“Arctic Animal Adventure” Birthday Party + a Freebie

My daughter is obsessed with animals and has wanted an arctic fox birthday party since her birthday last year. Then she developed a birthday party theme outline for her coming years and said she wanted an arctic fox party first, then a leopard seal, then a cheetah, and lastly a narwhal party. Seeing how most of these animals had a connecting theme, I suggested we do an overall arctic animal theme to incorporate the narwhal and leopard seal. (Even though technically leopard seals are south pole seals, we still went with it.) She loved the idea and I went out on a limb making it up as I went!

Alright, so my thing is to do parties on a budget, so I’ll add costs as we go along and put the total at the end. I bought these arctic animal graphics at iStockPhoto because I couldn’t find anything more perfect ($12). They ended up printing too light since they were on a white background, so if there’s ever a round two I would definitely fix that and do it differently. I already had paper and envelopes and printed them myself, so I won’t be adding these as an expense. 
Since this party had kids around age six I knew this was my best shot at doing “costumes” that the kids would actually want to wear and participate with. I made headbands for the animal of the child’s choice, which is what that insert was for, and the headband was part of their party favor.

I went overboard with the decorations, but it definitely looked like a winter wonderland! I made paper snowflakes of various sizes, snowball garlands, paper chains, and cardboard animals which I painted. I already had the paper for the snowflakes and paper chains, I bought white yarn ($3), used recycled cardboard, and bought a few bottles of craft paint ($1.50).The flying narwhal was one of my favorite things. Totes magical.
Seeing three tables lined up looks excessive, but hear me out. Call me sensitive, but I remember as a kid feeling gypped if I wasn’t sitting at the same table as the birthday kid. So I bring you mega-table where no kid feels left-out.

I bought the paper plates from Target for $4, white plastic forks for $3, two packs of juice boxes $6. As a snack I made dipped marshmallows (white chocolate $3) and frozen yogurt cups, which the kids hated, so they were a waste ( $8).

We also had cake and my daughter picked a chocolate cake box with white frosting ($2.50). She decorated it herself with sprinkles and plastic animal figurines we already had. 

This backdrop was made by using a sequin tablecloth, fringe curtains, silver balloons, paper chains, snowball garland, and paper “Happy Birthday” banner. And a LOT of painter’s tape. I already had these on-hand, so I won’t be adding them. Here’s an example of some of the cardboard animals and animal headbands. I made lots of arctic fox ears, some arctic wolf ears, 2 reindeer antlers, 1 polar bear and 1 ermine ears. I bought a pack of headbands for $6, bought dark grey and white felt for $5, and white fake fur for $6. I already had hot glue sticks and quilt stuffing which I won’t be adding to the total.

My daughter’s number one request (besides the arctic animal theme) was to do the fishing for prizes game. It’s her favorite party game and every other kid seems to like it as well. For prizes she picked some things from the Dollar Store, little heart gummy candies and stickers, $2. I wanted to stay on theme, so we did “Ice Fishing.” How I made the Ice Fishing box was:

  1. Cut a hole on the top and down on one side (so the person putting the candy on could reach the fishing line)
  2. Instead of painting, I glued a bunch of printer paper on every side.
  3. Then I drew block lines with a sharpie to make it look like an igloo. (Because ice fishing is done in an igloo and not a pond…)
  4. Tape around the hole on the top with clear tape because it will get touched a lot and ripped.
  5. Write “Ice” and “Fishing” on white card stock. Cut out.
  6. Get a small wooden dowel and tape “Ice Fishing” on it and then tape the wooden dowel to the back of the box. I bought a pack of wooden dowels from the Wal-Mart craft section for a $1. 
    I had this “Name the Baby Animals” game planned if we had extra time, but I ended up having too much planned so we never played it. Other games the kids played were:

    1. Snow Painting: As we were waiting for each guest to arrive, I had the kids paint on the kitchen floor with a table cloth underneath since the tables were occupied with the table settings. I like doing an art project at the beginning while waiting for everyone because it’s not something everyone needs to be doing all at once. I bought the shaving cream, Elmer’s Glue, and extra paint brushes, $4.
    2. Transfer Snowball Game: This ended up being a little too hard for this age group, so most of the kids didn’t like it. Live and learn.
    3. Limbo: Not on theme, but everyone loves a good game of limbo. Even if every kid cheats.
    4. Scavenger Hunt: I was hoping for better weather, but of course it snowed a few days before so we sticked to staying inside. (Look at the photo below.) I had each item a little hidden or in complete sight around the party room. I either made the items myself or had them already on-hand. I had the kids stick to teams of 2-4 to go around and find everything. I think this was one of their favorite activities! They had a lot of fun keeping what they found a secret or telling everyone where they were…

Because this was such a hit I wanted to share it as a freebie!


*If it says there’s an error, just click on the title link and the printable files will show up.*

Get your free printable below:

Scavenger Hunt


This party was definitely a lot of fun to plan, but afterwards, I was pooped! I told myself I would never do it again, but just watch me. By this time next year I’ll be itching to do it again.


Party on a budget total: $65





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