Frugal Birthday Party Ideas: The Frozen-In-Ice Game

It’s that time of year again.  I need to start planning Goofball and Tornado’s birthday party.  Their birthdays are about one month apart so we have one party right in the middle.  Combining the two celebrations is just one way that we save money on birthdays.  We did a great job throwing a frugal party last year.  With a little bit of planning, I’m hopeful that we can cut even more costs this year and keep it super fun!


Most of our birthday-party frugality was far from revolutionary.  The venue, our backyard, was free.  We prepared food instead of ordering it.  There weren’t many decorations.  We didn’t rent a bounce house or a pony. There was no clown or magician.  One thing we did have was super-cheap entertainment that kept the kids occupied for a long time and provided them with well-earned party favors.  It was the

Frozen-In-Ice Game

This game took about one week to prepare, but all of the kids loved it.  I purchased packs of plastic dinosaurs from The Dollar Store.  I collected a variety of different-shaped buckets, bowls, and containers.  Then, I made some room in my father-in-law’s large freezer.  An average-sized fridge isn’t going to give you enough room to make the large pieces of ice.  I used layering to evenly distribute the dinosaurs through the ice.  Every night I added about one inch of water with some food coloring (alternating blue and green) and a few more dinosaurs.  After all of the containers were filled up and frozen, we were ready to party!

Tip #1:  It takes a few minutes for the ice to warm up enough so that it will slide out of the container.  So take it out of the freezer a good half an hour or so before you want to start the game.

Tip #2:  There are plenty of examples of this game on Pinterest.  Most use smaller pieces of ice and advise to give toddlers spoons to chip away at the ice.  I couldn’t bring myself to give small metal objects to a herd of children so they could start stabbing at ice in close proximity to each other.  We used water instead.  There was a small wading pool filled up with water (and a fishing game).  The kids used different types of water squirters and poured small buckets of water on the ice to melt it.  Water worked just fine and we didn’t have any injuries.  Although, eventually they realized to just throw the whole piece of ice in the pool to speed up the melting process.

icegame2 (2)

The kids played this game really well together.  They strategized and worked together to free the dinosaurs.  And there were plenty of the little toys for everyone to take home as favors.  I will definitely be making more for this year’s party, just with a different kind of toy.  Now to plan out the rest of the party!


  1. What a simple, great idea! I get so overwhelmed by the trend to have expensive, away from home birthday parties. We always have them at home. Sure, it’s more work. It’s also way less money and a lot more fun! I’m definitely making a note of this one.

    1. One nice thing about having parties at home is that you can do things on your own schedule, instead needing to rush the kids along so you can clean up and be out of the space by a specific time.

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