Want to make your child's birthday more exciting without spending a lot of money? Sign her up for birthday clubs! I'm not just talking about restaurants either — lots of other stores and businesses also offer free gifts, cards and special discounts when you sign your child (13 years old and under unless otherwise noted below) up for their birthday club. For best results, join these clubs at least a month or two before your child's birthday so that you can be sure to reap the rewards when the big day comes around.

1. Burger King

Burger King's Birthday Club is part of the BK Crown program. After you register on their website, your child will receive a coupon via email for a free hamburger Kids Meal near or on her birthday. When I registered my daughter, Burger King also emailed me a free Kids Meal coupon to use immediately just for registering!

2. Sonic

Sign your child up for Sonic's Wacky Pack Club and your tot will get a coupon for a free Wacky Pack (their version of a kid's meal) on his birthday.

3. Kmart

Yes, even Kmart has a Birthday Club! Take your little one into your local store on her birthday and she will receive a birthday certificate, $5 in Birthday Bucks, a birthday crown, and a fun pack full of surprise gifts (think stickers and color sheets — but my daughter was still thrilled!)

4. Olan Mills

Olan Mills' Birthday Club is pretty amazing. Prior to your child's birthday, you will receive a coupon for a free portrait package if you schedule a sitting on your kiddo's birthday. What's included? One 8 x1 0, two 5 x 7's and eight wallets. The only downside? The deal is only good through age 3.

5. Toys “R” Us

Sign your kid up for Geoffrey's Birthday Club and he will receive a birthday card and phone call from Geoffrey himself. You will also get an invitation to come into the store for an extra special birthday experience: a birthday balloon and crown. Plus, if you stick around in the store for a little while your child will hear a special birthday announcement and all the customers and employees will wish your tot a happy birthday, too!

6. Ace Hardware

A hardware store may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of your child and her birthday, but sign your child up for Ace Kids Club at a local participating store and she will get a free surprise. Again, think along the lines of stickers, color sheets, and a store coupon.

7. Boston Market

Boston Market's Birthday Club promises your little one a free birthday meal. After you sign up, you'll get a coupon in the mail shortly before your child's birthday good for a free kid’s meal, drink and dessert.

8. Red Robin

Sign up for Red Robin's eClub and your kid will get a free hamburger on his birthday. But wait — this deal is good for adults as well, so don't forget to sign yourself up, too!

9. Baskin-Robbins

With Baskin-Robbins' Birthday Club, your child will receive a coupon for a free 2.5 oz. scoop of ice cream on her birthday. Joining this club also gets you sneak peeks at new flavors as well as coupons and special offers. There's no age limit on this one — so sign up the whole family!

10. The Children’s Place

Register for The Children's Place Birthday Club and you will receive a coupon for 15 percent off anything in the store on or before your child's birthday. And as a thank you for signing up, The Children's Place sent me a 15 percent off coupon on my birthday as well!

11. Bob Evans

Children 12 and under get a free kid's meal when they enroll in Bob Evans' Kid Times Birthday Club. Of course, this is with the purchase of an adult meal — but it's not like my husband and I would be able to resist ordering something from their delectable menu anyway! I mean, have you tasted the Big Farm Burger?!?

12. Famous Dave's BBQ

With the Famous Dave's P.I.G Club (Pretty Important Guest), your child's birthday gift is always a surprise! A few weeks before your tot's birthday, Famous Dave's will send a birthday coupon for free food. You have to take it into the restaurant to see what the coupon is actually good for. My daughter scored a free dessert one year and a full slab of ribs the next!

13. Dairy Queen

Join the Dairy Queen Blizzard Fan Club and you'll get a coupon for a free Blizzard on your little one's birthday (with the purchase of another Blizzard). But even better, they send you a "Buy One Get One Free Blizzard" coupon right after you sign up!

14. T.G.I Friday's

T.G.I Friday's will email you a coupon for a free dessert (with the purchase of an entrée) to be used in your child's birthday month when you sign up for the Give Me More Stripes Club. But you don't have to wait until a birthday rolls around to reap the rewards! They also send you a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert right after you sign up. And to sweeten the deal, you and your child get to preview menu items before anyone else does, as well as receive one "Jump the Line Pass," which allows you to skip to the front of the line!

15. Cold Stone Creamery

Members of Cold Stone Creamery's Cold Stone Club receive a "Buy One Get One Free Creation" coupon as a birthday surprise. Plus, they'll send you a BOGO coupon just for signing up! This club also delivers surprises all year long with members-only coupons, promotions, and new product sneak peeks.

16. California Pizza Kitchen

Kids 10 and under get a free CPKids birthday meal during the month of their birthday when you join the CPK Adventure eClub. Plus you'll get a $5 off coupon to use on your next visit when you sign up.

17. Madeline

Is your child in love with that adorable cartoon and storybook character Madeline? If so, sign up for Madeline's Fan Club to get a free birthday card from Madeline herself! I have to admit, this completely made my 5-year-old daughter's day!

18. The Old Spaghetti Factory

Enroll in Wally's Kids' Club at the Old Spaghetti Factory and you will receive a card and a free kid's meal for your child's (10 and under) birthday. The website also offers fun downloads and games to entertain your child at home.

19. Friendly’s

If your kiddo is 13 or under, they can score a free sundae and kid's meal (with the purchase of any adult meal) when you sign up for Friendly's Birthday Club! Plus you get a free 3-scoop sundae just for enrolling!

20. Shoney's

With Shoney's E-Club, children 10 and under get a free Birthday Kids Meal. Plus, they offer other discounts and surprises (special kids meal discounts, promotions, etc.) throughout the year.

20 Fun and Free Kids' Birthday Clubs