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.
Joining in with Country Kids
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“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.