Life Underwater Studies for Preschool Kids

Posted on June 9th, 2017 -

I feel like we have been so lucky this year with plenty of dry weather and if you follow my Country Kids posts you could be forgiven for thinking the sun always shines on Coombe Mill. However sadly this isn’t always the case and the rain caught up with us just in time for my life underwater studies. Thankfully it was warm enough to still be outside but due to the frequency of the showers I based our activities under the eaves of the games room. At least water was in the theme for the afternoon.


Life Underwater studies for Preschool Kids


We began with a gorgeous little mini game I’m reviewing from Orchard Toys at the moment as the children were the perfect age. It is called little bug Bingo and since many of the bugs were to be found on or around our lakes and river it felt like a good link. The children soon picked up the idea of the game taking it in turns to turn over the cards and match them to their place mats.


Play Orchard Toys Little Bug Bingo on holiday.


We moved onto a delightful story from Quarto Kids about life under the ocean. The children really took to this with the lift up flaps despite only being in black and white. There was a treat at the end as I handed out colouring pens and every one had a chance to turn the pages from black and white to colour.



We still have tadpoles in huge quantities in our lakes so we had a little look at the Frog life cycle using our bingo matching skills to place the elements of the frog life cycle into place


Matching game to understand the frog lifecycle


That was enough studying for my little ones and they were keen to see some real life underwater. In case we couldn’t get out on our underwater search I had brought a bucket of underwater life from the pond up to the table. The children crowded round to look at the tadpoles and water boatman swimming among the reeds in my bucket.  After a quick lesson in how to use a magnifying glass they were captivated.


Studing life underwater in a mini pond in a bucket


Underwater life seen through a bucket pond sample


I promised if the rain stopped we could all go to release them and see what else we could spot on the way. However first I had a fun fishing game lined up.  A bath mat became my pond with bracken leaves as fish. The children used sticky weed on sticks as fishing lines and had great fun trying to catch a fish. This is such a simple game we have used before and would be ideal to play down at a park or by a river too just by collecting things from nature.


Fishing game played with nature


Finally we had our break in the rain and set off with tick sheets showing life underwater in our lake and river. We spotted sticky weed and bracken in the hedges from our fishing game, stopped to look for fish swimming upstream on the bridge over the river and spotted plenty of tadpoles in the lake while I carefully replaced our bucket full.

Nature walk to study life underwater


There were plenty of tadpoles, carp popping to the surface and more bugs on the surface to tick off on our water life spotters worksheets


Studying Life underwater worksheets by the lake


We came back a different route stopping to check the frog hiding under the bridge.


Spotting the Coombe Mill frog under the bridge


I was so pleased we were finally able to complete our walk and the children could see the pond life in the lakes and not just in my bucket.

Life Underwater studies for preschool children



Country Kids

Lift-the-flap and colour book series

Posted on June 5th, 2017 -

Here at Coombe Mill we love to encourage education that is fun and creative. Our weekly activity hour is based around just this, making the most of the outdoors whilst learning and developing young minds. I have worked with Quarto Kids on many occasions as I know their books are designed to make learning a joy for children. Their nonfiction books always have a clever slant that makes kids want to learn. The latest Lift-The-Flap and colour books have been published in association with the Natural History Museum to inspire young minds about the ocean, jungle, forest and African animals. Each book has 5 scenes to colour and simple facts to read aloud. Lift the flaps on every page to reveal the full story and make learning fun. Read on for your chance to get your hands on a set.

Lift the Flap and Colour books

What we thought about the Lift-The-Flap and Colour books

We used the ocean book as part of our water themed activity hour. I first read the story to the children who were all age 2 to 4. It was fast paced enough to capture their imagination

Reading the colour and fold book

Afterwards they choose which page to colour in together.

The thick black outlines are perfect for little hands just learning dexterity and the art of colouring between the lines and the matt finish is ideal for crayons, felt pens or paint for a careful hand. When the colouring is complete, the black and white pages spring to life.

Colouring in and paints

I’m already lining up a forest themed activity hour with the children here next, taking advantage of animals here on the farm. There is a lovely page about deer which tells you not to go too close, something we are always reminding the children here on the morning tractor rides.  

Deer pages

Need to know

About the Lift-the-flap and colour books
  • 5 scenes to read and colour in every book
  • Simple facts to accompany every page
  • 4 books in the series
Suitable fromage 2+
Retail price£5.99
Available fromQuarto Knows
Illustrated byAlice Bowsher
Published in association withthe Natural History Museum


Win your Lift-The-Flap and colour books from Quarto Kids and Coombe Mill

If you fancy a set of these delightful colour in books just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.

Lift-the-Flap and Colour Books from Quarto Kids


We were sent our Natural History Lift-the-flap and colour books for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Trash 2 Treasure June 2017

Posted on June 4th, 2017 -

Welcome to a new month of Trash 2 Treasure.  With summer now well and truly with us, we have been taking advantage of nature for our activity hour here on the farm. From flowers to herbs we have been identifying and creating with plenty of learning for little ones too. Below is our DIY cereal box herb worksheets. However my post this month takes advantage of the collection of vintage tea cups and saucers we were given. Whether you are sewing, crafting, cooking or sawing I love to see all your upcycled ideas.


Trash 2 Treasure June

Joining in with Trash 2 Treasure

  1. Trash 2 Treasure is all about upcycling. Posts should be about making something foraged from nature, household throw away items or low value items you have added value to.
  2. Posts can take any form, all that matters is that the item made has primarily been upcycled. Whether you cook, sew, make or create I’d love you to join me.
  3. The linky will run on the 1st Monday of every month and stay open for the full month.
  4. There is no post limit as the link up is open all month.
  5. Old posts and new posts welcome.
  6. Please comment on my host post and at least 2 others and use #Trash2Treasure in the sign off so other’s know where you came from and can pop back to see what you have made too.
  7. Do remember to pop back during the month to check on later posts linked up. I will share linked posts during the month as a reminder to pop back and as a thank you for joining in.
  8. Please add my Trash 2 Treasure badge to help others find the link up and to be in with a chance of winning the lovely Duck Tape Colours (see below). 

Most of my Trash 2 Treasure tutorials will come from fun keepsakes we have made with the children in our farm activity hour, but sometimes I share bigger upcycling projects from the farm too. I hope through the linky to acquire some new ideas from you.

A little extra from the awesome folk at Duck Tape Colours

Trash 2 Treasure sponsored by Duck Tape UK with Coombe Mill Holidays for creative fun.

Trash to Treasure is sponsored by Duck Tape Colours, makers of colourful tape to add pattern and sparkle to all your upcycling projects. My favourite upcycling post each month will receive 3 colourful rolls of tape to inspire their next project (UK delivery only). Do check out the website for plenty of creative ideas. 

Congratulations to Fiona from Saw it, Pinned it, Did it who is my chosen post for May with this lovely post about turning a sheet into a pretty lampshade cover.

Trash 2 Treasure Winner for May

Trash 2 Treasure Communities

Please use the hashtag #Trash2Treasure for your makes, I’ll find you and promote your post or picture on

  • Twitter
  • Instagram

If you link up below to Trash 2 Treasure March I’ll also send you an invite to pin on the Trash 2 Treasure Pinterest board 



Please grab the badge and join the #Trash2Treasure linky  


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How to Make a Tea Cup and Saucer Bird Feeder

Posted on June 4th, 2017 -

We saw this idea on a market stall in Sussex. There was a stall filled with different bird feeders but one really took our eye. It was made from a teacup and saucer. We bought it and took it home with us. As luck would have it we were staying with Farmer Nick’s Mum who has an antiques business. She kindly gave us a box full of her odd china which wasn’t worthy of her shop. Nick bought the rods from a DIY store and had the bolts already and back in Cornwall we set about repurposing the old china. I had a plan forming in my mind for where to put the bird feeders so that all our holiday guests could enjoy them too.

How to Make a Teacup and Saucer Bird Feeder

What you’ll need

  • Rod with screw grooves

  • 2 bolts

  • 2 washers

  • Tea Cup and saucer

  • Drill with tile drill piece

  • Silicon
What You'll need Teacup Bird Feeder


Method for Making a Tea Cup and Saucer Bird Feeder

Drill a hole in the saucer Drill a hole in the saucer the width of the rod
Drill a hole in base of the tea cup Drill a hole in the teacup
Add the first nut and washer Place a washer and bolt onto the rod
Add the saucer and cup silicone each layer as you go Silicone the holes and place on bar
Secure with a second washer and nutAdd the final washer and bolt and tighten
Leave the silicon to dryLeave to dry
Teacup on the Welly WalkPush the rod into the ground and fill the cup with water and the saucer with bird food got pic


A few alternatives you could try.

You can make it without the silicone, which was how we saw ours for sale and offer two forms of food instead of water and food.

If you don’t have the facilities to drill the tea cup you could glue it and hang it from the tea cup in a tree.

We made a trail of 8 bird feeders along our old welly walk filling each with different goodies for the birds. The children made toilet roll binoculars to go on a stealth walk and see what they could spot.   

Nb: Although food is plentiful for the birds in summer, by winter I think they will be glad of our bird feeders.

A few extras ideas for the Teacup Bird Feeders


Short Video Tutorial on how to make a tea cup and saucer bird feeder 


Trash 2 Treasure

A new hen house for free range chickens

Posted on June 3rd, 2017 -

Earlier in the year we were under government restrictions for our chickens and ducks. Farmer Nick spent his Christmas holidays building a luxury hen house and we even gave them a nature filled toy to keep them entertained. For chickens living indoors, life didn’t get much better than this. Our ducks on the other hand were more squished in the old Peacock enclosure and as soon as the ban was lifted they were straight back into the field to enjoy the space and their pond. With the ducks and geese turning broody we delayed letting the hens back into the field and kept egg hunting with the children to the chicken house for spring. However with our ducklings now thriving and geese abandoning their nest as usual, the chickens returned to join them in time for half term.

All change with a new hen house

In their winter hen house, the chickens had been laying better than ever before; we soon figured out this was because the crows couldn’t find their way in and steel the eggs ahead of our morning visit. Before we released the chickens Farmer Nick built a tall laying hen house within the field to look just like the laying section of the winter chicken home. The hope was that instead of laying eggs in patches of stinging nettles and letting the crows steel them they would use the new mini hen house in the field. I’m thrilled to say the theory is working and the children have more eggs to run in and collect than they know what to do with; even on a busy half term holiday week.  

Egg collecting is a morning treat

Tenderly holding a baby duckling on the farm


It’s fair to say not everything is pleased to see the children back in the field


Goose warning us to keep our distance


But our sociable chickens are more than happy to be cuddled


Coombe Mill guests proudly holding a chicken together


Or even exposed to a few test flights with their newly clipped wings


Throwing a chicken to test it's flight


Mummy duck kicks up a fuss as we coo over her babies but they are soon all reunited.


Tenderly holding a baby duckling on the farm


It has been a wonderful half term here, not only are the ducks and chickens happy in their free range field again, but we had a surprise end of season lamb born and the older children loved helping out with moving the alpaca to a new field for fresh grazing.

I hope your half term has been a happy one too.

Country Kids