Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"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.
I do enjoy the school holidays with an older group of children keen to embark on an adventure. It is a chance for me to indulge in some of the childhood fun I enjoyed with my own children. I had been toying with making teepees’ for a while. With just the right place in mind and the perfect age group signed up to activity hour, I seized the opportunity.
Welly Walk Challenge
The Welly Walk was my chosen campsite. It is accessed across the farm so I set the children up with a fun activity sheet for the journey and had all the things we needed already down there.
How to Make a DIY Teepee
Having collected a duvet cover, 3 bamboo canes and some farm bailer twine the kids set to work creating their own bespoke Teepee. I showed them a photo and recommended style and then sat back to watch them create.
Spray painting DIY Teepee Designs
It wasn’t long before the teepees were taking shape. I opened up a bag of watered down poster paint in old window cleaner bottles and invited the children to spray paint their own personalised designs on the covers. It was such a lovely activity, the paint easily washed off clothes and skin and there was nothing to spoil or worry about. We even had a handy babbling stream next to us to rinse hands.
The final touch was stapling a square of material around a stick for a camp flag.
The kids were thrilled with the finished results and piled into their camps. It was lovely to see how much the parents enjoyed it all too.
While we were busy building our DIY teepees Guy had been making a fire pit campfire for us. The children wasted no time crowding round to take a marshmallow or lump of cookie dough to toast. There were some hungry children after all that creative camp building happy to indulge.
the benefit of my chosen location was in any spare minute not only was there the stream to splash around in but also the Coombe Mill rope swing to enjoy.
No wonder I ended up heading home and leaving families enjoying the afternoon at their newly made camps.
Tips for Making your own DIY Teepee with Children
Provide the basic equipment but leave then enough scope to make it themselves, or help make it depending on age
Outdoors is perfect for spray painting and pushing bamboo into the ground, but an indoor version could be handy on a wet day.
Campfire is optional but a lovely way to support the outdoor living idea. Make sure any fire is well supervised; hair hanging over the fire is a real hazard.
If you are planning a spot at distance prepare well so you are not running back and forth. Here is my check list:
For DIY Teepee Making:
Scissors, stapler, duvet, bailer twine (string is just as good) DIY spray paint, bamboo canes or long sticks (3 per teepee)
And for the campfire:
Fire pit stones, sticks, firelighters, matches, marshmallows, cookie dough or other things to cook.
I’ll take a bet that you can visualise a Van Gogh painting, but who really knows the story behind the artist? The same is true for Mexican born Frida Kahlo. Both made such an impact on the world of art yet less is understood about the incredible personal stories that inspired their work. Read on to discover more about the artists behind the masterpieces and for your chance to win a copy of both books. This is one for young budding history of art enthusiasts.
Portrait of an artist: Vincent Van Gogh
The story behind Vincent Van Gogh is told in a child friendly manner, despite the difficult areas of his mental health and cutting of his ear. Reading the book with its beautiful illustrations, you gain an insight into a troubled mind in a sensitive and caring way. Through this insight come the amazing paintings we remember him by to this day. Both books make a perfect introduction to the history of art, suitable for age 7+.
Portrait of an artist: Frida Kahlo
Frida was born in Mexico. She ended up travelling through her work and marriage, but Mexico held her heart and inspired her now famous paintings. Frida spoke out for individuality, the need for women to be taken seriously in art, and became a real inspirational woman of her era. Her story will inspire young girls the world over to achieve their goals in life.
We were sent our copies of these educational books for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and options expressed are my own. Our copy of the books can be found in the Coombe Mill book library for guests to enjoy.
How is it September already? A new term is about to start for those of us with school age children and autumn is beginning to show its hand. I’m always sad to see summer slipping away but equally excited for the beauty of Coombe Mill in autumnal shades. We have plenty of exciting news from August to fill you in on as well as offers going forwards and our pick of Cornish events coming up for September. Do take a minute to have a read:
October Half Term
It looks like week commencing 26th October will be the big one here this year taking in all our Halloween fun. We are almost full for this week so be quick if you were thinking of joining us. If on the other hand you are lucky enough to have the week before as your half term, we’ve just adjusted the price down so pop over and have a look.
Lower Prices for New Year
We have some new lower rates and flexible booking dates for the New Year period. If you fancy a little escape after the rush of all the family at Christmas why not think about chilling with us down on the farm. Or go the whole way and come for Christmas too. We make it so much fun for the children it really takes the pressure off parents to just chill and enjoy the whole festive period.
Get ahead for next summer
We are holding the prices from this year forward to next summer. Jump on board and book your favourite week and property now and give the family something to look forward to.
A holiday for us too
We managed a week away ourselves in August splitting our kids between coming with us and managing the farm. They were helped by my niece and her family. Huge thanks to the team who kept things running beautifully for us, we are just back and full of renewed energy and enthusiasm for the autumn season.
We have had a real mix of activities tailored to the age group each week. From woodland fairies to kite making, raft racing, teepees and campfires, the children have loved their afternoons of creativity here.
On the Farm
The fishing enthusiasts of Coombe Mill told us the brambles were being troublesome along the bank of the pond. We always like to deal with any issues as quickly as possible and Farmer Nick has been digging out a bramble free section, backfilling with chippings to make the perfect fishing spot. It has been well received by all and perfect for Guy who teaches the children here to fish on request.
Plenty of autumn logs
Ash die back has come over to our country from continental Europe. Sadly, just as the name suggests, it is killing the ash trees in our country from the ends of the leaves back to the trunk. We have been hit very badly in Cornwall and especially here at Coombe Mill where ash is widespread in our wooded valley. For safety reasons Farmer Nick and our boys have been cutting down the dying trees in public places before they caused a danger to anyone by falling. On the plus side there is going to be plenty of logs to fuel the woodburners in our cottages and lodges for the winter season and some fun additions to the fairy garden too.
August is the calm before the storm. All the animals have been soaking up the sun and enjoying the last of the rich summer grazing. It is the month for putting on weight and fattening themselves up ahead of autumn – the season of love! Our Billy goat gruff is already beginning to smell of strong goat’s cheese and keen to be let in to woo his lady friends.
Lappa Valley (steam trains for kids) Grandparents Day
Grandparent goes free with full paying child
Nb: I have not been paid or sponsored to mention these places, they are just the Cornish events September for 2019 that I feel would be of interest to Coombe Mill Guests.
I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful summer and made the most of the holidays. Best wishes to all those going into a new school, class or preschool this term. I hope to see some of you here on the farm soon.
Raft racing isn’t a new concept to us on the farm. It has been a popular activity hour for years. Typically we run a junk modelling version around Easter and a Nature Raft Race in August. Having missed the Easter slot this year with other Easter crafts, I wanted to resurrect the activity. With 15 children signed up, and a terrible forecast of rain, it felt like the right week.
I spent the week collecting and washing up all the bottles from the Coombe Mill recycling centres and added to this a pile of sticky tape from the £1 shop.
Junk Model Raft Building in the Games Room
Having set the bottles and tape up in the games room the children all crowded round to start building and creating. Before long the games room was a hive of creative chatter as bottles clinked and tape ripped.
A splash of colour.
When the basic models had been created the children brought them outside to add paint. I had filled a collection of empty cleaning spray bottles with a watered down paint mix. These were perfect for squirting the inside of the clear bottles to bring colour without mess. The children could still hold the outside and with the lids replaced the river wouldn’t wash the colour away.
A little technical help
I gave a few tips on buoyancy and the need to weight rafts. The children graped this at once and braved the rain in search of sand and gravel to weight their rafts, and a few decorative bits for effect.
Ready to Race
Finally we set off for our launch bridge. Despite the pouring rain the children stood for a photo with their rafts of the steps
Then they all lined up waiting for “Ready steady Go” before dropping them into the water.
The rain after weeks of dry was just what was needed to give the rafts a bit of speed in the water. I had Guy waiting to wade downstream after them and ensure none were grounded or caught up in the banks along the way.
Everyone’s a Winner
Farmer Nick was on hand with fishing nets to catch the rafts and declare the winners for me. I had certificates ready laminated not just for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the race but also for team work, best technical raft and most creative. This ensured a good spread of success for all.
It was certainly a soggy affair, but everyone enjoyed our junk model raft race and it was a wonderful way to enjoy a little outdoor fun on a wet afternoon.
Tips for creating your own Junk Model Raft Race
Save up all your plastic bottles including the lids.
Keep back a few empty spray bottles for the paint. Water the paint 50 /50 with water so it sprays through the bottle. Use clear bottles like window cleaner so the colour is obvious.
The pound shops do some great £1 coloured sticky tape that is easy to share out a roll per team.
A great activity on a local river but make sure you have a safe place for wading or nets to catch the rafts.
Medals or certificates for aspects other than winning, like team work and creativity, reward different skill sets.
Be vigalent at all times around water and never race after a storm or when the river is running to fast to safely enter.
Identification DIY flags or nature are a fun way to decorate the rafts.
Remember the heaviest side will end up face down so weight your raft wisely to float upright. We used sand and gravel.
In celebration of 50 years of landing on the Moon we have 2 great books to giveaway for kids with an interest in space travel and the history of how we went to the moon. From the nonfiction experts at Quarto Kids enjoy “When we walked on the Moon” and “The Race to Space”. Both books Look back at the events of 50 years ago but from a very different perspective. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win both.
When we walked on the Moon
You know a book is going to grab your attention when it starts like this:
“More than 5,000 rockets have been blasted into space, but only twelve people have ever been lucky enough to walk on the Moon and look up at Earth.”
When we walked on the Moon is full of amazing facts and attention grabbing sentences like this all the way through. It shares all six manned moon landings focusing on the experience of the astronauts. Discover the heroic triumphs and perilous dangers which they had to overcome in language kids can relate to supported by modern illustrations on every page.
The Race to Space
In the Race to Space the reader gains a real insight into the politics behind landing on the moon. Discover the inter country rivalry and cooperation needed to make the most famous missions come to fruition. Focusing on the efforts of the two superpowers this book will give you the politics, science and human impact of travelling into space with a handy timeline recap at the end. This book is a must for any space enthusiast that wants to understand the full social science behind the big space missions. Child friendly language and compelling illustrations make a difficult topic understandable.
I was sent our copies of the books for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Coombe Mill guests can enjoy our dark skies and a copy of the books from our games room library.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.