Make Holiday Packing Fun for Kids

July 27, 2015 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

The summer is well and truly here and plenty of you will already have taken holidays and mini breaks or have them planned over the coming weeks. Packing for all the family can be a chore and as a busy working Mum I was always keen for my children take responsibility for their own things at a very young age. There have of course been packing disasters with all underwear omitted or a case full of tops, but I find it much easier to check and amend with my children so they learn how to pack for themselves than to do it all alone and be blamed for leaving behind a favourite shirt.  After forgetting essentials too many times even Farmer Nick now packs his own things!  

Part of encouraging independent packing comes from having something fun to put things in. The clever people at Prezzybox are selling kiddie suitcases in a fun monster or ladybird design.

 

The Two Suitcases.

 

They appealed to me straight away with some great features:

  • Extendible pull-along handle
  • Easily Changed from Pull along case to backpack
  • Rucksack straps retract when the pull along handle is extended
  • Wheels light up red, blue and green when moving
  • Splash proof and easily wipes clean
  • Multiple Storage Compartments

Features of the monster suitcase

I'm not suggesting that a toddler is going to pack for themselves but with a case as inviting as this they will want to be involved. Choosing their favourite clothes to pack with you and special toys and teddies can make the holiday preparation more enjoyable and engaging and gives you a chance to explain what they might need and things you may do while you are away.

As teens and tweens my own independent packers have all had a good look inside our monster case and tested the funky wheels reminiscing over their own first travel cases and how they would pack them full of teddies and pants and not much else, I only wish they had been as practical and fun as these ones from Prezzybox.

 To give our new Monster case a real test, I enlisted the help of some of our younger holiday makers staying here at Coombe Mill during one of our Activity Hour sessions. Here is what they said:

 

Kids opinions of the Suitcase

 

 

The children loved helping me pack and unpack the case and wheel it along, though moving forwards whilst turning back to watch the flashing wheels took some coordination! They instantly began role playing 'going on holiday' together. 

 

Kids exploring the Monster Suitcase

 

The youngsters all agreed they would love to have a case like this for their next holiday. It proved so popular at Activity Hour as a little side line that I am going to keep ours with some toys and a blanket inside for our youngest children while the older ones are absorbed in the craft activities at the table.

WIN a Child's Suitcase with Coombe Mill

 

Make Packing for Holidays Easier

 

  • The lovely folk at Prezzybox are offering Coombe Mill blog readers the chance to win either a Ladybird or Monster suitcase. They would make a wonderful holiday present or birthday present for for sleepovers, mini breaks or a family holiday. If you fancy winning one just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part and if you are not successful you can always buy one from the Prezzybox website where they are currently reduced from £35 to £28.95

Kids Suitcase

Disclosure:

We were sent our Monster suitcase for the purpose of this review post. All opinions are my own and those of our young holiday makers who tried the case out with me.

 

Tried and Tested

The Alpaca Striptease Show

July 26, 2015 at 9:30 PMCoombeMill

 

It is that time of year again when our larger than life, somewhat scary alpaca need shearing.  There are only 7 fully qualified alpaca shearers in the country and only one we have found in Cornwall. Booking him means planning in advance. However there is one thing that will prevent the job happening and that is a wet coat. Typically it was raining the week the shearer was booked in and the forecast was for it to continue right up to the day he was due. We were caught out the same way last year and ended up having to rebook so we took matters into our own hands this year and decided to take the troublesome twosome, Toffee and Caramel, into Nick's shed to dry off for 48 hours before their beauty treatments.

 

The Alpaca Striptease Show

 

Catching the alpaca coincided with a poorly pig so Nick had radioed me to come and take over the morning feed run while he rang the vet and dashed off for antibiotics. He returned just as we were finishing up by the rabbits which were also where he had allegedly caught the alpaca ready to load them with the guests into the stock trailer, except they had jumped his temporary fence and were happily grazing their field!

 

Alpaca in his coat

 

Nick just beamed at me in front of all the guests, enormous syringe in one hand and bucket of feed in the other, I knew what was coming next and felt stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea! Reluctantly I took the bucket of feed as sticking the needle in the rear end of a pig felt even more dangerous than having my ass head butted by the alpaca!

I have just one motto with scary animals, look the boss and act confident. I waved Nick and his giant syringe off and boldly entered the alpaca field. I could almost feel them laughing at me as I shook the bucket of feed and called them over. I watched their ears go and saw the exchange of looks and mentally covered my ass from the anticipated boof as I strode purposefully towards the reassembled temporary enclosure shaking the bucket. I wish I had a video to share as I managed a text book farming manoeuvre trapping the daft pair once again!

Nick and Alistair (our eldest son) soon had them from my enclosure into the trailer and off to the shed.  Apparently jabbing the pig was also a success, she was feeling properly poorly and hadn't the will to argue.

 

Loading the alpacas into the trailer

 

Over in the shed the alpaca just cooed at us and we hoped their coats would dry in time.

Colin the shearer arrived on time at 8.30am, we had already warned the guests in case they wanted an early start to come and watch.  Several took us up on our offer so he had quite an audience.  His skill at handling the animals made me feel quite ashamed of my own apprehension; they were like giant pussy cats for him. In no time they were lying on his mat strapped down and they coats coming off in swift movements.

Alpaca Shearing Gif

 

 All the time Colin talked the guests through what he was doing and how he was restraining them, it was fascinating for us all.

 

Shearing, teeth and foot care

There was a quick pedicure and dental check up while they were lying there and in no time they were eyeing each other up, a shadow of their former selves.

 

Post-Shearing people looking at the alpacas

 

I thought moving them into the stock trailer to take them back over the road to their field could have been tricky but I think they were so pleased to be leaving the confines of Farmer Nick's shed with his bad taste in music they walked straight up the ramp and in without a murmur. We all watched as Farmer Nick released them.

 

Moving the Alpaca back to the field

 

Back in the field their delight at being free once again and without their heavy winter coats showed. They are the most awkward looking animals and not at all graceful, but still they rolled, ran and jumped for joy, it was both comical and wonderful to watch.  

 

Happy Alpaca's back in their field

 

We are left with 4 bags of whitish fawn fleece which will now go to a good home with a local cottage crafter and if we are lucky we will have a beautiful naturally spun soft rug in return. As for the Pig, the jab in the rear end did the trick and she was well on the road to recovery by the following morning.

 

 

 



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Weekly Farm Photo

July 25, 2015 at 11:00 PMCoombeMill

A hop skip and a jump from Toffee the Alpaca who has just had his annual hair cut along with his partner in crime Caramel.  Read the whole story on the blog tomorrow but for now I couldn't resist this ungainly photo of him running free in the field, the joy of losing his coat obvious to see.

 

Alpaca running for joy on the farm after being sheared & let back to the field at Coombe Mill

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

July 24, 2015 at 11:20 PMCoombeMill

Minibeasts

For activity hour this week I wanted to do something to introduce the children to our new bug hotel. It was a short step from here to forming a whole session on mini beasts. 

 

Hunting for Minibeasts and designing our own

 

I had a copy of the Superworm book by Julia Donaldson which I love and which many of the children were familiar with so we began our session over in the craft tent reading some of the fun situations in which super worm found himself.

 

Reading the Superworm book

 

With imaginations fired up I showed the children how they were going to make their very own super worm from wool and sticks. I have to confess this was a bit of an aptitude test for the parents too as they followed my instructions on finger knitting. The children all chose their Superworm colours and watched their worms grow along their parents finger before choosing a twig handle and the wool to watch their worm wriggle and squirm along the ground. If anyone fancies having a go at these I am going to follow up with a step by step tutorial over on my new linky #Trash2Treasure.   

 

Making the Finger-Knitted worms

 

Worms completed we moved onto painting stone bugs like the ones living in our Fairy Gardens.  The children finger painted bugs in their own designs on to the stones, some resembled real bugs while others created interesting make believe bugs, each were finished with googly eyes.

 

Painting our bug rocks

Our minibeast session was moving at quite a pace and next up I had pinned a lovely tutorial from Baby Budgeting some time ago for attracting butterflies to the trees. This was the perfect time to give it a go after not finding enough time on our butterfly and Caterpillar week.  The children loved making their plate designs and it was something every age group could do to their own level.

 

desiging the paper plates

We threaded string through the edges of the plates and took them over to the fairy gardens and bug hotel along with some old pot plant holders. Over in the gardens we added a few slices of banana to everyone's plate and pot before hanging up the plates and wedging the pots in to any spare nook and cranny in the bug hotel.

Feeding the bugs

We searched under logs and round canes for some real live minibeasts but didn't manage to spot any as the Hotel is still very new. However I knew just where there would be some and took the children into the higher levels of the Fairy Gardens to look under the tree stumps. Sure enough a plethora of worms, woodlice and the like scurried away from the light to the children's delight. They proceeded to lift every stump and giggle and the hive of activity that lay beneath picking them up where they could.

 

Hunting for minibeasts

 

It was such a fun way to spend our hour and many of the parents were thrilled with the children's reaction to the bugs thanking me for making the creepy crawlies so exciting.

 

 

If you are fans of the Superworm story, you may be interested to know that The Forestry Commission have a Superworm Trail running over the summer in many of their woods. It's a great Country Kids day out at just the price of parking the car. If you are staying with us then Cardinham Woods is the closest at about 25 minutes drive from Coombe Mill. 

Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is all about inspiring families to enjoy time outdoors away from sofas and screens. If you have a post that fits please do come and share with me. All outdoor fun including playing, crafting, learning and discovering are welcome. Please do check out some of the other posts linked up, there are always some great ideas to inspire your next outing.  

 

Country Kids is around in these communities, I'd love you to join me: 

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)

 

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest. 

 

 

Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me 

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet

 

A few of my favourites from last week:

Chocolate is not the only fruit returned to Coombe Mill  for their family holiday and share their joy at being back on the farm

The Wildlife and Wetland Trust is the place to visit right now with gorgeous goslings all around as photographed by Attachment Mummy on a lovely family adventure

This playgroup in Cornwall was full of outdoor inspiration for Learning for Life

A Family Chatter makes camping in the South West with young children look quite idyllic.

With  farm fields, toys, free play and some clever picnic boxes hosting a party is going to be a winner as Bubba Blue and Me discovered  

For a great National Trust Day out try Cliveden House in Berkshire as visited by My Travel Monkey 

Redpeffer used her National Trust membership after school where the children enjoyed the freedom of the gardens together  

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

   

   

Knock knock any fairies at home

July 20, 2015 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

 If you have young children then I bet you have been exposed to a little fairy magic somewhere. Perhaps an activity at playgroup, a fairy walk or fairy garden on a nature trail or maybe you have your very own fairy space in your house or garden? Here at Coombe Mill the fairies have waved their magic over us and we have a whole series of interlinking Fairy Gardens accessed by a lovely homemade entrance with twinkle lights at night.

 

Fairy at the Entrance to the Fairy Garden

Reclaimed from an overgrown wilderness space next to our Coombe Mill car park these Fairy Gardens are now an enchanted area adored by our younger holiday makers.  Each week I watch as little trinkets and ornaments move around in there being rearranged during imaginative play, each child returning to the gardens in the belief the fairies have been busy again!

Fairy Garden's enchanted goodies

Here in our activity hour on the farm we make new things to decorate the trees each week which keeps the gardens looking fresh and full of intrigue. A dressing up box of fairy and wizard outfits in our reception adds to the sense of adventure and imagination for the children and I love how this space is evolving all the time.

Kids exploring the fairy garden

There has been one significant absence that I keep pestering my handy man and husband Farmer Nick about and that is some Fairy doors on the tree trunks and newly made mushroom stools. I have been collecting examples on my Fairy Garden Pinterest board to try to inspire him, but it just hasn't yet made the top of his very long farm to do list. To my delight myownfairy.com has come to the rescue. They have a range of magical Fairy doors in pretty colours made from treated wood. Not only do they look cute but they include a special key to the door and some fairy dust together with a certificate from the fairies and instruction leaflet on how to entice a Fairy into your home.  The colourful packing is delightful and designed to spark imagination from the moment you see the box.

 

Fairy Door in the Box

 

I couldn't wait to open ours and see the magic that lay within. The doors can be used inside or out; they would look wonderful on a high skirting board or small cupboard door however they are also coated for outdoor use in the garden, though you will need to retreat them regularly if they are left outdoors. A tree trunk, planter or even garden fence would all be perfect. Priced at £19.99 they would make a lovely birthday gift or treat for any little one wanting to develop their imagination. I can recommend a look at the website for lots of magical ideas including the option to join their Fairy Club.

What's in the box

 

After a tour of the Fairy Gardens here at Coombe Mill I decided to place our Fairy door against one of Farmer Nick's newly carved magic mushrooms, my children helped me to create a little pathway and we placed the key on a jutting out wood piece near the door, the instruction manual suggests  leaving the key out overnight and if it has gone my morning you know a fairy has moved in which I think is a lovely idea.

 

Fairy Door on the mushroom

Then our imaginations were off and we experimented with a leaf path and the door on the Bug Hotel, against a tree stump and even on a stepped path up to a telegraph pole! 

 

Fairy Door around the Fairy Garden

Wherever we placed our door and sprinkled fairy dust it brought a glittering splash of colour to the gardens; now I want to save for a door in every colour to bring imagination and wonder to our Fairy Gardens.

The lovely folk at myownfairy.com have a special offer for Coombe Mill Readers this summer

 

A Special Offer for Coombe Mill Blog Readers

WIN your own Fairy Door

Win a Fairy Door

 

For a chance to WIN a fairy door from myownfairy.com follow the instructions below.

Good luck to all taking part, we absolutely adore our new addition in the Coombe Mill Fairy Gardens and I'm sure you will too.

Win a Fairy Door

Disclosure

I was sent my Fairy Door with no obligation but I was so impressed I chose to write this review and invite myownfairy.com to run this giveaway with us.    

 

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Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Coombe Mill

"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.

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