My daughter just recently turned 6. She asked for a tiger pinata this year. Hands down this is the paint job that I am most pleased with. (especially the face)
When I do paper-mache I don’t normally use flour/water. Instead I use white-glue/water. I find it doesn’t smell that way.
For the paper I use an old phone book. I will use full pages or just strips, depending on the section I am working on. If you are making a pinata for kids you should probably only do two or three layers. The very first pinata I made for my son’s 2nd birthday had at least 15 layers. it just felt soft so I kept doing more layers. Turned out to be basically indestructible. I think we ended up having to cut it open.
I was very happy with how the tiger broke apart. First a leg and ten part of the face. Then the other legs. It makes it more entertaining for the kids. The body is its own compartment so that the candy doesn’t come out when a single leg comes off.