Birthdays are so great when you're a kid. There's the endless countdown to the big day, and finally waking up the morning of anticipating all the awaiting surprises. When you're young, there's still excitement (rather than dread) at the thought of turning another year older. So what could possibly make all this even more exciting? How about a whole bunch of free stuff?! If you know where to look, there are some pretty sweet freebies to be had on your kid's birthday (or on yours, for that matter). A lot of these places are big companies that require sign up to a club or mailing list, and many of them require a minimum age for membership (usually 13 in compliance with a federal online privacy act) so parents may want to be the primary member and just hand off the goodies to the littles when the time comes. Others, though, are smaller even local Connecticut businesses that genuinely want to offer something lovely to the people who support them. Whether your kid might like a free birthday ice cream cone or a trip back in time on their special day, here are some fun free finds for your little's next birthday.
Like a lot of these birthday freebies, you must sign up for the Rita's birthday club in order to be eligible for a free birthday treat. You have to be at least 13 years old to sign up for the club, so parents may want to consider registering on behalf of their kiddos. Rita's will deliver a coupon to your email inbox redeemable for a free icy treat on your birthday.
Sign up for the birthday club to receive a free scoop on your big day. The website doesn't list a specific age at the signup page, but you do need a valid email address in order to become a member.
Join the Blizzard Fan Club and you'll get all sorts of goodies. Just for signing up you receive a BOGO coupon for a DQ Blizzard, and they'll treat you to more frozen goodness when your birthday rolls around.
Cold Stone Creamery
Members of the My Cold Stone Club will find a coupon for BOGO treats waiting in their inbox on their special day. In addition to this, Cold Stone will give you $3 off an ice cream birthday cake.
If your little ones like pancakes, the IHOP Pancakes to the People might be just the ticket. There are so many opportunities for free pancakes in this club--members will receive a free stack of "Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity" pancakes for signing up, every year on their birthday, and on the anniversary of the date you joined the club. That's a whole lotta short stacks.
What kid wouldn't want a birthday burrito? OK, maybe a lot of kids wouldn't want a birthday burrito, but if yours definitely would then check out the in crowd at Moe's. At sign up, you'll receive a coupon for free queso and every year there will be a free birthday burrito waiting to be enjoyed.
This offer is a bit more involved so parents will definitely want to consider being the one who actually signs their name to membership. There are lots of incentives available that make sense if Jamba Juice is your family's jam. There is a point system for purchases that will earn you free smoothies, an app to allow you to jump the line by ordering online, and of course a free small smoothie every year on your birthday.
Photo by cherylcenter via Instagram
I love this one because it isn't some gigantic, national corporation offering some free goodness on your birthday, it's Connecticut's own Frank Pepe Pizzeria. Sign up for the birthday club at their website and receive a free small pizza (value up to $15.00) every year on your birthday. The sign-up page carries a caveat that it can take up to two weeks for membership to activate, so don't wait until the day before the big day to become a member.
Barnes and Noble
This bookseller has a club aimed specifically at kids. Not only do you receive discounts on purchases for your kids, they will also get a free cupcake at the in-store cafe every year on their birthday.
Toys R Us
Geoffrey's Birthday Club comes with some pretty decent perks. Your child will receive a birthday card and a small gift every year until age 10, and if they head to a Toys R Us on the big day they will get a birthday crown and an announcement will be made to the store that there is a birthday boy or girl in residence. There's even an option to have a special birthday phone call from the Toys R Us giraffe himself.
The Purple Bear
Photo courtesy of the Purple Bear
Nestled in the heart of downtown Guilford overlooking the town green, this is the quintessential toy shop. It's charming and full of magical surprises and better yet--on their first visit and every birthday after that until age ten, your child receives a free gift.
The Children's Place
Arguably this one could be more exciting for parents than for kids. When you sign up for rewards at The Children's Place and enter your kids' birth dates, you will receive 20% off purchases when the big day rolls around. You can put up to four kids on your account which makes for a lot of birthday discounts.
I may have saved the best for last here. I love this birthday freebie so much for a lot of reasons. First of all, Mystic Seaport is an amazing place and we are so fortunate to have it within reach. Secondly, there is no sign up required. You don't need to join a club or get on a mailing list to redeem this offer. You just have to show up with ID or a birth certificate. Bear in mind that kids three and under get in for free already, but once they hit four they need paid tickets. Use this generous offer from Mystic Seaport to treat your whole family to a special day on your little one's special day.
Cover photo courtesy of Mystic Seaport