Piñata for a pet completed activity photo

Piñata for a pet


One of a wildlife care specialist’s jobs is to provide enrichment for the animals. Enrichment is giving animals things to do and to think about, like puzzles or experiences for their senses. You can provide enrichment for your pets at home, too! Here’s how to make a piñata for your pet to play with.


Materials: strips of newspaper, balloon, water, flour, treats

What you need

  • 1 balloon (a big one for a big dog, a small one for a small dog or cat, or even a long, skinny one)
  • White flour
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • 1 bowl
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • A treat for your pet: catnip or a cat food treat, dog food or broken dog biscuits, or nuts or seeds for a bird
Placing strips of paper on balloon


 Cover your work area with one or two sheets of newspaper. Blow up the balloon and tie a knot in the end. Tear the leftover newspaper into long strips, each about an inch wide. Mix the flour and water into a thin paste in the bowl.

Place a strip of newspaper over the balloon. Use the paintbrush to “paint” the flour paste over the newspaper strip to make it stick to the balloon. Repeat this step with new pieces of newspaper until the whole balloon is covered, but leave a small, uncovered area around the knot.


Removing balloon


Set the balloon aside and let it dry (usually overnight). Cut a small hole in the balloon where the knot is. Pull the balloon pieces out through the opening in the newspaper. Make sure you get all the pieces out, because they could hurt your pet if swallowed.

Piñata with holes


Have an adult help you use the scissors to poke or cut some holes around the sides of your piñata. Big holes will make this an easy puzzle for your pet, small ones will make it more of a challenge.

Put some pet treats into the piñata, then place it in front of your pet. When your pet pushes it or picks it up and shakes it, the treats will fall out of the holes. Watch your pet play with the piñata—how does it get the treats out? Be sure to take the piñata away when you’re done watching, so your pet doesn’t eat the whole thing.