Dinosaur Birthday Party – the Frugal Way

It’s been a while since my last post. I was wrapped up in planning a 3rd birthday party! Then a few days later, I broke and dislocated my pinky finger. Typing has been fun… Anyway, we’ll give this a go!

Creative Avenues/Mom Avenues

With her 3rd birthday approaching, I asked my daughter, Cassidy, what she wanted to do for her party. We looked through some photos and options before she settled on dinosaurs (particularly the T-Rex with big teeth!) She’s been really into “Dino Dana” on Amazon Prime, so this wasn’t a surprise.

When it comes to parties, I’m not one for spending more money than needed. I’m not necessarily cheap. I prefer “frugal”. I just don’t see the point in spending extra time or money on water bottle labels just because there’s a dinosaur on them. Sorry (not sorry.)

After scouring Pinterest, I gathered a few ideas and materials and got started. First, we worked on the cardboard dinosaur silhouettes.

I took large sheets of flat cardboard and sketched dinosaur shapes. We made a plesiosaur to go next to our waterfall, T-Rex and Titanoboa (two of Cassidy’s favorites), pterosaur, and ankylosaurus (my husband’s favorite.) I made a tissue paper #2 for her Troll’s themed party last year, so this year got a stegosaurus-esque #3. After some intense cutting with kitchen knives and scissors, I laid the dinosaurs on white paper. Cassidy helped me paint them with washable tempera and acrylics.

As part of the pterosaur decoration, we made a nest and eggs, as well. The eggs were constructed from paper mache.

Here’s my fancy, totally professional set up. I blew up balloons and hung them from a string using a clothespin. Paper mache glue is simply water and flour. So easy, yet so messy. Cassidy helped me take the strips of newspaper and attach them to the balloons. We let them sit for a day or so to dry. After they were dry, we painted them white to look like dino eggs. The best part was popping the balloon on the inside! These dino eggs were the starting point for our scavenger hunt, an activity we do for the kids for every one of Cassidy’s birthday parties.

Here are the party hats I made for the mini dino figures. I cut out the party house shape from cardstock, then hot glued the ends together. Cassidy picked out a pompom to put on top, then I hot glued a piece of elastic string to the bottom. The dinos decorated the tables, and Cassidy can keep them to play with after the party as well!

As an activity for the kids to do, we made a dino dig. Our dinosaur bones and fossils were made from salt dough. It’s similar to clay when molding, but then after baking, becomes hard as a rock. You can see our dinosaur skulls, ribs, teeth, and imprints on the cookie sheets below. At the party, we put the bones in some chicken feed with fun shovels and digging tools.

Another activity we made beforehand were baking soda dinosaur eggs. Cassidy loves doing anything with baking soda and vinegar, so we made some for her friends to do, too! For these, we mixed together baking soda, a bit of water and some liquid watercolors. With the tiny model dinos inside, we covered the dinos with the baking soda mixture and put them in the freezer to harden. At the party, kids had squirt bottles and pipettes to make bubbles and uncover the dinos!

Here are the gift bags I put together for all of Cassidy’s friends. I know parents hate plastic toys that accumulate or waste space, so I try to do the same for our favors! Included was:

  • an awesome Bubble Glove (Seriously. You need to try these.)
  • dinosaur temporary tattoos
  • a mini dinosaur figure
  • a Ring Pop (because they didn’t fit in the pinata)
  • gummy dinosaur candy
  • younger kids got a dino bath squirter and older kids got some Play-Doh


The cake. I showed Cassidy pictures of dinosaur cakes for about a week (not even exaggerating.) She finally picked one when she saw a pink T-Rex with a crown on top. It so perfectly fits her eclectic personality! Since I was unsure on how the 3D T-Rex cake was going to go, I also made some vividly colored stegosaurus cupcakes as well.

Luckily, once again we had nice weather for her party. The kids enjoyed the little pool, slip-n-slide, and dino-themed activities. And I enjoyed making everything for free or cheap!