Being from such a large family, we grew up on a tight budget. So my parents got creative when thinking of how to entertain us. Two of my favorite activities were of mystery rides and pajama rides.
For mystery rides, my parents would pile us into the van (a.k.a. “the mean green machine”). They wouldn’t tell us where we were going. We were allowed to ask yes/no questions as we traveled to the location. It could be any kind of place; many times it was a park. It was a brilliant strategy as it kept us quiet on the ride because we were trying to guess where we were going. We weren’t fighting with each other or complaining about how long it was taking to get there.
Pajama rides are pretty self explanatory. At night time, after we were in pajamas, they would take us out somewhere. Sometimes they told us where we were going, sometimes they didn’t. How many times do you get to leave the house in your pajamas as a kid? That’s what made it so much fun. I think the most memorable pajama ride was on Christmas Eve. My parents took us to a local donut shop. When we got there, we sang Christmas carols to the people working there. For the kids, the most memorable part is the person working behind the counter gave us each a free donut. My mom told me that employee pulled her aside and told her that he was beginning to think that everyone had lost the true meaning of Christmas and that we restored his faith.
For both of these activities, the destination really isn’t the important part. The novelty is in the ride itself.
I remember the first time I took my sons on a pajama ride. They were grinning ear to ear because they couldn’t believe we were taking them somewhere in their pajamas. We only went to Target, but they absolutely loved it!