Kids love birthdays. And kids can also be pretty easy to impress. That’s why, as tempting as it can be to load on with amazing toys to celebrate, there’s really no need. There are lots of low-cost ways to make another year around the sun (and another candle on the cake!) feel really special. Many retailers offer freebies and discounts on birthdays that make what would have otherwise been $2 pretzel or $3 scoop of ice cream feel celebratory. It’s also a great way to have fun while de-emphasizing gifts during a birthday. We found the best kid-friendly freebies and discounts: sign up for one or two things your kids will like or make it a family challenge to hit up as many as possible during your child’s birth month.
A note on how these programs work: Because it is 2019, most require an email address or cell phone number to participate. Many programs allow a parent or guardian to create an account with an email and then add children to their accounts, no email required. Others don’t have age restrictions or are for ages 13 and up but do require an email address. This method requires a little ingenuity if you want to sign up multiple children or take advantage of the birthday offer for yourself. If your kids don’t have their own email, many email servers will allow you to create new accounts for free. You can also decide if you’re comfortable having older kids get email marketing from these companies. Many birthday freebies (but not all) are parts of larger rewards programs, though you can set email preferences to minimize marketing emails you would receive. No companies included requires spending money to qualify for the birthday gifts, though some birthday gifts are only free with purchase. We’ve noted all places where kids have to be 13 and older (or 12 and under) to participate, as well if the gift is free or requires a purchase (like an adult meal). If you still want to get in on the fun, check out some of the best birthday freebies for adults as well.
Teens fifteen and over are eligible to sign up for American Eagle’s AEO Connected Rewards program, which includes 15% off on their birthday. Members also earn points towards $10 off coupons, as well as a “buy five get one free” program for jeans and bras.
Kids 13 or older can sign up for the Applebee’s Email Club, which includes a free meal on their birthday. They also get a free appetizer when they sign up.
Kids 13 and older can sign up for the Pretzel Perks program, which includes a free pretzel with sign up and a free pretzel on your birthday. Plus, ever $25 earns you another free pretzel.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble has a rewards program specifically for kids. Parents will need to sign their kids up in stores or online. Parents earn rewards for money spent on kids books, toys, and games, and kids get a free cupcake on their birthday until they turn 13.
Baskin Robbin’s Birthday Club allows parents and guardians to sign up for an account then add children (or any member of the family) to also recieve a birthday coupon. There’s even a non-gendered option when filling out profiles for new family members. Select male, female, or ice cream lover.
Benihana’s Kabuki Kids program gets kids a postcard free souvenir mug on their birthday. Because the postcard has to come in the mail and is used to get the souvenir mug, Benihana recommends registering your child at least a month before their birthday.
Bruster’s Sweet Rewards works similar to Baskin Robbins: You can set yourself as a head of household and add members of your household regardless of their age. You have to provide an email for each person added, but you can list your own email address multiple times for minor children. Currently, the birthday reward is a $3 coupon, which is about the price of a small cup.
Build-A-Bear’s Bonus Club lets parents create an account and add kids and their birtthdays. Everyone on the account gets a free gift on their birthday, and kids qualify for the “Count Your Candles” program. Their Birthday Treat Bear will only cost as muc as the candles on their cake. (So $4 on their fourth birthday and so on.)
California Pizza Kitchen
Once a parent or guardian has joined CPK Rewards, they can add children to the Kids Club, which gets them one free meal during their birthday month.
Captain D’s rewards program doesn’t havem an age restriction, so you can sign up your kid with your email address or their own to get a birthday reward. While it is subject to change, in the past it’s been a free meal or free dessert.
Chuck E. Cheese
Parents, guardians, and grandparents can sign up for More Cheese Rewards. They can add up to six children to recieve special offers on their birthday (20 minutes of free gameplay) as well as their half birthday. You also get a free personal pizza on your first visit after signing up.
Sign up for Cinnabon Offers with your email and you can put your child’s name and birthday when you complete your profile. Birthday freebies change, and coudl be a free treat or something coffee-based.
Culver’s allows members of MyCulvers to add family members, including kids, to their account. Only one email is needed per household. All members of the household get one free sundae a year on their birthday.
Kids actually always eat free at Denny’s with a purchase of a $6 adult entreé, making it a 365 freebie. Additionally, anyone with a photo ID can get a free Grand Slam on their birthday. Perhaps a fun thing to do after getting your kid’s learner’s permit with them?
There’s no age restriction on signing up for the Dot Crazy! email club, which gets members a free cup of Dippin’ Dots on their email. Parents can use their own email address to get a free coupon for their kid’s birthday.
Friendly’s BFF Club allows you to add “associated kids” to your account. The adult on the account gets one free medium sundae on their birthday, kids get a free kid’s sundae.
Kids 13 and older (as well as adults) can sign up for the My Jamba Rewards program. In addition to earning “banana points” towars coupons, members get a free small smoothie on their birthday. Coupon is also good for 30 days following the birthday date.
This one might be more for parents than kids, but JCPenney’s portrait studio offers discounts for photoshoots during your child’s birthday month. Sign up for an account with your email address, then add your kid’s birth year and month. They also have a birthday gallery for inspiration.
Jeni’s Ice Cream will give you a free single, double, or triple scoop of ice cream on your birthday. Children don’t need to show proof of birthday or I.D. to get this treat, nor do you need to sign up for a rewards program to take advantage of this sweet deal.
No year of birthy is required to sign up for the Jersey Mike’s MyMikes Email Club. You can sign up a younger child with their name and your email to get a coupon for a free sub on their birthday, or let older kids sign up for themselves.
Johnny Rockets won’t let you create a family account but there are no age minimums to sign up for its Rocket E-Club. You’ll get a free burger with purchase of an entree and drink after creating an account, as well as on your birthday.
Adults can sign up up to three kids for the Kidz Birthday Club at Journey’s Kidz. While it is subject to change, in the past its been a 15% off coupon plus an in-store offer. Once kids are 13, they will have to sign up for their own Birthday Club.
Krispy Kreme’s rewards program — which includes a free dougnut on your birthday — is open tot kids and adults 13 years and older.
Welcome to Moe’s! Kids 13 years and older can sign up for Moe’s rewards program which includes a free birthday burrito plus a free cup of queso at sign up.
There’s no age limit to joining O’Charley’s O’Club (Yes, that’s the real name.) You just need one email address per family member. You’ll get a free appetizer for signing up, as well as a free dessert on you or your child’s birthday.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
Kids under 12 can be signed up for The Old Spaghetti Factory Birthday Club, which includes a free meal on their birthday as well as a free half-birthdy treat. Teens can be signed up for the Factory Family Club on their own if they don’t want to lose out on the birthday fun.
Kids 13 and older can sign up for the Olive Garden birthday freebies email list to recieve a free dessert on their birthday.
You aren’t required to put a birth year when signing up for a MyPanera account, although their terms state that you must be 13 or older to participate. On your child’s birthday, they can get a free pastry or cookie.
Once adults sign up for the MyPerkins rewards program, they can add kids to Perkin’s Birthday Club. Kids under 12 get a free meal with purchase of an adult entree.
OK, this is for your non-human kids, but itts fun for the whole family nonetheless. When you sign up for Pals Rewards, you can create profiles for all your pets. On their birthday or adoption day you’ll recieve coupons for free treats.
P. F. Chang’s
P.F. Changs rewards program only requires you to enter a birth month to recieve one free small plate or dessert during that month. Older kids can sign themselves up, or you can sign up a younger child using your email.
Rita’s Birthday Club entitles members to a free Italian ice on their birthday. Adults can add kids under 12 to their own account so everyone in the family can enjoy this perk.
Sephora’s VIB rewards program is open to anyone 13 and up, though it doesnt actually make you entier a birthd year to sign up. (We just found the age restrictions in the fine print.) All members get a birthday gift during their birth month. The gifts change yearly and are typically one beauty-related set of deluxe samples (like mascara and lipstick) and one skin or haircare-related set of deluxe samples.
Starbucks rewards program is for anyone 13 years or older. Participants get a free treat on their birthday as well as other seasonal promotions. Some rewards are earned through money, which can be done via the app or cash. Older kids may especially love getting Starbucks giftcards as little rewards that they can spend down via the app.
Steak ‘n Shake
There’s no age limit to joining the Steak ‘n Shake eClub, which gets members a free milkshake on their birthday. New members also get a free burger and fries on sign up.
The Children’s Place
Get 20% off at the Children’s Place during the month of your child’s birth if you join the My Place Rewards. You can add up to four birthdays per account.
Ulta’s rewards program is similar to Sephora: per the small print, you have to be 13 to partcipate, though Ulta doesn’t make you enter a birth year during the sign-up process. All members earn points towards rewards, as well as get a “pretty present” during their birth month. In 2019, the rewards changed each month and included both beauty and skincare options.
Kids 13 years and older can be signed up for the Zax Email Club to get a free nibbler (small chicken finger sandwich) on their birthday.
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