Posted on August 4th, 2017 - Fiona
With a summer that has been characterised by sun and rain the bugs and insects are rife here on the farm. Rather than say “ew”, we have been embracing them and making them part of our activity hour studies and crafts. We had so much fun a few weeks ago despite a very damp day I decided to revisit the world of the minibeast on a sunny afternoon with frogs and some new crafts.
A Giant Minibeast Board Game
The make-believe bug pair’s game of last time was a big success so I built on the idea for this week with a giant minibeast game that the children helped to create. I had a worm board and a dice with some challenge cards and squares set out and the children added the rest.
They made coloured counters from milk bottle tops with fingerprint minibeasts on the top and decorated the playing board with lots of little creepy crawlies in fun colours.
When they were all finished we played a game. It was great fun with everyone joining in the challenge questions like “Leap like a frog” and “sing Incy wincey spider” to move up 3 places.
The game provided the perfect mix of jumping around and concentrating on counting on places together with painting fun. I’ll definitely be looking at DIY games more in the future but for now my discerning little ones had spotted my pebbles waiting to be painted.
Painting Bug pebbles
I collected and painted white a selection of bug shaped pebbles from a family beach trip the day before and the children couldn’t wait to get turning them into bees, ladybirds and centipedes like the ones in our fairy gardens.
Off on a minibeast hunt
Once everyone was cleaned up we left our pebble bugs to dry in the sun and headed out with magnifying glasses to find some real bugs down in the fairy gardens. Farmer Nick’s carved fairy toadstools always reveal a wealth of little beasties scurrying to and fro and the children were thrilled with crowing round to identify them all. We saw centipedes, beetles, woodlice and lots of worms. There was even a shiny unidentified bug that had everyone confused and fascinated in equal measure.
We progressed down through the bug hotel peering into pipes and dislodging logs where we saw spider webs and snails but no spiders in residence.
Baby Frogs on the farm paths
From here we headed over to the farm in search of baby frogs. We were rewarded with lots of little jumping frogs that leapt from our hands. The children laughed as it was just as they had practice leaping like a frog in our minibeast game right at the start.
Help the frog catch a fly
Back at our craft table we continued the frog theme with some fly catching frogs that made another great little game for the children to keep. I’m going to follow up with a tutorial on these for #Trash2Treasure as they are such fun and easy to make.
Mini beast crafts have so much millage and so many possibilities; I have a stack in my head I still want to try. They are great for normalising touching and investigating these little beasties in real life for kids.
Posted on July 31st, 2017 - Fiona
For animal lovers everywhere there is a new series of books, from Quarto Kids in association with the Natural History Museum, that lets kids get creative with stickers whilst learning about their favourite animals and their environment. Having looked at previous books with colour in activities, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the new sticker art additions and offer a set out for you to win too.
A take on Colour by Number
Do you remember those colouring books of yesteryear where a picture came to life following the colouring in instructions? They were a love of mine as a child, so much so I turned colour by number into colour by nature on a few of our activity afternoons here on the farm. Matching colours with nature we learned about colour matching and nature.
It seems I’m not the only one remembering colour by nature, Quarto have turned it into sticker by number as a fun way to recreate the wonderful animals of the ocean, savannah, woodland and jungle.
What we thought of the sticker art colour by number books
Each sticker art book has a sticker by number animal to make from stickers in the back of the book. Flip the page over and see the animal you should have made, and then read all about them in a fun few paragraphs of interesting text. The books are educational, fun and good quality; everything we have come to expect from Quarto. At only £5.99 a book they make a great pocket money purchase or birthday present for a classroom friend that any parent would approve of.
Check out our 1 minute video of how to create your sticker by number picture.
Need to know facts
|Books in the Series
||Quarto Kids in association with the National History Museum
||Craig Redman & Karl Maier
|Type of book
||Non Fiction, paperback, activity
||£5.99 per book
Quarto online shop
Win your Sticker art series of 4 books with Quarto and Coombe Mill
For your chance to win all 4 of these lovely sticker art books simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
Natural History Museum Sticker Art Books
We were sent our copies of the books for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on July 29th, 2017 - Fiona
So the school summer holidays are here and we have enjoyed our first full week on the farm. I forget how much the farm dynamic changes as the age range increases over the holiday period. Much as I adore the look of wonder and excitement on the faces of the tiny tots here in term time, there is something equally contagious about the enthusiasm and energy of the older children. The feed runs last that little bit longer as curiosity, stamina and engagement lead to a thousand and one questions for Farmer Nick. It keeps us all on our toes and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This week saw a perfect balance of regular guests and newcomers to the farm. With the regulars leading the way driving the tractor and feeding the animals, it encourages new comers to join in as well. Children learn from one another so much more than from us and without even knowing it they are all mini teachers. By the end of the week everyone is on a level playing field in animal knowledge and confidence, friendships have been forged and memories made.
For Nick and I the rate of rebooking is the ultimate test of holiday fun. I’m pleased to say the school summer holiday season has made a flying start. Fingers crossed the weather is on our side to make each week as good as this past week.
Farm highlights from the 1st school summer holiday week on the farm
Egg collecting is always a favourite job on the farm.
We have baby chicks at the moment that the children love to hold.
Our trampolining goats are great entertainers.
A deer hunt with Farmer Nick is side tracked as the children embark on their own nature jump challenge.
The bunny house is where friendships are formed.
Posted on July 28th, 2017 - Fiona
Welcome to Country Kids from Coombe Mill
Country Kids is the original outdoor family fun linky designed to:
“Encourage family fun outdoors, in an age where technology and screens are such a draw to a sedentary indoor life”
Welcome back if you are a regular to Country Kids and if you are new please join in. You will find plenty of inspiration for enjoying outdoor space and please do share your own adventures. We support the National Trust 100 things to do before you are 11¾ along with all other ideas for family fun outside.
Summer Holiday Fun
So the summer holidays have begun. If you have children home from school for the holidays I hope you are enjoying some quality family time. We have been out fruit picking this week, making ice cream from the proceeds and enjoying the crazy zip wire at our local fruit farm. Remember the sun is strong if you are out in the middle of the day, cover up with cream and hats and I hope you’ll have a few adventures to share on the link up below.
Guidelines for Joining in:
- Post must be predominantly outdoors such as in the garden, the park, the woods or the beach with crafting, learning, exploring or playing.
- Despite the title, both countryside and urban outdoor adventures are welcome.
- Unheated covered areas like a barn or tent count as outdoors.
- Please comment on my host post and a minimum of 3 others of your choice.
- If you use #CountryKids when commenting the post owner will know where your found them and hopefully come back to visit your post.
- Please take my badge, without it you won’t be considered for winning the lovely Rockfish Wellies.
- Linked posts should be written and made live within the last 2 months.
- I understand sometimes you need to do catch up posts and write about something from a couple of months ago but the publish date should be within 2 months.
- By joining in with Country Kids you’re giving me permission to email you weekly as a reminder.
- There is no restriction on the number of posts that can be linked up, however please be sensible, if you have more than 3 consider linking over a few weeks.
My top commenters from last week:
- Emma from Crazy with Twins who commented on 16 posts.
- Sara from Mum Turned Mom who commented on 15 posts.
- Michelle from Mummy from the Heart who commented on 9 posts.
We have no bloggers link dumping this week, although do remember I comment count on Thursday after lunch so get your comments in before then if you want them to be counted.
A massive welcome to Rachel from The Little Pip and Escape With The Family, who joined in for the first time this week!
Rockfish kindly sponsor Country Kids
Win a pair of wellies from Rockfish Monthly
I am delighted to have Rockfish as the sponsor for Country Kids. Rockfish are a local Cornish company specializing in stylish quality wellingtons for all the family. We have been offering their country wellies in our borrow room here on the farm for over a year and they are always popular for their style, comfort and durability.
Each week my favourite #CountryKids posts, which include my badge or a link back here, will be considered for a free pair of Rockfish Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. Keep your posts coming, it could be you winning next!
For more more information on the Rockfish Wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here.
Favourite posts from last week added to the shortlist for winning the July Rockfish Wellies:
Top Commenter : Emma from Crazy with Twins
Shadow puppets are a great idea over at Right from the start blog for a creative garden day.
Wave to Mummy shares her favourite beach to visit for a family day out from London.
Country Kids Communities
I’d love you to join me:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too.
Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays’s board Country Kids from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.
Join the growing Country Kids Instagram Community with #CountryKidsFun.
I'll like and comment on all and share my favourites from the week with a tag on a Friday on Instagram and Twitter. With over 5190 posts this community is flourishing with outdoors photos.
My favourite photos from the week came from @catrionamackenzieblog @mrs_hs_fav_things @pamleboutillier and @courtneykickery. Please do check out these lovely folk on Instagram if you are not already following
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Posted on July 28th, 2017 - Fiona
Once a year our quirky alpaca are sheared. We have one of the few expert shearers in England come to us and he is in high demand covering all the country and Europe too. They don’t call him the alpaca whisperer for nothing. He has a way with these funny beasts that will make your heart melt. While Farmer Nick risks being spat and kicked, Colin the shearer has them practically kissing him with affection!
Preparing for shearing
We had moved the alpaca from their favoured field down by the river up to the winter chicken enclosure with the usual ‘stand well back and hope with a big stick in hand just in case’ technique. Here they munched happily on hay overnight and most importantly kept their coats nice and dry for the morning.
For the previous 2 mornings Farmer Nick had warned the guests the shearer was coming at 8am and that they would need to be down at his shed bright and early to catch the action. Well an 8am start isn’t everyone’s idea of holiday fun, but surprisingly we had one of the biggest turnouts ever to watch the action. I had to ensure all the pre-farm checks were complete ahead of this as we knew it would run straight into the morning feed run while Nick helped the shearer set up in his shed. Thankfully it was a beautiful morning and it was no hardship being up early.
The alpaca whisperer in action
By 8am Colin was ready for his first alpaca and the guests all assembled to watch. Toffee was out first, except he just sat down in the chicken coop doorway and had to be carried into Nick’s shed!
In no time at all the ’50 shades of Grey’ style restraints had Toffee stretched out and Colin was good to go. He did spend a little time filling our guests in about the restraints and reassuring them it didn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable, this was a comfort to our curious guests. Parents and children alike were mesmerized by Colin’s quick and thorough work.
In just minutes the first coat was off
The legs and head take a little longer but our Alpaca whisperer makes it all look easy. It is a good opportunity for the children to come forward and stroke the alpaca and his trusty assistant clips the hooves then too. There is a little souvenir piece of fleece for everyone.
Toffee went out as he came in, being carried! Caramel is the friendlier of the two and walked in no problem. Our Alpaca whisperer showed his skill on Caramel who really relished the attention. Even the older children came to stroke him just free standing with Colin. I was so mesmerized I managed not to take a photo and am now kicking myself.
Farmer Nick may be some way off becoming an alpaca whisper; however he did successfully move the pair back into the stock trailer and over the river into their summer field next to the rabbits to enjoy the rest of the summer without their heavy coats. This means they are on the morning feed run route and in with a chance of some cornflakes from the children.
What happens to the Fleece
The guests certainly had a tale or two to take home with them and a good chunk of fleece. The rest will go to Kaye, our local crafting friend who makes rugs and these gorgeous mini alpaca to sell at the local craft fairs. This one is our souvenir from last year’s fleece; a remarkable likeness to Caramel don’t you think?
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