Piñata Filler Ideas for Themed Kids' Parties

Smashed donkey pinata on floor with candy
Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

A piñata adds fun to any kids' birthday party. Yet when you purchase one, they often come empty. Sure, it's easy to buy a few bags of leftover holiday candy and stuff it full. No doubt the kids will love it! But for an interesting twist on the classic go-to fillers, the ideas below lend inspiration for both fillers and party themes.

Edible Piñata Fillers

Candy is considered the customary piñata stuffing, so you can't really go without it. If you do, you may look like a scrooge. Smarties, pixie sticks, and licorice all work well for piñata filler ideas. But if you're a purist, chocolate is the "healthiest" candy option. Consider the weather and outdoor temperature when adding chocolate to your mix, especially if it's a summer party and the chocolate could melt. In this case, either forgo the chocolate altogether or keep the piñata in a cool, dry storage place—like an air-conditioned room or the basement—until it's time to break it out.

While candy is an expected element of the piñata game, it doesn't have to be the only edible filler. Packs of animal crackers, fruit leather, and small energy bars work well as candy substitutes.  

Seasonal Toys

Offset the candy or other edible treats, with trinkets best suited to the season of your child's party. Bubbles, bouncy balls, jump ropes, and squirt guns will get used all summer long while the kids are on vacation. For a pool or beach party, choose a piñata shaped like a sea creature and filled with prizes like swim goggles, sunscreen sticks, sunglasses, mini surfboards, lifeguard whistles, and small inflatables (deflated to stuff inside the piñata). Have the kids break open the piñata early in the party's festivities so they can use these items while playing or swimming together.

Art Supply Fillers

Hold an art-themed party where each kid engages in an artsy activity, like creating their own painting on a canvas or drawing a still life. Then, stuff the piñata full of art-inspired gifts like crayon packs, markers, glitter pens, and rubber stamps. Encourage creativity beyond just coloring and drawing with Play-doh (small cans or foil packages), Shrinky Dinks, or artist's clay. Decorative erasers work well for back-to-school and sidewalk chalk is always a summertime favorite. 

Pirate-Themed Fillers

Play on your kid's imagination by incorporating their favorite theme, as well as the party's activities, into the piñata. Maybe your son's into pirates? Stuff a pirate piñata with eye patches, temporary tattoos, gold chocolate coins, mini telescopes, and rubber pirate hooks. Draw a treasure map to the location of both the piñata and its stick, and then integrate this activity into the party's playtime. 

Princess-Themed Fillers

Did your daughter request that her guests show up in tutus? Princess and fairy parties are a trending theme for aspiring fashionistas. So in addition to the tutus, why not add princess decor, serve food and drink from princess-inspired plates and teacups, and stuff a princess piñata full of items little girls will swoon over? Mini princess wands, satin ballet slippers, jewelry, bracelets, tiaras, and flavored lip gloss are all big hits.

Slumber Party Fillers

Older children are constantly asking for sleepovers. C'mon parents; it's just one night on her birthday! Create invitations that request guests to bring only their sleeping bags and jammies, and then fill the piñata full of everything else they need to be comfortable overnight at your house. Items like sleep masks, single-serve boxes of cereal, LED nightlights, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and even mini soaps and lotions will make their stay complete and assure that the piñata gifts will be used on their next overnight adventure.