Posted on November 2nd, 2018 - Fiona
I’m on a bit of a roll with my crafts at the moment. One idea morphs into another and a whole new activity emerges. My latest crafts are all born out of the amazing stickabilty of flour and water. First I used nature on pebbles and then on logs to make a dinosaur log and a Halloween Log. This week I worked on my nature log and came up with a Peg fairy with magic wand and fairy dust.
The first thing we needed was to go off in search of a log, a stick and some autumn nature.
Building a fairy garden
I had some new additions for the fairy garden I was keen to add so the children helped me decide where these should go.
Autumn flower fairies
Anyone remember the flower fairy books from their childhood? They captivated my imagination and stuck in my mind creating the autumn habitat on the logs . We piled on acorns, flowers, leaves and more with flour glue before making the peg fairies.
Magic Fairy wand
Winding some colourful wool around twig made a simple magic wand to add to our log.
Making a Peg Fairy
We pushed two thick leaves through the peg holes to simultaneously create wings and arms. Then the children chose some material for a skirt. Bingo our easy peg fairy was ready.
Magic Fairy Dust
All that was left was to sprinkle some fairy dust. For this I just added a few drops of food colour to sugar. To keep things really natural you could use blackberry juice or any other berry juice instead. The children sprinkled a little dust over their fairy logs placing the bulk in milk bottle tops secured with the flour glue. they were only too happy to pose for a photo with their fairy landscapes.
The children were all quite young and I knew they would need a little help to pull this one off but they managed really well thanks to some great parental support and a concept that captured their imaginations.
Create a Peg Fairy Log and wand at home
This would be a fun and educational activity to recreate from a family woodland walk.
What you’ll Need||
Seasonal nature gathered from a walk to include things like leaves, berries, acorns, conkers, pine cones, twigs, feathers
A small log with one stable side as a base.
A small twig for a wand
Two evergreen leaves with structure for wings and arms
Flour and water paste
sugar and food colour for fairy dust
Colourful wool or ribbon for wand.
A rectangle of material with small cut at the centre for a fairy skirt
The opportunity to explore changes in nature with the seasons
Age 4 – 12|
Posted on October 29th, 2018 - Fiona
The clever folk at Orchard Toys have done it again! They have launched yet another game that is educational fun at pocket money prices. Mum’s and Dad’s will approve of the counting and colour matching practice, while kids will love the fun characters, bright designs and silliness of the giraffes they create as the games is played. Read on to discover more and how you could win your game of Giraffes in Scarves in time for Christmas.
How to play.
The game can be played with 2 to 6 players, the more the merrier. The object is to turn over cards based on the colour you throw on the dice, and build your giraffe from bottom up. Cards add to your giraffe’s neck with one, two or three scarves, but watch out a few trick cards have none. The aim of the game is to collect as many scarves as you can before you turn over your giraffe head. Once you have your head your giraffe can’t grow any further, however you still take a turn to try and find your opponent’s head and stop their giraffe growing too. Once everyone has a head the winner is the player with the most scarves.
What we liked
This game is packed with all the usual Orchard Toys awesomeness. A careful blend of fun and education pitched perfectly for children aged 4 and over. Children will learn turn taking as well as colour matching and basic addition. All the time the learning is gentle and carefully sits alongside the funny giraffes forming before your eyes. The box and cards can all be wiped clean to play over and over again and all for just £7.75.
Need to Know
Age Suitability||4 – 7 years|
|Players||2 – 6|
|Materials||100& recycled board.|
- 24 neck cards
- 6 head cards
- 6 base boards
- 1 colour dice
- 1 instruction leaflet
Reinforces colour matching skills
Promotes turn taking
|Stockists||Orchard Toys on line shop, Amazon |
Win your game of Giraffes in Scarves with Orchard Toys and Coombe Mill
For your chance to win this great game simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
Giraffes in Scarves Game
We were sent our game of Giraffes in Scarves for the purpose of this review, however all opinions expressed here are my own.
Posted on October 27th, 2018 - Fiona
Whether you love it or hate it this week is all about Halloween. We have gone all out for our 2018 Halloween Fun Day this year in October half term. For the first time we have added pumpkin carving. Traditionally we have asked our guests to source and carve their own pumpkins to signal participation in our famous Trick or Treat evening. However this year we are including pumpkin carving in the afternoon crafts. Our first session was last Wednesday, but as half term stretches over 3 weeks this year we will be doing it all again on Halloween itself.
With no exciting pumpkin patches in Cornwall and the need for rather a lot of pumpkins Farmer Nick scoured the internet for good value pumpkins. Morrison’s came up trumps with a discount on bulk bringing us down to around 50 per pumpkin. We laid them out on our craft tables with a collection of knives, scoops and Theo’s great know how. We soon had a hive of activity taking place with little ones designing the funny faces and adults and older children carving.
Pumpkin carving activity table
Light up those Pumpkins
Later in the evening each cottage and lodge lit their pumpkins to guide the way for our organised Trick or Treat Procession. They shone beautifully in the night sky. Many of our younger guests had never experienced pumpkin carving and lighting before and were totally taken in by the magic of the evening.
Lit pumpkin for Trick or Treat
Nutritious Pumpkin Seed Snacks
Nothing is wasted here on the farm. We Have Sally and her 6 piglets who are only too happy to be the recipients of all the pumpkin scooping. However the pigs have to wait until I have saved the seeds. They are create dried out for crafting, or scattered on a baking tray with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled for about 10 minutes till popping and browned. I took a tray out for the guests to snack on whilst carving. In our house I have a storage jar full to add them to snacks and meals for us.
Avocado, crispy bacon and melted cheese on toast with roasted pumpkin seeds & wedges.
If you fancy going Pumpkin crazy with us, we are already taking bookings for next October half term. There is also a ghost train, fancy dress feed run, Trick or treat, games and crafts for all. If you are staying this coming week you have plenty to look forward to.
Posted on October 26th, 2018 - Fiona
Here at Coombe Mill we love to make the most of big occasions in the calendar. Halloween is one of those and each year we have a day dedicated to Halloween activities during the October half term. Traditionally half term and Halloween collided, however over time the two have become separated. Such was the popularity of our Halloween Fun day with guests we began running Halloween in half term, wherever that fell. For the first time this year the country is split for half term. Half the country had half term last week and the other this week. The answer was simple, 2 fun days! These are the highlights from the first, though I will be repeating the fun all over again this coming week on the 31st October so no one misses out.
Itinerary for the day
Forewarned is forearmed as the saying goes. When the guests arrive I hand them an itinerary for the Halloween Fun Day as part of their welcome talk. This way everyone who wants to join in can be fully prepared.
Fancy Dress Feed Run
The day begins with our daily feed run, all spooked up with a decorated trailer and fancy dress. We have a games room packed with fancy dress costumes so there is no need for anyone to splash out beforehand.
The fancy dress really sets the scene and the children love the look of the trailer drawing up at 9am. Each year I buy a few new things and add to the disguise. Even Farmer Nick had a new outfit which lasted the whole feed run. Usually he has abandoned whatever I have given him half way round!
Halloween Spooky farm eggs
Without question, the highlight of the morning for the children was running up to the egg box, peering inside to collect the morning eggs only to discover Cadbury crème eggs in spooky Halloween wrapping! We do this at Easter, but when I saw the Halloween eggs for sale I had to buy the lot for our Halloween fun day!
There is then a break till mid afternoon that allows the guests to go out for a couple of hours, often to get some lunch for everyone ahead of the sweeties of the afternoon. This gives me a chance to de-robe the trailer and kit out the train tunnel for the ghost train later and prepare the crafts.
In the past I have left guests to sort out their own pumpkins, this year I bought a load and invited the guests to come and join me for a session of pumpkin carving. With knives, spoons, a white board marker for designing we set to work. I had Theo as my ‘wing man’ to help anyone who needed it and the results were commendable. The children designed the pumpkin faces while the parents and older children carved them.
As the pumpkins finished the children moved to my craft table. Taking inspiration from the past few weeks of log crafts, we made Halloween logs. This time I added green food colouring to the glue paste for a slime landscape. To this the children added spider webs from card and wool, haunted houses from toilet rolls and monsters from painted rocks with googly eyes. I had a tub with left over bits and bobs that the children used to embellish their decoration.
Halloween Fun Day Games
No Halloween is complete without a few games. We were lucky to make the most of the lovely mild weather and set up Broom racing on the lawn. The children ran in teams to complete the broom races.
We then retreated into the games room for some traditional musical statues to Halloween Party music.
Time was running away and I wanted to give the guests a clear hour ahead of the evening activities to sort the children out with tea. We met again at 6.30 at Coombe Halt ready for the Ghost train. I’m not sure how many times the train ran round it’s track, but we were there the best part of half an hour. Our fearsome driver slowed down to go through the ghost tunnel which was full of spooky delights. I was careful to manage the balance between scary and fun as I didn’t want to frighten the younger ones. Apparently I may have made it too much fun as one little girl thought it was Christmas and asked if Santa was calling later, she was having so much fun!
Trick or Treat
There was only one event left. After a quick five minutes for everyone to have a comfort break and light their pumpkins, we met back at the train station. Some of the children had never been trick or treating before and listening to them chatting about how great it was made my heart melt. We took an organised procession from property to property. I had Theo at 6ft 3 as a natural leader with torch and camera capturing the magic of the evening. At 16, he is still a sweetie addict and finished the night with pockets bulging himself!
Halloween will go down as a really fun event with all our guests. I’m already looking forward to doing it all again this coming Wednesday, may be with a few changes depending on the age of the children. If you fancy joining us next year be sure to book for October half term.
Halloween Extravaganza with the Coombe Mill 2018 Fun Day
Posted on October 22nd, 2018 - Fiona
Here at Coombe Mill we are big fans of the educational books from Wide Eyed Editions, part of the Quarto group. Nonfiction books for children have quite a job to do in drawing the reader away from the lure of Google. However, I may be old fashioned, but there is something special about a well illustrated book. The physical touch and feel is something Google can’t complete with. My kids may not always agree and would spend their life online given half a chance. I think our friends at Quarto understand what I am up against, and probably other parents too, and have introduced the 3rd book in an amazing “illumi” series Illuminatlas. Read on to discover what makes this book so different and inventive that even a hardened on line enthusiast will want to take a look. There is a chance to win your very own copy too.
Illuminatlas through 3 different lenses
The magic of this colourful informative book is in the colour lens. Read about the history, geography and animals of the world then see them pop out before your eyes. Study the world region by region and let your eyes adjust to the highlights through the lens. The construction of each illustration is so effective and absorbing you become quite immersed in each scene bring in the text to life.
The perfect Christmas gift
This book would make a wonderful Christmas gift. Let the quite discovery of this book take your child to a new level of understanding as the Christmas holidays unfold.
Need to Know
Illustrated by ||
Carnovsky design studio|
284 x 346 x 16mm
|Publisher||Wide Eyed Editions, part of the Quarto Group|
|Stockists||Querto online, Wordery, Amazon, Blackwells|
Win your Illuminatlas with Quarto and Coombe Mill
If you have a tween too into their on line activities you’d like to encourage into a good educational nonfiction book this could be the answer. Follow the instructions below for your chance to win a copy. Good luck to all taking part.
I was sent my copy of this atlas book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.