Annual Nature Raft Race
It has become a bit of a tradition at Coombe Mill to run a recycling raft race at Easter time and a natural raft race from nature in August. This is the third year for the Nature raft race originally inspired on a summer's day at the farm with The Boy and Me and Mummy Mishaps. Several of the guests with us this year have actually been staying for all three years, hence it has become a bit of a tradition on this week.
I began the afternoon with a quick demonstration of a raft I had made earlier in the day and tested for buoyancy. This gave those who were new an idea of how to go about making their raft. The rules were very clear: if it was found in nature it could be used and if not I confiscated it. I did a quick circuit around the different groups as they began to build taking away baler twine and the like to make sure everyone had to think creatively for a string substitute. Reeds and ivy were perfect and one or the other bound each of the rafts that were made. Most people worked in family groups; it was lovely to see the parents fully involved and really quite competitive over their designs and ideas.
When the allotted half an hour was up we began to make our way upstream to the Coombe Mill footbridge. I have just discovered Periscope and recorded from here on my iPhone
Excitement was building and I had a job to gather all the children together for a photograph ahead of the big launch.
Counting down on previous years with a '3, 2, 1' caused some confusion for the children, so this year we agreed on a 'ready steady go'. There was no cheating at all and the children all found a space over the bridge and waited for the command before releasing their rafts from the top of the bridge into the water.
The excitement was immediate as the children rushed down from the bridge to follow their rafts downstream. There was much shouting and cheering as they raced along the river bank and down to the finish line to wait for the rafts to appear. Thanks to a little help from Guy and @DadneedsDecaf wading through the river behind the rafts every one of them survived the journey to be cheered under the finishing bridge.
By this stage there were many more children and grownups venturing into the river, from paddling to body boarding, re-racing rafts to just daring each other to take a dip. I love to see people taking advantage of nature's playground here at Coombe Mill.
Guy treated us to one of his famous jumps from the bridge.
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A few of my favourites from last week:
I love this version of a pondoscope from Baby Routes, such a fun and easy way to study pond life.
Plenty of frolicking around in the countryside for Jack's Paper Moon and a trip down memory lane with older kids for ClaireJustine and a nature immersion from Growing Family
A fascinating insight into the ghost towns of Salisbury Plain now used by the military from A Family Day Out.
Camp Bestival looks such fun for families, Chelsea Mamma always manages an interesting angle on the events.
I can see why Storyland is a family favourite day out for Mum Turned Mom.