How to Plan a Birthday Freebie Adventure With Your Kids

Looking for a fun new way to celebrate your kids’ birthdays? (Or yours?)

Ever sign up for a store or restaurant’s birthday club?

Turn those coupons and emails for birthday freebies into a fun family adventure!

In this article I’ll show you how to search for birthday freebies and deals in your neighborhood and use them for a fun family celebration that costs next to nothing.

Ever sign up for a store or restaurant birthday club? Turn the coupons and emails for birthday freebies into a fun family adventure that costs next to nothing!

Why a Birthday Adventure?

Birthday parties are usually all about the kids, but with the birthday freebie adventure, your whole family (parents, too!) can celebrate together every time one of you has your big day. And the celebration can go on during the whole birthday month.

It’s simple. You’ve probably already signed up for free birthday stuff from your favorite restaurants and shops. In this adventure you sign up for several birthday freebies and make your way from place to place, enjoying the birthday treats together. It’s like a treasure hunt or a progressive dinner where free (or heavily discounted) goodies are the prize.

Make the most of all of the birthdays in your family and start an inexpensive tradition that creates great family memories.

This adventure is very easy to do, but it does require a little bit of planning to research what’s offered in your area and register online for free birthday stuff. Read on for some quick ways to find them. The good news is you only have to do it once and then you’ll receive birthday offers and coupons automatically every year.

Every business with a birthday club offers something different. Some offer free stuff, others have buy-one-get-one deals. No matter what the offer, you can feed the entire family for a fraction of what you’d normally spend.

kids sharing treats

It’s fun sharing the treats with family.

Some offer freebies only on the day of your birthday, but most let you come in for the gift any time during your birthday month. This makes the birthday freebie adventure very flexible. You can celebrate on the big day or any time during the month or a combination of both.

Some treats are only for kids 12 and younger, while others can be claimed at any age. So be sure to take the kids on an adventure for your own birthday, too!

My family of five began doing birthday freebie adventures a few years ago. Now our kids not only expect it, but they begin talking about the adventure weeks ahead of time. It’s always a big event!

We do our adventure in a series of outings during birthday week:

On the actual day, the entire family goes on a big birthday adventure.

Then on other days throughout the birthday week, my wife and I take turns going on treat runs with the honoree. This makes excellent one-on-one parent/child bonding time, as well as a fun break during the day.

banana split

Ice cream is just one of many free treats you can get on your birthday adventure.

Make lasting memories with your whole family as you embark on a birthday adventure.

You Will Need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Printer
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • $25 to $50
  • Empty stomachs
  • Camera
  • A vehicle, gassed up and ready to go

Preparation Time

30+ minutes scouring websites, plus time to print coupons for free and nearly free birthday treats. Note: Do the research and signups a few weeks before the birthday

Activity Time

Varies, depending on number of treats and stops


Your neighborhood

Warning! Be prepared to share the link to this article with your neighbors and friends. They’ll be calling to ask for tips, since your kids won’t be able to keep their adventure a secret!

#1: Research Freebies and Deals

A few weeks pre-birthday, go online and find businesses in your area that offer free or nearly free birthday coupons. Most will have an online club or newsletter signup to join, while others just say “Stop in on your birthday and receive…”

Do an Internet search for “birthday freebies” along with the name of your town or neighborhood. Here are some resources for finding treats in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Find deals in your neighborhood and sign up via email. Note: Check the age restrictions when you do the signups, since some are for young kids, while others require you to be age 13 or older.

To save time, sign up all of the members of your family at once. Some sites even let you register as a family.

The Baskin Robbins Birthday Club lets you sign up as a family.

Once you register, you may receive a welcome email with a bonus treat or deal. That’s another reason to sign up ahead of time: Extra treats the month preceding your birthday!

You only need to register each person once. After you do the initial signup, each year a couple of weeks in advance, do a quick check of your favorite deal website to see if anything new has been added to the list.

Eclectic Eating

Don’t expect your birthday freebie adventure to be a regular (ahem, healthy) balanced meal. The food you eat will be as random as the coupons you print off and the types of restaurants in your city.

popcorn and earth fare food

The food you eat during birthday week will be as random as the restaurants in your town.

This adventure falls into the category of cheat days. If you are health-conscious, then I recommend a jogging or hiking adventure proportional to the number of calories you consume during the birthday week!

By the way, not all birthday goodies are food. Some places offer discounts, free birthday “money” or a free activity, like bowling. Take full advantage of all the fun that’s out there!

#2: Print Your Deals and Map Your Route

The first day of birthday month, you should start receiving coupons via email. You’ll also get them a week and a few days before the big day. Print your coupons out as they come in.

mom printing coupons

Emails should start to come in the first day or your birthday month.

Once you have a substantial number of deals or a few days before birthday week (whichever comes first), have a family meeting to organize your treats.

Some restaurants will have buy one get one free (BOGO) or get one if you buy something of equal or greater value. Decide how much BOGO you want to do during the planning.

Divide your coupons out by expiration date, location or both. I recommend you put all of the treats you want or need to do on the actual birthday in one pile, and divide the rest by location.

Then separate the location pile into different days and put them in order. For example, if there’s a main road in your town with a lot of restaurants, begin on one end of that road and go to each restaurant in order.

mom in car

Put your coupons in order prior to your birthday adventure.

If you do your preparations, all you have to do on the birthday is enjoy the fruits of your research.

#3: Gather Your Treats

As I previously mentioned, we do the big birthday treat hunt as a family on the actual day and take turns with special outings during birthday week. Here’s a sample plan for the birthday adventure on the actual day.

Grab your family, coupons and a little money, and head out on your birthday road trip. Take a camera too, so you can capture those family moments.

Pull up to the store, enter and get your free item. In some instances you’ll have to eat in the store, others will let you take it to go. In those cases, toss the treat in the back of your vehicle and go to the next stop.

Tip: Bring along a cooler or insulated bag to help keep things hot or cold along your route.

family sharing treats

Some places will let you take your treat to go. Others are dine-in only.

Here’s one thing to add to your birthday adventure. Every few stops, give the birthday honoree a gift to open, while you enjoy your free food together.

Treat List

Here is the breakdown for our most recent birthday adventure. Each line includes all of the things we received at each stop. This includes the entire week’s adventure.

  • Two burritos—two cups of cheese sauce—chips—two sodas
  • 13 donuts—coffee
  • Hamburger and fries
  • Burrito—drink—cheese sauce
  • Frappuccino
  • Salad—drink
  • Yogurt
  • Large pretzel
  • Car wash
  • Large cookie slice
  • Italian ice drink
  • Pizza slice
  • Free sub
  • Free sub
  • Free sub
  • Free sub
  • Sandwich—fruit
  • Salad
  • Eggs, bacon, pancakes
  • Eggs, bacon, pancakes
  • Hamburger and fries
  • Tater tots
  • Sundae
  • Milkshake
  • Donut and mocha Coolatta

Total free: $157.08

Total expense: $37.19

Total fun: Priceless

Once you have all of your birthday goodies, enjoy them as a family on a picnic or for a special, very eclectic dinner at home.

The beauty of the birthday adventure is the whole family participates and benefits from it. It also helps you teach your kids virtues like humility, deferring, kindness, self-control and respect.

Plus, you get to do a lot of sharing. (Another important virtue to learn.) What better way to learn about sharing than by the mutual enjoyment of a double chocolate Frappuccino? Or, when you divide 10 tater tots between 3 human tots?

family sharing

Sharing is a huge part of the birthday adventure.

Here’s something else to share while enjoying your birthday adventure: Share some of the things you appreciate about the guest of honor. And have the birthday person, whether it’s a parent or child, share what he or she appreciates about each member of the family.

Some Final Thoughts

Birthdays are the perfect time to make lots of special memories with your family.

A birthday freebie adventure offers lots of opportunities to bond while gathering treats and sharing them with your family. It’s an adventure you can have several times a year, once for every birthday in the family.

Each year’s adventure can be a little different. What remains the same: everyone gets to celebrate and have lots of fun!

What do you think? Does your family like birthday adventures? What are some of your best birthday memories? What are your favorite birthday treats and freebies? Share your experience and photos in the comments.

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About the Author, Rick Thomas

Rick Thomas is the founder and president of The Counseling Solutions Group, a coaching and training organization that teaches leaders how to come alongside of and care for people. Other posts by »

  • Kristin

    My brother and his wife (they don’t have kids) spend every one of his birthdays driving to every single ice cream store they can find that gives away a free scoop on birthdays. He ends the day happily groaning :)

  • Debra Eckerling

    This is one of my favorite ways to celebrate a birthday! I love collecting and sharing treats!

  • KJ Ammerman

    I like that you divide out the coupons by expiration and location. So organized! (Jealous!!) Great idea for family birthdays :)

  • http://www.RickThomas.Net/ Rick Thomas

    Thank you, Kristen. You have a wise brother and sister-in-law. 😉

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