Mystery Rides: The Pumpkin Patch

Growing up my parents had this fun tradition of mystery rides. Essentially they were a surprise trip to somewhere special but they wouldn’t tell us where and it drove us completely nuts, in a good way of course. The anticipation was so much fun. We’d spend the whole day of and the entire car ride guessing and drilling our parents to try and figure it out (my mom was always the first to cave). When we got older we wised up and started asking very detailed but understandably practical questions they had to answer to figure it out beforehand,  “Yeah ok but what kind of shoes do we need, like can I wear these sandals or do I need more sturdy hiking boots so how much walking and what kind of terrain are we talking about? And is the drive long enough that I should bring my Biology textbook to study for the AP test? And should we eat before or is there food there, do we need to pack a lunch or sunscreen or our own wallets and how much money do I bring and what about a backpack to carry stuff in? Where did you say we were going again?”. It started to get pretty easy to crack them at that point. It’s one of my favorite family traditions growing up and we’ve continued it in our family too.


Today I’m partnering with Ford to share another creative way to make car trips more enjoyable without devices. A couple weeks ago we shared two family map projects and today I’m sharing how we bumped our family’s mystery ride tradition up a notch with this clue pack for our trip to the pumpkin patch.


Keep reading to see more about this project…

This content was created in partnership with Ford to help make creativity a part of every drive.

Photography by Liz Stanley. Assisted by Sara Albers and Sarah Iveson

There are six clues for the mystery ride that they can open on the way. Depending on the length of the trip, every few minutes we let Henry open up a clue to get closer in finding out the mystery spot.


1. Using freezer paper we made a car stencil and ironed it onto the muslin bag. We painted it with fabric paint and stamped ‘Mystery Ride’ underneath with a large stamp set


Here are the clues we included for this mystery ride (shhhhhh…. it’s a pumpkin patch!)


1. A pumpkin riddle on a paint strip (there are ten bazillion riddles you can find online- or make up your own!)

2. An edible clue: pumpkin seeds. Anything edible is a bonus for road trips!


3. A small hangman game on card stock with the answer being: pumpkin patch (this would be the last clue)

4. Word search on card stock with relevant words: apple, scarecrow, hay ride, donut

Both of these are stamped with a mini alphabet stamp kit (maybe my favorite thing in the craft room!)


5. A bag of bouncy balls or another toy clue (there’s a bouncy house there!)

6. A picture clue like this one of a farm

car trip games

PS The little laminated car maps above are from my first post with Ford a couple week ago.





What ideas do you have for entertaining kids in the car without devices?


Liz, I really love these. Thankfully, we have done pretty well device free on road trips. The last trip we took (a 2 hour drive), we just sang old camp songs most of the way, making up our own lyrics as we went along, and we were in stitches.

Also: That last photo is so precious.

This is such a fun idea. I can’t wait to recreate this with our toddler on our next road trip. Henry looks like such a loving brother in the last picture 🙂

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