Fans of Transformers will know the last DVD ended on a nail biting cliff hanger with the monstrous war on earth between the Autobots and Decepticons. A heroic Optimus Prime sacrificed his own safety to ensure the escape of his army, but the Autobot base has been thrown into ruin, with its inhabitants forced into hiding as the Decepticons begin to take control of their new fortress; Darkmount. This new DVD takes the adventure in to a new dimension where following years of isolation on Cybertron, Shockwave arrives on earth in an attempt to hunt down the remaining Autobots who have been scattered across the globe and establish an overarching Deception dominion. Now the only chance of survival is for the Autobots and humans to work together to defeat a common foe, protect their homelands and overthrow Megatron’s tyrannous regime once and for all. While their future hangs in the balance, our protectors have yet to determine if their fearless leader Optimus Prime managed to survive the blast!
Don’t miss this gripping game-changing season opener, Transformers Prime: Beast hunters – The Battle for Darkmount is out on DVD now. Grab your copy and let the kids enjoy being transported into the action with their imaginations flowing and willing Optimus Prime to save the day.
We have a copy of Beast Hunters Battle for Darkmount free to borrow here at Coombe Mill. What could be better after a day of fun on the farm, making dams in the stream, swimming the river and den building to create Darkmount than to relax back in your cottage or lodge watching this DVD and reliving the action while dinner cooks. Revived and energized there is a new day waiting to do it all over again!
Hasbro Studios have brought out a limited range of promotional Transformer toys to accompany the DVD. These toys are a great way to develop imagination in children as they role play the DVD story embellishing it with their own ideas through these figurines. The toys are adult palm sized for age 5+ and require a level of dexterity to create the Transformer changes.
The special promotional toys are not available to buy in the shops however we have teamed up with Hasbro Studios to offer one of Bumblebee, Optimus Prime or Starscream to five lucky winners here on the blog. For your chance to be a winner of these special promotional Transformer toys follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
I was given my copy of the Transformers Beast Hunters DVD which is in the Coombe Mill collection for our guess to watch.
Back in January I shared my plans to create a wildlife trail here at Coombe Mill. I had bought the animals for the trail and had in my mind to develop a fun map giving guided clues. Turning the idea from a plan into a usable trail turned out to be a more involved project than I had anticipated but the finished results have exceeded my expectations and it has passed the ultimate test in that I see new guests out following the trail every week.
The first obstacle was creating a map which looked fun but was also detailed and usable enough to follow. By using Google maps as a template for scale and perspective we simplified the detail and made it colourful and eye-catching. It soon became apparent that the fields required names, however many of the animals rotated fields during the year so stating “walk through the sheep field” could be leading the user on the ultimate wild goose chase! The only answer was to label the fields with memorable and permanent names and have Farmer Nick carve and fix the plaques on the gates.
With the fields marked up we created our route which lasts just over a kilometre, this is an ideal length for young children and a good challenge for toddlers. Securing the wildlife into place became the next challenge, we used some special expanding wood and resin glue which I had my doubts about but Nick looked confident it would work. On the face of it Nick was right, but it didn’t take much, in fact a quick cuddle of our wooden rabbit on a test run with The Boy and Me revealed the glue was never going to do the job. The next day Nick decided to use stronger glue only to find the rabbit had actually been stolen, with no trace of it anywhere. This was a real shock and having bought a new rabbit Nick took the job more seriously and, drilled, screwed and nailed everything into place. Nothing was going to be moving now!
Meanwhile Amber and I in the office were working to perfect the trail sheets and create the clues that would lead explorers around our trail introducing the 14 animals. We did plenty of trial runs on my triplets to see if the clues were too difficult to understand before designing the sheet and presenting it in a fun way with footsteps and colourful bubbles.
On the reverse we printed our newly designed map with fresh field names and tick boxes for each animal found.
Then the problem dawned for our hopeful trail users of how to make the sheets of paper more substantial for carrying round the farm. I’d always wanted a laminator and this seemed the perfect time to buy one. With the new laminator we were able to print the map and bubble clues back to back, laminate them for strength and durability and place a few in reception in a DIY stand ready to be used, returned and reused.
There is also an audio guide to the wildlife trail on the Coombe Mill website which can be downloaded and replayed on a smart phone along the walk instead of the laminate cards.
Finally we added specially designed signs to reassure trail walkers of the route. These are located at all major decision making points with helpful guiding arrows, another use for the new laminator together with a borrow of Farmer Nick’s trusty staple gun.
The finished Wildlife trail has all come such a long way from my initial ideas and taken a huge amount of effort to make it feel truly usable and fun, but when I see family groups out on the farm chatting over their laminated clues I know it has all been worth it.
The wildlife trail is just one part of the Wild Adventures activities here on the farm. this is a growing area for Coombe Mill and I have plenty more ideas still to come such as a mud kitchen, nature music area, barefoot walk, pond dipping platform and a bug hotel. I hope to be back to share at least one of these here on the blog this summer.
The triplets came home from school camp to catch up with their two pet goats Rocky and Sprout. We are hoping they will become good friends and look out for each other when they are both in the field as neither of them have a mother. My three look determined to make the two kid goats as close as they are themselves.
Every week for activity hour I try to tailor the things we do to the average age range of the children, it is not always easy but somehow we manage. Raft racing has become a bit of a tradition with the guests staying this week, in fact I think it now extends into its 7th year of Coombe Mill bridge to bridge challenges. There were a few new guests this week for which this was totally new and this is the first year we have formalised the event within activity hour.
Guy and I went hunting in the deer field and woods for suitable sticks to use and I had spent all week collecting all manner of plastic containers and bottles. This together with bailer twine from Nick’s shed and some heavy duty duck tape, colouring pens and paper all descended in the ping pong tent ready for our raft builders to assemble.
I did a blue Peter “one I made earlier” which I tested in the river just to check it would float!
Happy with the result I was on hand for the hour to help some of the younger children struggling to design and build their raft foundations. The tent had a frenzied buss to it and children and adults bound, twined, taped and tested their ships to perfection spilling out into the car park and grass beyond.
By the time the last fastening were in place and sails raised it was all I could do to hold the children back, they were so excited to start the race. I did just manage to group them all for a team photo before they climbed up the bridge ready to launch their master pieces.
With no cheating everyone released their boats on my countdown and the race began to wild shouts and cheers. Guy and Jed waded into the river for me to free up any ships that ran aground in the reeds or became wedged behind boulders and ensured everyone’s boat was in with a chance.
The children all raced along the river bank shouting excitedly for their boats and gathered at Coombe Bridge to see who would be first to cross the line.
By the time all the boats were safely through I think there were more children in the river than on the river bank, all gasping and screaming at the chill of the water but running in for more!
Having rescued all the boats I set about clearing up the tent while many of the children stayed to play on the rope swings, their bodies slowly adjusting to the temperature of the water.
The races made a perfect end to a week of fun and friendship here on the farm, even the train was running late as my drivers like everyone else were wet through! It was so much fun we ran the same event the following week. My children were back at school but joined us on their return to help out save rafts. Guy of course stole the show making everyone gasp as he jumped off the bridge in full school uniform to save the rafts. I was very grateful as it saved me from a welly load of river water.
If you have been enjoying some fresh air and fun outdoors please come and join me. All out door activities are welcome from crafts, to learning, playing and exploring. Nature has so much to give if children have the imagination to enjoy it. Please do grab the badge and check out some of the other posts here. It might just be the inspiration for your next outing.
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A few of my favourites from last week:
Ruggles Leisure spent Easter here at Coombe Mill and tell of the wonderful week they enjoyed here on the farm.
One Blue One Pink also made the most of a lovely week in Cornwall getting out and about to see many of the local attractions
Keitha's Chaos had a wonderful home 9th birthday party with plenty of outdoor fun and games
Happy Homebird ventured off into the land of Narnia in shropshire for some wilderness and imaginative fun.
A spot of geography in this world map craft play from Adventures of Adam
Mumm and More showed how to play a tune at a National Trust day out.
In the modern age of programming in the Sat Nav and following the “turn left, turn right” instructions, we don’t always appreciate the old skills of map reading. For me opening a map is like reading a paperback book, it doesn’t suffer from breakdowns or technical hitches and there is something tactile and tangible that I really enjoy. I will admit I favor the Sat Nav for long journeys through busy cities but for afternoon drives, country walks or bike rides locally being able to ponder over a map and see the coastline, gradient and points of interest all marked out comes into its own. Maps can really help to plan an outdoor adventure and teach children some great skills.
Ordnance Survey have just undergone a redesign and included in this is a wonderful new concept of maps made to measure in the area of your choice with your very own cover design. You choose the central point and send in a high quality photo and they do the rest. Base your map on a favourite holiday destination or your local area. Priced from just £16.99 and despatched within 2 working days I think they would make a wonderful bespoke Father’s Day gift or a super birthday present to anyone who enjoys an outdoor adventure from kids to grandparents. It is such a clever idea to make these personalised, I’m really taken with the concept.
We have our very own Custom Made Map here at Coombe Mill centred on the farm with our choice of photo, there were so many I could have picked but settled on this one capturing our daily train ride with our holiday guests.
The Maps are based on 1:25 000 including detail needed for walking and cycling. Our Map extends from the coast including details of how to reach the beautiful Secret beach at Tregardock and all along the Camel Trail to Wadebridge as well as up into Bodmin Moor covering the Rocky outcrops of Brown Willy and Rough Tor. You can pick up our copy from Reception to borrow for the day here on holiday.
Guy and Jed took our map with them on their Coast to Coast scout expedition to plot their journey and really enjoyed searching for landmarks they recognised as they passed near Coombe Mill.
We have also used it for walking and cycling trips from here taking advantage of the footpaths, bridleways and points of interest through Coombe Mill up to the village and across the moor. It is such a handy scale I’m tempted to buy another.
For your chance to win yourself, a friend or family member one of these useful maps just follow the instructions below. We have two to giveaway to the first two entries drawn so start thinking of a photo and an area and enter here, best of luck to all taking part.
Disclosure: I was sent my copy of a customer made map to review and to set up this giveaway, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.