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10 freebies for kids every military family should know about

Rule number one for military families looking to save money: Always, always ask if there …

Staff Sgt. Katherine Danks reads to her daughter Charlotte as her Son Eddie reads his new book during the Books on Bases event on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 28, 2016. In celebration of the Month of the Military Child, the 15th Wing Public Affairs office and JBPHH Public Affairs office teamed up with Blue Star Families to provide more than 1,000 books to children of servicemembers. The free event, which also offered attendees an opportunity to take pictures with a few of their favorite super heroes, also doubled as a food drive. More than 300 pounds of canned good items were collected to donate to local food banks. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich/Released)

Rule number one for military families looking to save money: Always, always ask if there is a military discount (a lot of stores have one but don’t advertise it).

Rule number two: There are some things your kids (or your family) can get completely for free. Here are ten freebies to check out:


military family
U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ty-Rico Lea

Related: Match your skill with organizations that help military families

The Armed Services YMCA provides military children, age 6 and under, with an original quilt made from photos submitted by his or her parent, to help ease deployment anxiety. For children age 7 and older, they offer a standard-size, custom pillowcase. Each keepsake is hand-made by a volunteer and donated with love and good wishes for the recipient child. 

Handmade baby blankets

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offers free Budgeting for Baby workshops that will help new mothers develop a family budget. Every participant receives a gift that includes a baby blanket handmade by a Society volunteer.


Operation Paperback sends books to military families. Request books here by submitting your family’s address and reading preferences, including the age ranges of your children.

Story recordings

Related: 25 activities for kids at home who miss their deployed parent

United Through Reading connects military families who are separated —for deployment or military assignment—by providing the bonding experience of shared storytime. Check their Current Program Location list to see if your command has a United Through Reading site. Service members choose from a selection of books of varying topics and age ranges. The volunteer will then assist you in making your private recording. Once you have finished your recording, the volunteer will give you the video, and (at most recording locations) the book, which you can then mail to your young loved one.


Eligible military families get free access to through the DoD online tutoring program. et homework and studying help from a professional tutor any time you need it. FREE for students in Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Reserve families. Expert tutors are online 24/7 and available to help in more than 16 subjects, including test prep, proofreading, Math, Science, English and Social Studies.

National park admission

Military families get free admission to all National Parks (passes usually cost over $100). Just show a military ID at the park entrance. 

Museum admission

(U.S. Air Force photo)

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families.

Bibles and quarterly activities boxes

American Bible Society’s Hero Squad sends a Welcome Box to any military family that requests it, with Bibles and devotionals for different age groups. Seasonal boxes are sent each quarter, with gifts, journals, family activities and more. Parents and caregivers receive weekly email devotionals.   

Amusement park admission

Busch GardensSea World and Sesame Place offer military members one free admission per year. 


Our Military Kids supports military children (ages 3 – 18) by funding sports, arts, and other extracurricular activities while a parent is deployed overseas with the National Guard, deployed with the Reserve, or recovering from severe injuries sustained in a post-9/11 overseas mission. 

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Feature image: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich/Released

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