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.
A Month of Being Open for Holidays
Reflections on a month of our holidays being open again after the Covid-19 lockdown. How our no contact holidays work & farm news. ... Read More
Inspired by our Garden Fete last week, and with the Olympic Games starting in Rio, we set about creating our very own Olympic Games in Coombe Mill Style.
Olympic Games Crafts
In preparation I had made some Olympic rings and hidden them amongst the branches and trinkets in the Fairy Gardens. The children dashed off to find them. It didn’t take them long to chase down all the colours for me.
Back at the craft tables the children made their own Olympic Games Rings from toilet roll prints mounted on plastic trays.
My Olympic torch was instantly recognised and the children were thrilled to make their own, taking care to cover the card with their own choice of duck tape colours which not only looked great but added strength to the torch.
Olympic Games Challenges with a Coombe Mill Twist
With our crafts complete it was time to let the Olympic Games begin! The children had been eying up our DIY hurdles made from wellies and Bamboo and dashed over to the start. Some of the last hurdles were set too high for the youngest so they had the option of crawling under or jumping over. The older children had no problem racing down, though still knocked a couple down when they ran too fast.
For the shot put we used the balls from the ball pit in the soft play barn.
Bringing the roll mat out from the Gym gave us the perfect surface for Gymnastics. From cartwheels to forward rolls everyone had something to share.
No Olympic games would be complete without the 100 meter sprint, though I did stagger start times to give everyone a good chance. There were badges for everyone at the end and a well deserved marshmallows for being such good sports people. I hope Team GB do as well in Rio as my little sporting stars at Coombe Mill!
“Arrrr me lovelies” and welcome to my third post on ‘How to Make’ pirate crafts. I began with simple pirate crafts with a cutlass and eye patch, moved onto a Treasure box and treasure and now am looking at the all important Pirate Ship and Treasure Map in this post. These pirate activities have been used at Coombe Mill with huge success in our weekly Activity hour session. Every time we run a pirate afternoon I add something new to keep things fresh and interesting. The pirate ship started life as a rowing boat, then was combined with a Maypole from our May Day dancing to finally form a Pirate Boat. Treasure Maps are an old favourite the children always enjoy. Both activities are great for inspiring creativity and imagination in children.
What you’ll need:-
Large cardboard box, we used one our new running machine had arrived in for the Coombe Mill Gym
Strong pole or stick, we used a pole from an old ripped windbrake
Duct Tape colours
Floristry ribbon in your choice of colours. Red, white and back would be best though ours was multi-coloured reused from Maypole dancing the previous week!
Push your pole or stick into the ground (you may need to use a mallet or stone to help) and measure your lengths of floristry ribbon to make your mast and rigging.
Attach the Floristry Ribbon to the top of the pole with Duck Tape Colours.
Cut a hole in the base of your cardboard box and slide it over your mast and rigging.
Tie your ‘rigging’ to the box, if your box doesn’t have pre-cut handles like ours did you may need to cut holes to use.
Cut small holes along each side of your box and push sticks through to create oars.
Your ship is ready for your pirates to climb aboard and sing some shanty songs. We invented a take on the classic Row row row your boat as follows:
Row row row your ship
gently over the sea,
If you see a pirate coming
don’t forget to scream,
What you’ll need:-
Paper or wall paper roll
Pens or paint
Fold your piece of A4 paper in half
Keeping it folded, tear around the edge to make it look old and tattered.
Unfold and design and colour your map
Dab the map with a used tea bag to age it.
A few fun additions you could try:-
Try Adding a Pirate Flag with a stick and paper or fabric to the mast of your ship
Why not make a group treasure map. We used a section of Wallpaper taped to the ground to do this with each child adding their own unique map attributes.
Vlog tutorial for How to Make a Pirate Ship and Treasure Map
Joining in with Trash 2 Treasure
If you have post about something you have made with something from nature or something you would have otherwise have thrown away please come and share on Trash 2 Treasure. The linky will run on the 1st Monday of every month and stay open for the full month. Posts can take any form, all that matters is that the item made has primarily been upcycled from something of little value or found in nature. Leaves and loo rolls, sticks and staples, there are so many throw away items which, with a little imagination, can be turned into something of value. Most of my something from nothing craft tutorials will come from fun keepsakes we have made with the children in our farm activity hour but sometimes I will share bigger upcycling projects from Farmer Nick too. I hope through the linky to acquire some new ideas and I welcome all posts old and new.
A little extra from the awesome folk at Duck Tape Colours
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 your next project. Do check out their website for plenty of creative ideas.
So how did I make the leap from alpaca shearing to Garden fete? Well the guests staying last week were treated to the once a year spectacle of seeing our two Alpaca lose their winter coats. This is an education in its own right that I will share on a separate post. However it is fair to say the children were quite taken with the whole process and I promised them we would make something with the wool for activity hour at the end of the week. As I sat playing with the wool in my hands it reminded me of crazy hair and an idea began to form. We could make toilet roll people with crazy white hair. These could be used as skittles, which became the basis of my Coombe Mill Garden Fete, a replica of a typical local village, school or church fate hosted in summer.
Garden Fete Bunting
I had some triangles of old sheet left from previous crafts and the children painted these up to make some bunting as a back drop to our Garden Fete.
Garden Fete Challenges
Next we made the crazy haired skittles that began my theme. The children took turns to try and knock down the skittles with a snooker ball in a cardboard box alley with Amber while I hid a trail of ones I made earlier to the front lawn.
Walks are always more fun with something to collect and search for along the way. By the time we reached the lawn we had a growing collection of our little characters. We lined them up along the bank to be the audience for our garden fete fun challenges.
We started with an obstacle race at just the right level of difficulty for our little ones. They had to crawl under a sheet, play a tune on the nature xylophone and throw Freddie Frog through the netball hoop before running to the finish line for a chocolate.
Two sticks then became the river bank and the children had to cross the river without stepping in the middle where Freddie Frog was lurking; after each clear round the sticks moved further apart. The children were so good at this racing round and round laughing each time.
Farmer Nick was turning out his old socks. The washing machine in our house eats socks, or it could be that our growing teen boys pinch them! Either way he had a stack of odds heading for the bin. I was sure I could put them to good use. Playing around with a sock, a stick and some wool I soon had a hobby horse. It was a short jump from there to a whole activity hour theme on knights and dragons.
Our knights began by choosing themselves a cape out of the dressing up box before turning their hand to making their horse. We wrapped wool round the stuffed sock to create the facial features and reigns, finishing off with some googly eyes.
With horses complete our knights went off on a nature hunt to find jewels for the perfect crown or helmet.
Next up we turned cereal boxes into Knights shields with floristry ribbon crosses on the front.
We still had swords to make but my little warriors were flagging and keen to start the knights and dragons hunt I’d promised. We handed out colouring sheets containing the dragons we were off to find on our mission to pull the famous King Arthur Sword from the stone in Jurassic Park. There was just time to fuel up on chocolate dragon eggs before we set off.
This was the part that really excited the children. In full fancy dress they had their eyes wide open looking all around for the dragons. They were triumphant each time one was spotted and before we knew it the trail had led us to the gates of Jurassic Park.
Once inside the children were convinced that with their new magic powers from their outfits they would be able to pull the illusive sword from the stone. To their disappointment Farmer Nick’s cement won and they reluctantly admitted defeat.
They soon bounced back at the idea of returning to the craft table to make their swords and enjoy another dragon egg.
We swapped dressing up capes for white knight bag capes so that the children could take their whole outfit home with them. The knights and dragons theme had really inspired them and as we left we saw them play fighting with their new swords and setting off to show family members, who had missed the fun, where the dragons hid.
It’s amazing how much creative fun came out of Farmer Nick’s odd sock collection!
Learning about Farm animals is something the children do each day here at Coombe Mill. Without even knowing, kids are discovering new things right from the tractor feed run on the very first morning. Not only is this a social event and a chance to make friends, but the endless questions to Farmer Nick confirm that the children are naturally interested and curious about the animals they are helping to feed and care for. This week I decided to cement some of the learning with a few fun tasks at our Friday activity session.
Activity Hour learning about Farm Animals
We began with a cute little story about a baby deer and her Mummy who embarked on an adventure across a stream and up a hill. It could so easily have been at Coombe Mill and the children were soon enthralled after meeting our baby deer in the mornings.
That was enough sitting time for my little tots so we headed out on a scavenger hunt. Each child was tasked with finding 4 twigs and the most interesting flowers and leaves they could find ready for our animal themed crafts.
Relocating to the outside craft tables we spread PVA glue on our bunny and chicken shapes and stuck on the collecting nature treasures.
The black and white ones were just like our Jacobs sheep here on the farm while several children chose to make some’ Bah Bah Rainbow Sheep’ using some of the fun duck tape colours.
We finished up walking over to the rabbits, each child carrying a carrot for them to eat. The rabbits duly obliged and came over to the children to nibble on their offering and allowing them a final cuddle of the day. The children had a wonderful time whilst recapping learning about farm animals from the week.
“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.