Annual Nature Raft Race 2017

Posted on August 25th, 2017

There are so many of my activities with the children that vary from week to week, but a few are steeped in tradition and fixed to certain weeks of the year. The Nature raft Race is one such event created years ago with The Boy and Me who has stayed with us on the same summer week for years. Thanks to quite a bit of rain this summer and the river running higher than usual I suspected that, apart from my own children, we wouldn’t have too many in the river at the end this year. However I had another surprise up my sleeve to make the afternoon fun and memorable for everyone.

What is a Nature Raft Race?

The idea is to build a mini raft entirely from nature and then have a race from one bridge to the next. It is rather like a giant game of pooh sticks but with plenty of care and competition in the raft building process too.  

Our first job once the rules were clear and my example raft shown, was to go off on a nature hunt to gather the resources. Family, friendship and individual teams all ventured off in search of the perfect materials.


Hunting for nature to build a raft

Building nature rafts

There was a buzz of excitement as the teams set to work designing, building and creating. Welding joints using just grass and bendy branches isn’t easy, but patients paid off and each team had their own unique raft coming together.


Making nature rafts for a raft race on the river Camel


Raft business can be hungry work so I had a fresh batch of marshmallow cakes on hand for everyone to dip into. This certainly spurred on little helpers.


Cake eating at the 2017 nature raft race at Coombe Mill

Finished family team nature raft 

Annual Nature Raft Race 2017

My secret surprise

Finally each team added their decorative and technical final touches while Amber and I, as judges, filled out certificates. We had a little awards ceremony with everything from most creative raft to best teamwork covered and the children were thrilled with their certificates.


Awards for raft building

Ready to Race

Carefully the teams made their way to the starting line stopping for a quick photo before taking their positions on the bridge.


Ready for the 2017 Nature Raft Race at Coombe Mill


Like pros the race began with no false start and no cheating. Instantly excitement flooded the air as the children raced down the river bank to see who would be the winner.


Starting bridge for the Nature Raft Race at Coombe Mill


All credit goes to Jed and Clio, two of my teens who waded down the river after the rafts to ensure none were caught on rocks and lost to the river fairies!  


Following rafts through the water


Watching the first rafts over the winning line is like standing on the finishing line at the races. There was much shouting and cheering.


Winning rafts

To complete our nature raft race we had held back 4 certificates to honour the winning rafts. It was all done in great sporting fun and enjoyed by all.

Winners in the Nature Raft Race


If you have a local park with a river this could be a great activity to do there. It can be quite impromptu using just the nature around you.



Country Kids