Made from cardboard and decorated with brightly coloured tissue paper, the piñata is knocked to release the cascade of sweet treats. But if you are looking for an alternative to sugary snacks, take a look at these ideas!
The piñata has a long history and although we now see as part of Mexican traditions at birthday and Christmas celebrations, the original piñatas are attributed to China. This is because the piñata was originally made from paper or papier mache, a material invented in China.
Introduced to other cultures by missionaries, the piñata, usually spherical in shape, became a symbol of faith. The person with the stick represents faith. By defeating the seven deadly sins – greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath, and lust – the rewards would be great. In the case of the piñata, it usually meant sweet treats or nuts.
A sign of hope and reward, the piñata can now be found in all shapes and sizes and it is down to the party host to decide what rewards lurk within. If you want to ring the changes and add something other than sweets, you need this definitive list.
Alternatives piñata rewards
There are a few things you need to consider when replacing sweets with other items;
- The hole through which items are added to the belly of the piñata is small thus, items will need to be small
- The items will need to be fairly robust as they drop from a height (and they may be hit by the stick too!)
So, what alternatives can we suggest?
Food Items: Raisins, dried fruits and nuts
Packets of raisins and other dried fruits are a simple alternative to packing your piñata with sweets. Available in small packets, they are easy to stuff in. Perfect for adding a hint of sweetness to your party without relying solely on confectionery.
Opt for yoghurt coated raisins and other dried fruits. You could also use small packets of nuts but check for any nut allergies first.
Non-food Items: Gifts and game ideas
Simple yet effective, if you don’t want food in your piñata then the best kind of fillers are small gifts. And we have just the thing!
- Crayons and pencils. There are all kinds of stationery ideas, including mini-glitter pens, pencils and more that your guests could then use at a colouring table you’ve set up.
- Crafting materials. From coloured lollypop sticks to feathers, googly eyes and more, why not use the piñata as the start of a craft making session?
- Stickers. Choose stickers that match your party’s theme and again, you have piñata fillers acting as party bag fillers.
- Large beads. Include some cording or leather string too. When the beads fall out, your guests can grab them to create their own bracelet or necklace.
- Fake flowers. Some pretty fake blooms elegantly gliding their way to the ground is also a pleasant addition or why not include pretty hair accessories?
Fun + Games
- Lego bricks. Colourful and perfect for kids to scrabble amount and collect, knocking the piñata to reveal a cacophony of these universally loved bricks is ideal.
- Glow sticks. Kids (and adults) love these! They don’t break as they fall to the ground either. Choose from the sticks to bracelets.
- Temporary tattoos. Another small but fun gift for people. Better still, they wash off after the party!
- Balloons. Water bomb balloons are especially popular with kids. Great for a summer garden party!
- Treasure hunt clues. Fantastic for any party and no matter what age, why not have treasure hunt clues?
- Fake flowers. Some pretty fake blooms elegantly gliding their way to the ground is also a pleasant addition. Why not include pretty hair accessories?
- Cake hunt. Every birthday party or celebration should have a cake. But who will be clever enough to solve the cake riddle that comes out of the piñata?
- Puzzle pieces. Personalised puzzles are all the rage! It could be a great way to create a keepsake of the special birthday or celebration, (guests piece it together after falling from the piñata) or it can be used as a treasure map once the pieces are fitted together.
- Show me the money! If you have plenty of coppers hanging about, there is nothing wrong with including a few pennies in your piñata filling.
- Soft games. From squidgy soft darts to other ‘silly’ games, there are many different games and components that can be added to the piñata filling.
Piñata party games are commonly played at many a party and celebration and with these ideas, it doesn’t have to be stuffed with just sweets either.