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Zoo Animal Birthday Party on $50 Budget

What happens when you put two 6-year-old girls in charge of their own zoo animal birthday party? A lot of fun, as it turns out!

Zoo Animal Birthday Party on a $50 Budget - frugal birthday parties

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My twin daughters turned 6 a few weeks ago and wanted a party at home. We talked about what was most important to them, and we agreed on friends and fun.

They wanted their favorite things—party games, arts & crafts, facepainting, and chips. I gave them a limit of 10 kids total (that’s about all we can fit!), and we had a fabulous Zoo Animal Birthday Party on a $50 budget.

How we had a Zoo Animal Birthday Party for $50:

Party Decorations

We kept the decorations limited, using my extra scrapbhttps://amzn.to/2Z8NDHwook paper to make party hats for the many (!) stuffed animals in the house. They loved placing them around the dining room and entryway as party decor.

We spent just a few dollars on green balloons and streamers at the dollar store.

Zoo Animal Birthday Party

Party Food

I chose to have the party on a weekend afternoon from 2-4pm, so we could keep the food to snacks, drinks, and cake. The girls chose potato chips (their favorite), and we served them with lemonade, juice and water while the kids worked on their arts & crafts.

They were excited to buy these Zoo Pals plates and cups that they’d seen at the grocery store.

Zoo Animal Birthday

Instead of cake, the girls wanted animal cupcakes, so we looked online and found these inspiration cupcakes.

I simplified it for myself by only making the monkeys and tigers, and I used M&Ms instead of several different kinds of candies. These were a huge hit with the kids!

Zoo Animal Party

Arts & Crafts

My girls love doing arts & crafts projects, so I wanted some simple crafts we could do during the party. As the kids arrived, they each made a Panda Bag using a white lunch bag and face pieces we’d cut out ahead of time (inspired by these bags on Etsy).

Each child used their bag for the Animal Hunt game (see below) and then later to collect their “goodies” to take home.

Zoo Animal Party

I found a kit of foam animal crafts at Michael’s on sale for 50% off. For just $4.00, I got a pack with 40 stick figures of lions, elephants, monkeys and tigers. Each child made two at the party, and the extra pieces went home in their goody bag.

While the kids worked, my husband painted their faces with tiger and other animal noses and cheeks, using a facepaint kit I got at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon.

Zoo Animal Party

Party Game

The girls wanted to play “Pin the Trunk on the Elephant,” so we drew our own elephant on a piece of posterboard, and they colored it. We cut trunks out of cardstock.

Zoo Animal Party

Luckily, the weather was lovely outside. We hid plastic zoo animals (from our toy stash) outside like an Easter Egg Hunt, and the kids collected them in their Panda Bags.

Next was Animal Statues, a game my husband led. He had the kids act out different animals’ moves and then yelled “Freeze!”

The kids also played Duck, Duck, Goose and ran around a bit before coming inside for cupcakes.

Goody Bags

Some years, I just choose a single $1-or-so goody bag item, like a Scholastic Book from the school book orders or a Dover Little Activity Book. This year, the girls wanted the traditional goody bag filled with theme items.

We found zoo animal stickers, made small bags of Trader Joe’s Cat Cookies (my girls prefer those to Animal Crackers), and I found .59 cent painted wooden animals at the craft store.

We glued magnets to the backs of the giraffes, lions, tigers, zebra and alligator so each child could take a magnet home. By using many supplies we had from home, the cost of each bag was around $2/child.

Zoo Animal Party

With a little inspiration and effort, we ended up with a fabulous Zoo Animal Birthday Party on a $50 budget.

Two of our guests came up to me during the party and said, “I am having SO much fun!” Both of my daughters enjoyed themselves and were so happy to enjoy this time with their friends. I’d call it a success!

See our other budget birthday parties

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How to plan a birthday party on a budget

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Jenn @ The Purposeful Mom

Saturday 14th of April 2012

Thank you for these wonderful ideas! I'm planning my little guy's 1st birthday and was hoping for some frugal ideas :) I especially like the little magnets on the back of the wooden animals. So glad I found your link at Life as Mom!


Thursday 12th of April 2012

That's awesome your budget was so great. Sounds like a cute party. Love the crafts and great job on the cupcakes. they are too cute!!


Tricia Paredes

Tuesday 10th of April 2012

Wow! So cute! I am very impressed at your budget too!!! Thanks for the inspiration...Birthday parties always stress me out :)

Wanda R

Monday 9th of April 2012

Gina - you and your family always amaze me! How cool and creative!