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.
Faced with a classroom sized amount of children and a Friday afternoon with a storm weather warning, I knew I was going to have to full something fun out of my creativity room. I wanted the families to have their holiday end on a high despite the weather and came up with 3 very different wet weather crafts I knew the kids would enjoy. A team Junk Model challenge, Kite making and fly and Friendship bracelets.
Junk Model challenge
This is a great activity to begin or end a session with children. It brings out their competitive side, creativity and logical thinking. I simply tipped a pile of recycled bottles from our recycling bins onto the table, split the group into two teams, gave each a small real of tape and 10 minutes to think up and build the highest tower they could. The parents couldn’t help but get involved too and it turned into a real family challenge on the two weeks I ran this activity.
When the storms are forecast kite making is a great one to make the most of the wind. I pre-cut squares of fabric from and old duvet cover for everyone and collected bamboo canes from our den building zone. The children had to secure the canes into a cross with string then colour their kite to their chosen design. My stash of loom banks came in handy to secure the fabric to each corner of bamboo cane while floristry ribbon made the tail.
Thankfully the rain stopped enough for the children to get outside and race with their kites. Our valley location isn’t ideal for picking up the best of the wind, but it gave the children the run around time they needed and a lot of laughs.
These are a great time filler and popular with both boys and girls. I had pre-threaded animal buttons with lengths different coloured wool and the children each chose one. They could twist or plait the wool to create their very own friendship bracelets. It had them totally absorbed while the rain pattered down outside.
These crafts made a perfect end to the holiday and even gave us a little outdoor time on a stormy day.
First of all, a very Happy New Year to you and your family. I’m sure for you, as for us, the Christmas decorations are down, the children are going back to school and we are optimistic for the possibilities of a new decade. I hope you can take a minute to glance through the month past here on the farm, our plans ahead for the forthcoming season and of course a guide to the Cornish Events january 2020 if you are in the area.
Thinking ahead to a weekend break?
Because the pennies are tight after Christmas, but everyone fancies a few nights away, we have the perfect offer for you. A little something from us for you to look forward too over the coming months:
To book this great deal simply place your booking on line and write Jan2020 deal in special instructions before you pay and I will add a discount to change the price for you to reflect the £250 stated.
Optional extra charges still apply.
Coombe Mill properties only.
Excludes 15 – 22nd February.
March is the start of lambing for us and a wonderful time to be on the farm.
A look back at Our Christmas Fun
Christmas is always a wonderful time here at Coombe Mill. It is a chance for parents to escape the usual Christmas rush and chill out in our beautiful rural surroundings while excitement builds for the children. Christmas Eve saw us treat the children to some fun crafts with snow globe making and mince pie baking.
For those who enjoy a children’s Church service St Tudy Village did us proud with a delightful Christingle finished off with Santa on his sleigh
We followed this up with a party for all the family in the games room. No Christmas Eve party would be complete without a visit from Santa who managed to hot foot it back on his sleigh from St Tudy. Sat in our purpose made Grotto he delighted the children with a few wise words and a gift for all.
Christmas Day saw us enjoy a very relaxed 10 o’clock start for the Feed run with Santa Nick and a glorious sunny day.
We were like tourists on our own doorstep over the Christmas period and joined many of our guests with a stroll around Padstow enjoying Cornish pasties and some lovely coastal walks. We are in such a perfect location to make th4e most of the coast any time of the year.
If you fancy all this for Christmas 2020, the activities are all included in the price of your stay.
Just in case you are taking us up on our great £250 deal for January. Here’s a look ahead to some of the things we have going on locally in Cornwall.
The Coombe Mill Halloween Fun Day is one of the farm annual highlights. It has developed and grown over the years into a day that holiday makers return for year after year. This year followed the highly success format of 2018, but with a few additions to keep things fresh.
Halloween Fancy Dress Feed Run
Our usual morning tractor and trailer ride to feed the animals was turned into a fancy dress feed run. The trailer really looked the part and even Farmer Nick joined in with fancy dress.
Perhaps the highlight of the feed run was discovering spooky Halloween chocolate eggs in place of farm eggs at the chickens
Families then had the middle of the day free while I moved decorations from the Trailer to the train tunnel and added to them and prepared the pumpkin crafts for the afternoon.
Last year we provided pumpkins for carving as part of the carts. It was so successful I thought I’d extend it to this year but instead of just handing out pumpkins I hid them in the fairy garden so the children’s first task was to go on a pumpkin hunt.
Armed with a pumpkin each the children set about designing their pumpkin and then carving. We had plenty of adults on hand to help out with this. When it came to scooping out the middle, we reserved the seeds and flesh for baking.
We made pumpkin cakes indoors, very similar to the blackberry cakes of a few weeks before, but substituting the blackberries with grated pumpkin flesh.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
This is one of my favourite things to do with pumpkins. The seeds are so easy to roast. Simply clean them in water and pat them dry, then transfer them to a roasting dish, add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil before roasting in the oven or under a hot grill for around 10 minutes or until golden. It is worth shaking the seeds mid way through cooking to ensure they toast nicely on both sides.
The children filled jars with the toasted seeds and made spider tops from cereal boxes while the cakes cooked.
Halloween Party Games
We cleared away the baking tables and turned up the Halloween music for a bit of fun with musical statues and musical bumps. The children were so good it was hard to catch anyone out, even with a wide age range. In the end I had them spinning and bumping to make it harder for them and easier for me! There were treats for all so everyone was a winner really.
Daytime turned to night times during our games and the children were really excited for our last two events, the Ghost train and Trick or Treat. We made our way over to the train station by torchlight and everyone enjoyed at least two round of train riding in the dark with a spooky tunnel of fun.
The evening ends in style with a huge trick or treat procession. This is totally unique and very Coombe Mill. We go from property to property as an organised group. Weonly stop if there is a pumpkin lit outside. Between the ones we carved together and extras created by families in their own time there were some real works of art
Trick or Treat challenges my voice. My trick is to keep order, keep everyone safe and ensure the little ones have as much of a chance to call at each house as the bigger kids. Excitment is full on as this is the real highlight of the evening for the children.
My thanks to all the parents for the wonderful treats and decorated properties. I think this might have been the best trick or treat ever. One little one told me as much which was totally spontaneous and adorable.
As summer fades into autumn I like to take advantage of the abundance of blackberries here on the farm. Foraging, baking and crafting are a perfect use of blackberries. I try to mix things up a little each year so nothing is quite the same as the year before. While I had tried a version of all of these activities before, none of them were quite the same. There was something new with our blackberry fabric printing crafts for even our most regular guests.
I handed out collecting tubs and we headed down to the river bank for a power 15 minute blackberry collecting session.
Health and Safety Awareness
Back at the craft tables, Guy led the children to wash their hands while I washed the blackberries to flush out any creepy crawlies.
All cleaned up we were ready to start work. I have a tried and trusted recipe for muffins which is ideally suited to adding any additional ingredient, like blackberries, and also easy for children to measure. With each child adding an ingredient and taking turns stirring while others set out the paper cases there is something to keep everyone in a large group engaged.
Blackberry Fabric Printing Crafts
Blackberry stained fairy clothes
While the muffins cooked in the oven I tipped out a bag of fairy clothes cut outs on to the table. The children had to find pairs of clothes lay out blackberries on one and squish the other on top. I stapled them all onto a line of string to make a fairy washing line to go in the fairy gardens above the new fairy house.
Blackberry tie dyed flags
Our final activity involved winding loom bands tightly around sections of triangular fabric. Next we dunked the fabric in blackberry juice before opening the fabric to reveal some fun circular designs. The children collected a stick for me to staple their tie dye triangle round to make a flag.
By the time the flags were completed the muffins were ready to eat. Even those who claimed not to like blackberries tried one. I think being involved in the whole cooking process makesw children more inclimed to have a taste. There were very few left for me to take home which is always the real test.
Each of these activities are both fun and educational for children. They held their attention and yet cost very little to put together. I would recommend them for a garden birthday party or perhaps a play date at home.
A sunny afternoon with a group of 2 – 6 year olds calls for some creative make believe. It is ages since I’ve focussed on our natural woodland here and the magic of the fairy garden. This was the week to change that with a creative afternoon of woodland wizards and fairies.
Usually I set up for activity hour outside the games room on the grass, however as this session was all about wizardry and the imagination that comes from our fairy garden I thought this would make the ideal place for our creative fun and set up the little bench table in there.
We began with nature crowns; these are something I’ve used in many guises before. Double sided sticky tape on stripes of cereal card is perfect. All the kids need to do is decide what nature they want to feature on their headdress.
Another one we have done before but perfectly suited to the fairy garden where there are sticks and twigs in abundance. We simply used tape and ribbons to decorate the sticks into make believe wands.
Capes for Woodland Wizards and Fairies
For this I used old duvet covers from the business that were in my reject pile for being marked. I cut them into cape size rectangles for the children. They used paint and nature to print their capes then chose coloured ribbon to feed through slits in the top to wear as magic woodland wizards and fairies.
It was a lovely way to pass an afternoon and the children loved the setting. If they finished any of their activities early there was always plenty of fun in the fairy garden to keep them occupied until others caught them up. It would make a great them for a play date or birthday party and is surprising easy and cheep to do.
What you’ll need to create your own woodland wizards and fairies activity
colourful ribbons or wool
double sided sticky tape
Rectangles of material
stapler (if attaching nature)
All the fun of creating woodland wizards and fairies on film
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Emma and our 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.