Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"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.
Colourful Junk Model Raft Race
Junk model raft building and racing with a clever use of paint is a great way to keep kids entertained whatever the weather. ... Read More
Celebrating 50 years since the 1st moon landing
Win "When we walked on the Moon" and "The Race to Space" from Quarto Kids. 2 great educational books for kids to celebrate the 1st moon land... Read More
Summer Holiday Farm News & Cornish Events August 2019
Summer Holiday Farm Fun and a guide to Cornish Events August in our latest farm holiday newsletter. From Weddings to baby chicks we have it ... Read More
Let's Go Lotto from Orchard Toys
Let's Go Lotto from Orchard Toys brings learning and fun together for 2 - 5 years. The perfect travel game for 2 - 4 players.... Read More
How to Create a Dinosaur Dig Kids Love
Create our own ice age dinosaur dig with this fun to do craft the kids will love. Turn it into an afternoon of fun with easy model dinosaurs... Read More
Raft racing isn’t a new concept to us on the farm. It has been a popular activity hour for years. Typically we run a junk modelling version around Easter and a Nature Raft Race in August. Having missed the Easter slot this year with other Easter crafts, I wanted to resurrect the activity. With 15 children signed up, and a terrible forecast of rain, it felt like the right week.
I spent the week collecting and washing up all the bottles from the Coombe Mill recycling centres and added to this a pile of sticky tape from the £1 shop.
Junk Model Raft Building in the Games Room
Having set the bottles and tape up in the games room the children all crowded round to start building and creating. Before long the games room was a hive of creative chatter as bottles clinked and tape ripped.
A splash of colour.
When the basic models had been created the children brought them outside to add paint. I had filled a collection of empty cleaning spray bottles with a watered down paint mix. These were perfect for squirting the inside of the clear bottles to bring colour without mess. The children could still hold the outside and with the lids replaced the river wouldn’t wash the colour away.
A little technical help
I gave a few tips on buoyancy and the need to weight rafts. The children graped this at once and braved the rain in search of sand and gravel to weight their rafts, and a few decorative bits for effect.
Ready to Race
Finally we set off for our launch bridge. Despite the pouring rain the children stood for a photo with their rafts of the steps
Then they all lined up waiting for “Ready steady Go” before dropping them into the water.
The rain after weeks of dry was just what was needed to give the rafts a bit of speed in the water. I had Guy waiting to wade downstream after them and ensure none were grounded or caught up in the banks along the way.
Everyone’s a Winner
Farmer Nick was on hand with fishing nets to catch the rafts and declare the winners for me. I had certificates ready laminated not just for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the race but also for team work, best technical raft and most creative. This ensured a good spread of success for all.
It was certainly a soggy affair, but everyone enjoyed our junk model raft race and it was a wonderful way to enjoy a little outdoor fun on a wet afternoon.
Tips for creating your own Junk Model Raft Race
Save up all your plastic bottles including the lids.
Keep back a few empty spray bottles for the paint. Water the paint 50 /50 with water so it sprays through the bottle. Use clear bottles like window cleaner so the colour is obvious.
The pound shops do some great £1 coloured sticky tape that is easy to share out a roll per team.
A great activity on a local river but make sure you have a safe place for wading or nets to catch the rafts.
Medals or certificates for aspects other than winning, like team work and creativity, reward different skill sets.
Be vigalent at all times around water and never race after a storm or when the river is running to fast to safely enter.
Identification DIY flags or nature are a fun way to decorate the rafts.
Remember the heaviest side will end up face down so weight your raft wisely to float upright. We used sand and gravel.
In celebration of 50 years of landing on the Moon we have 2 great books to giveaway for kids with an interest in space travel and the history of how we went to the moon. From the nonfiction experts at Quarto Kids enjoy “When we walked on the Moon” and “The Race to Space”. Both books Look back at the events of 50 years ago but from a very different perspective. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win both.
When we walked on the Moon
You know a book is going to grab your attention when it starts like this:
“More than 5,000 rockets have been blasted into space, but only twelve people have ever been lucky enough to walk on the Moon and look up at Earth.”
When we walked on the Moon is full of amazing facts and attention grabbing sentences like this all the way through. It shares all six manned moon landings focusing on the experience of the astronauts. Discover the heroic triumphs and perilous dangers which they had to overcome in language kids can relate to supported by modern illustrations on every page.
The Race to Space
In the Race to Space the reader gains a real insight into the politics behind landing on the moon. Discover the inter country rivalry and cooperation needed to make the most famous missions come to fruition. Focusing on the efforts of the two superpowers this book will give you the politics, science and human impact of travelling into space with a handy timeline recap at the end. This book is a must for any space enthusiast that wants to understand the full social science behind the big space missions. Child friendly language and compelling illustrations make a difficult topic understandable.
I was sent our copies of the books for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Coombe Mill guests can enjoy our dark skies and a copy of the books from our games room library.
So the summer holidays are well underway and we are excited to be full of families enjoying the best of farm life and Cornish attractions. Do take a minute to check out what we’ve been up to during July and see the Cornish events we think you’ll like during August 2019.
Last Minute Availability
We still have a couple of spaces on 17th and 24th August. If you have yet to sort anything this summer and perhaps only have a few days available, get in contact and we’ll see if we can sort something out for a short break. Full weeks are still directly bookable online.
If you are not tied to the school holidays, September is a lovely time to visit. The prices come down and you can book any 3 nights upwards to suit your family.
A heat wave for Cornwall.
We have been enjoying some amazing summer weather this year with long sunny days and real warmth in the sun. Our guests have been relishing the lovely weather and taking advantage of the beautiful Cornish beaches. The little train track on the other hand has been less happy and the expansion joints failed in the heat. Thankfully Farmer Nick is a bit of a DIY superstar and came up with a new engineering solution that he had implemented and running within the day so that no one missed their evening train ride.
Everyone loves a good wedding
Remember Farmer Amber? We’ve always stayed in touch since she moved on last summer and were thrilled to be invited to her wedding in July. Right in the middle of the Cornish heat wave it was a very happy day. We attended in shifts whilst simultaneously managing changeover here at Coombe Mill. Amber and Mo certainly had a fairytale start to what we hope will be a long and happy married life together.
Roar; it’s a Dinosaur!
Activity hour was based around a dinosaur theme for July. We had great fun making medals, painting models and completing a dinosaur trail that finished with finding dinosaurs set in ice that the children had to chisel out. If you are with us for August, don’t forget to sign up in reception. We will be looking at raft races and piñata making.
On the Farm
No news is Good news in summer
July is a quiet month on the farm. The animals have all been chilling out and basking in the summer sun. However, despite the lush pastures down here in the valley they are still happy to come and meet the children from the tractor each morning on the feed run.
The most notable activity of the month was watching the alpaca shearing. Our shearer covers the whole of the UK and Northern France. We have to wait our turn and typically the poor alpaca endured the first round of summer heat with their winter coats still in place. Finally their date arrived and Colin, with his usual swift and competent handling, had Toffee and Caramel looking super smart and lightweight in no time. The difference in their appearance is amazing, as is the way Colin takes time to explain to the children what he is going to do so they understand and are not afraid.
Our Polish Banthams from May have been rehomed locally and we have Mummy Hen and her newborns now occupying their fully enclosed home. Mother and all 8 chicks are thriving in the beautiful summer sun and becomming very accustomed to a daily cuddle.
Cornish Events August 2019 local to Coombe Mill
If you are feeling inspired to visit us in August, here are a few of the local activities you might want to plan your visit around.
Our friends at orchard toys have a super new game out this season we think you’ll love. Let’s Go Lotto explores 4 different forms of transport for young enthusiasts. Choose the train, boat, bus or plane, fill it with passengers and grab a ticket and you’ll be off. As always Orchard Toys bring the perfect balance of education and fun to their latest game which is perfect for 2 – 5 years. To discover more about Let’s Go Lotto and for your chance to win a game for your kids just read on.
The Rules for Let’s Go Lotto
Memory game meets Lotto in this fun travel game. Here’s how to play:
Piece together your chosen mode of transport, there is bus, boat, plane and train to choose from.
Place passenger and ticket cards face down on the table.
Take turns to turn over a square passenger card and see if it matches a passenger on your board.
If it is a match place it on your board, if not place it back face down on the table.
When your passengers are all on board, choose a ticket. The first to match their ticket with their full bus, train, plane or boat is the winner and ready to set off on their journey.
Educational Benefits we Love
Develops matching and memory skills
Encourages observational skills
Supports personal and social skills
Playing Let’s Go Lotto
Why not hop over to the Orchard Toys page for Let’s Go Lotto where you can watch their video of the game, download the rules and this fun to colour picture.
Need to Know
4 jigged transport boards
20 passenger cards
4 ticket cards
1 instruction leaflet
2 – 4
2 – 5
80% recycled materials
Wipe with a damp cloth
Produced and stocked by
Win your Let’s Go Lotto Game from Orchard Toys with Coombe Mill
For your chance to win this educational lotto game simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
It must have been the hottest few weeks of the summer and I was worried everyone would stay on the beach rather than return to the farm to join me for a dinosaur dig led activity hour. I should have more faith, as 4pm approached each week I heard the cars driving back and the children rushing along the footpath to join me. Dinosaurs had sparked their imaginations and they were keen to find out what we would be doing.
The book gave the children inspiration for how to colour in my pre-cut dinosaurs. These came from a lovely activity book by Orchard Toys, traced onto cereal boxes. The children took their time creating their own bespoke dinosaur design before choosing a ribbon colour and hanging them around their necks. Older children cut out the dinosaur shapes themselves.
Painting Dinosaur Models
From previous craft activities, I knew how solid flour and water sets as a paste. This gave me the inspiration to experiment with a stiff flour and water mix in some dinosaur biscuit cutters. I made them in advance leaving them to set overnight, however in the morning they were still quite pliable. Figurring that they just need to dry out more, I popped them in the oven at a low heat turning them every 10 minutes. Within half an hour they were set solid and I left them to cool before taking them along for our craft sessions.
The children had great fun painting them in their own choice of colours and designs into some truly unique stegosauruses and friends.
We left our model dinosaurs drying in the afternoon sun while we headed off on a dinosaur trail to find the dinosaur dig.
The children had to find the different dinosaurs from the Orchard Toys book I’d printed and stuck up along the trail. They had no trouble spotting them and showing me which way they were facing and therefore which way our trail would take us. Each picture had the dinosaurs name, together with the phonetic spelling, which the children attempted at each stop.
The final clue led us to the dinosaur dig. Hiding by the river were blocks of ice with dinosaurs cunningly encased inside. The children soon worked out they would need either a large stone to bash the ice and free their dinosaur from its ice age casing. It makes a creative learning activity and a change from hidding the dinasaurs in the sand pit which I’ve done in the past.
Collecting the children together for a photo by the river with their dinosur dig finds was a callenge. There is always someone looking the worng way, but that’s real life!
I collected the dinosaur clues up on our way back. A few of the children stayed behind to colour in their favourites that matched their model dinosaurs.
How to create your dinosaur Dig at home
Buy an inexpensive pack of plastic dinosaurs.
Pop each dinosaur in a tub of water. I recycled supermarket cartons from veg like mushrooms.
Place the tubs in the freezer to set overnight.
Print off some dinosaur pictures and set them out to make a trail.
Turn out the dinosaurs in ice ( you may need to run them under a warm tap to loosen them).
Place the dinosaur dig ice packs at the last clue.
Let the kids loose on the trail.
The children really enjoyed their dinosaur afternoon each week and would quite happily have carried on making more things. All except one girl that is, who declared she preferred unicorns to dinosaurs. My mind is already working ahead now on a unicorn version!
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.