I do like to keep the themes fresh and the ideas moving forward on our farm activity hour. This week we had a predominance of girls staying with us and a wide age range, with a couple of families who were allowed holiday leave from school. It can be challenging to find something that appeals across the age groups but my plans this week suited everyone.
It is a while since we have had an activity hour session using the Coombe Mill Welly Walk. There is a tree at the far end which is home to our rope swing. I was fairly certain no one had ventured down during the week. It was whilst counting lambs on my morning farm checks and glancing down the welly walk that an idea came to me. The tree at the end reminded me of one of my favourite childhood books, The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. Suddenly I could picture fairies, tree people and adventure all around. I had Farmer Nick slice up a branch into sections for us to make fairy doors. The children decorated their doors with paint and pens, adding their own interpretations on the classic story. I was surprised to find that one 9 year old had even read the book; it is lovely to think that this story is still going strong, generations after it was written. With doors painted, we created magic pebbles to lie around the base of the tree and loaded them all onto trays.
Handing out welly walk sheets we set off to complete the challenges. There were leaves to identify, waterfalls to find, fords to leap over and gates to open without allowing any sheep to escape! The children had no problem spotting the signs showing them which way to go. It was really rather pretty with the bracken and bluebells all fighting for space along the banks; parents were shocked that they had not discovered this area of the farm all week.
Our bamboo tunnel captured their imagination as they all ran through.
On the other side of the tunnel, in a clearing, stood the Magic Faraway Tree. We added our fairy doors to the trunk and laid the pebbles around the base.
Each child then took a ball of clay to make a tree face, embellishing the facial features with nature.
There were some great designs and the finished effect was quite impressive with the tree folk and fairy doors up the tree trunk. It was time to embrace The Magic Faraway Tree and share in its fun with a turn on the rope swing. It was safe to say that this was a huge hit from youngest to oldest.
It felt a shame to break the fun and take everyone back for the train. As all my own children were away on various adventures from Scouts to Ballet with Farmer Nick, it was me running the train. We did an extra lap for good luck before rounding off the evening on the pirate ship.
I think there were tired children going to bed that night; each with their own dreams of The Magic Faraway Tree.
“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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