mache airplane piñata. You’ll need to start this project at least three days before the party.

Here’s how we did it…

You’ll need:

  • newspaper (torn into strips)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • a balloon
  • cardboard cut-out wings, tail, and propeller
  • paint
  • tissue paper or a party streamer

 1. In a small bowl, mix the water and flour until there are no lumps. Blow up the balloon, and tie it off.

2. Dip the newspaper strips into the flour paste and then run the newspaper between two fingers to remove the excess glue. Press the wet newspaper onto the balloon. I recommend placing the strips in a variety of directions to improve the strength of the final piñata.


3. Let the balloon dry for one to three days (this will depend on how many layers of paper you apply. The more layers you apply the longer the drying time). I only did one layer, so mine was dry after 24 hours. Even so, one of my children stabbed the piñata with a steak knife after eight hours and the balloon popped. I ended up with a flat bottomed airplane. Not the effect that I was going for but we made it work.


4. Since I already had a hole in my piñata, I filled it with the prizes. (Tip: it’s a good idea to fill your balloon before you decorate it anyway.) I wrapped the gaping hole with painters tape before decorating.

5. We glued a yellow streamer around and around the balloon to create a feathered look.


6. Then we painted the wings and propeller to match the streamers.


After the paint dried, we hot glued the extra accessories to the piñata. Ta da!

paper mache 4


  1. Gramma Holt

    One of these days I need to be invited to one of your super birthday parties! This was great!

    • Hannah Holt

      You are always invited… just hop on a plane. :)

  2. Romelle

    Very cute snd creative, Hannah! I wish I knew you 5 years ago! My son loved airplanes. Actually, he still does but now he’s too “old” for parties and pinatas.

    • Hannah Holt

      A piñata with four or five layers would be difficult to break even for teenagers. We’ve made them for the older kids at church and they have fun with it. Spin the teens around, blindfold them and pull the piñata up and down on the string. I’ll bet your son would still have fun with it.

  3. Catherine Johnson

    Wow! That’s amazing! What a neat theme birthday. I fancy trying a pinata, Matthew has made a papier mache power ranger helmet before.

    • Hannah Holt

      A power ranger helmet sounds cool!

  4. Eric VanRaepenbusch

    Happy Birthday Ethan! Looks like you had an awesome party!

    • Hannah Holt

      Thanks, Eric.

  5. Erik - This Kid Reviews Books

    Cool party!

  6. grandma weight

    what fun ideas! glad E. had such a great party!!

  7. julie rowan zoch

    Fandandical!(picked that one up from The Man from the Land of Fandango – Margaret Mahy) What lucky kids – Hope the birthday boy had a just as soft a crash landing that night, as the rice-krispie treat did!

  8. Carrie F

    I love the pinata. Was he OK with breaking it open after all that work?

    Do you ever watch Cake Boss? They did an airplane cake once that was really cool– but yeah, a lot of work. :-)

    • Hannah Holt

      Oh yes, we love Cake Boss, but I’m not quite that fancy.
      And he was totally okay with breaking the piñata. As I said, I likes crashing almost as much as flying. :)

  9. Erin Bylund

    Great party! I once tried making a piñata with the kids, but they thought the paper mache was too smelly and sticky and yucky. Maybe it’s time to try again. I love the airplane rice krispy treats and pudding! fun fun.