The Birthday Presents You Can Get Your Kids For Free

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 a $2 pretzel or $3 scoop of ice cream feel celebratory. Taking advantage of birthday freebies is 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 fun family challenge to hit up as many as possible during your child’s birth month.

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A note on how these programs work: Because it’s 2023, most require an email address, app download, 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 for kids). 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 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.

Keep in mind that plenty of birthday freebies (but not all) are parts of larger rewards programs, though you can set email preferences to minimize marketing emails you receive. No companies included here require you to spend money to qualify for the birthday gifts, though some of them 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).

Now get out there and birthday freely!

  • American Eagle

    Image Credit: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

    Teens fifteen and over are eligible to sign up for American Eagle’s AEO Connected Rewards program, which includes 15% – 25% 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. 

  • American Girl

    Got a kid who loves American Girl dolls? Be sure to sign up for the AG Rewards program for points earned with every purchase — and a free birthday gift.

  • Applebees

    Image Credit: jejim/Shutterstock

    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. 

  • Auntie Anne’s

    Image Credit: Jer123/Shutterstock

    Kids 13 and older can sign up for the Pretzel Perks program, which includes a free pretzel with signup and a free pretzel on your birthday. Plus, every $25 earns you another free pretzel. 

  • Baskin Robbins

    Image Credit: Slyapath/Shutterstock

    Baskin Robbins’ Birthday Club allows parents and guardians to sign up for an account and then add children (or any member of the family) to also recieve a birthday coupon for a free scoop on their special day. There’s even a non-gendered option when filling out profiles for new family members. Select “male,” “female,” or “ice cream lover.”

  • Benihana

    Image Credit: Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock

    Benihana’s Kabuki Kids program gets kids an email certificate for a free souvenir mug with the purchase of any kids’ meal on their birthday. 

  • Brusters

    Image Credit: melissamn/Shutterstock

    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 Workshop

    Image Credit: Eric Glenn/Shutterstock

    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, which ensures their Birthday Treat Bear will only cost as much as the candles on their cake. (So $4 on their fourth birthday and so on.)  

  • California Pizza Kitchen

    Image Credit: Supannee_Hickman/Shutterstock

    Once a parent or guardian has joined CPK Rewards, they can add children to the Kids Club, which gets them one free meal or dessert during their birthday month. 

  • Chuck E. Cheese

    Image Credit: JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock

    Parents, guardians, and grandparents can sign up for the Chuck E. Cheese rewards program. They can add up to six children to recieve a sweet birthday surprise on their actual birthday, as well as their half-birthday! You also get a free personal pizza on your first visit after signing up.

  • Cinnabon

    Image Credit: Arne Beruldsen/Shutterstock

    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 — currently it’s a free 16-ounce cold brew — so kid-friendliness may vary. (But hey, you deserve a treat for your kid’s birthday too, right?!)

  • Culver’s

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    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. 

  • Denny’s

    Image Credit: jejim/Shutterstock

    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 your kid gets their learner’s permit?  

  • Dippin’ Dots

    Image Credit: James R. Martin/Shutterstock

    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 birthday. Parents can use their own email address to get a free coupon for their kid’s birthday.

  • Friendly’s

    Image Credit: Charels Krupa/AP/Shutterstock

    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 kids sundae. 

  • IHOP

    Kids 13 and older can sign up via the IHOP website or app to earn “PanCoins” — a pancake cryptocurrency of sorts — which can be redeemed for free (real-life, edible) pancakes at IHOP. For your birthday, you’re rewarded 5 PanCoins, which equals a free stack of ‘cakes.

  • Jamba Juice

    Image Credit: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

    Kids 13 and older (as well as adults) can sign up for the My Jamba Rewards program. In addition to earning “banana points” towards coupons, members get a free small smoothie on their birthday. The coupon is also good for 30 days following the birthday date. 

  • JCPenney

    Image Credit: Jonatha Weiss/Shutterstock

    This one might be more for parents than kids, but JCPenney’s portrait studio offers discounts for photo shoots during your child’s birthday month. Sign up for an account with your email address; then, add your kid’s birth year and month. JCPenney also has a birthday gallery for inspiration. 

  • Jeni’s

    Image Credit: Cory Woodruff/Shutterstock

    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 the sweet deal. 

  • Jersey Mike’s

    Image Credit: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

    No year of birth 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

    Image Credit: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

    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. 

  • Journeys

    Image Credit: Hayk_Shalunts/Shutterstock

    Adults can sign up up to three kids for the Kidz Birthday Club at Journey’s Kidz. While the birthday gift is subject to change, in the past it’s 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

    Image Credit: James R. Martin/Shutterstock

    Krispy Kreme’s rewards program — which includes a free doughnut on your birthday (and when you sign up!)— is open to kids and adults 13 years and older. 

  • Moe’s

    Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

    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 signup.  

  • O’Charleys

    Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

    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 your or your child’s birthday.

  • The Old Spaghetti Factory

    Image Credit: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

    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-birthday 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.

  • Olive Garden

    Image Credit: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

    Kids 13 and older can sign up for the Olive Garden birthday freebies email list to recieve a free dessert on their birthday. 

  • Panera

    Image Credit: Juli Hansen/Shutterstock

    You aren’t required to put a birth year when signing up for a MyPanera account, although the brand’s terms state that you must be 13 or older to participate. On your child’s birthday, they can get a free pastry or cookie. 

  • Perkins

    Image Credit: Jonath Weiss/Shutterstock

    Once adults sign up for the MyPerkins rewards program, they can add kids to Perkins Birthday Club. Kids under 12 get a free meal with purchase of an adult entree. 

  • Petco

    Image Credit: Miosotis_Jade/Shutterstock

    OK, this is for your non-human kids, but it’s 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

    Image Credit: Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock

    P.F. Chang’s has a rewards program that only requires you to enter a birth month to recieve one complimentary birthday dessert during that month. Older kids can sign themselves up, or you can sign up a younger child using your email. There are two tiers of membership — one is free, and one is $6.99 per month — but the free dessert applies to either.

  • Rita’s

    Image Credit: George Sheldon/Shutterstock

    Rita’s rewards 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

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    Sephora’s VIB rewards program is open to anyone 13 and up, though it doesnt actually make you enter a birth 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. Naturally, this one is best for tweens and teens.

  • Starbucks

    Image Credit: Grand Warszawski/Shutterstock

    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

    Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

    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 upon signup. 

  • The Children’s Place

    Image Credit: BestStockFoto/Shutterstock

    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

    Image Credit: Sundy Photography/Shutterstock

    Ulta’s rewards program is similar to Sephora’s: Per the small print, you have to be 13 to partcipate (because makeup?), though Ulta doesn’t make you enter a birth year during the sign-up process. All members earn points towards rewards and get a “pretty present” during their birth month.

  • Zaxby’s

    Image Credit: James R. Martin/Shutterstock

    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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