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.
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Here at Coombe Mill we are great believers in learning through play. Each week we try to come up with crafts and activities for the guests staying at Coombe Mill based on a craft or activity that is both topical and educational. Often these relate to learning from the week on the farm or special times of year. With New Year upon us I was keen to do something linking to fireworks and fire safety with our young guest’s head of our New Year’s Eve party.
Parragon books had sent me a beautiful Fire Station 3D pop up and build play set together with a fun activity book which perfectly fitted my plans for our afternoon session and the children wasted no time in crowding round to help me assemble it.
The play set is made from waxed board so substantial in quality and designed to be used more than once. The pieces pop out really easily and there is a handy double page diagram in the activity book to help you put it together. I have to confess it took the parents joining in to help us get it right so although I’d say the finished play set is suitable from age 3 upwards it takes someone older to help assemble it. There are 10 pop up characters to play with and the fire engine fits perfectly into the play station when complete. The Rescue ladder moves to give hours of imaginative play.
The activity book is perfect to supplement the fire station play containing some lovely challenges to help with early years verbal reasoning, counting and pen coordination skills.
Win your firestation Activity book and Playset
If you fancy one of these lovely sets from Parragon books for your little one to enjoy then just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
I was sent my Fire station play set and Activity book for the purpose of this review, all thoughts are my own.
Welcome back to a 5th year of Country Kids, I’m delighted to be back promoting outdoor family fun and will be sharing Christmas and New Year on the farm over the next few weeks.
No wonder we talk about the weather in the UK, we began only our second Christmas feed run in torrential rain, it was already clear from the previous day that the chicken fields soaked from weeks of wet weather was soon going to turn into a dangerous mud soup and so we took the decision to round up the chickens and transfer them to the hard surface peacock enclosure for the holidays. This way we could safely visit them without sliding over in the mud; it was a very hands on start to the day for many.
With craft hour due that afternoon I was willing the weather to perk up with a plan afoot that involved a visit to the fairy gardens. Thankfully for me the weather was on my side and it turned into a real spring like day just in time for us to start. We began making Elf post boxes in the craft tent, I had practiced them in advance and even have a tutorial on how to make them, but I took a few short cuts like pre painting the toilet rolls and cutting and painting the lids in advance to ensure we had enough time.
Just as everyone was glossing their boxes I had a prearranged call from my elves in the fairy garden requesting that the children were all needed. We downed tools and all made our way over to find a little Elf sitting under an umbrella with a letter for us.
The children all crowded round while my little Elf carefully read out a letter from Santa requesting that all the children take a scoop of the Elf’s specially prepared reindeer food for Rudolph the Coombe Mill Deer Stag, apparently Blitzen was feeling poorly and Rudolph might be needed on Christmas Eve, the food if given on the morning of Christmas Eve would give Rudolph the powers he needed to help Santa. Elf Clio read every one a Christmas story before handing out food to every child.
Before we returned to the tent I had two more little helpers with a BBQ blazing offering the children a chance to toast a marshmallow. They used homemade Eco logs to burn instead of coal, if you fancy trying them there is a tutorial for them on the blog tomorrow evening.
Revived and with a mission in hand we headed back to the craft tend to write messages to Rudolph and seal the special food bags ready for Christmas Eve.
Those who were still keen moved onto Christmas tree making before Guy gave us a ‘toot toot’ for the Christmas train. Many took the Christmas tree crafts home to finish but a few continued after the train and expertly finished their work.
After the downpour at the chickens I was so relieved the afternoon cleared to see my activity hour plans come to fruition and the children having such a lovely time.
Joining in with Country Kids
I’d love you to come and share your outdoor fun with me here on the linky. All posts are welcome from playing in the garden to days out. All I ask is that the post is predominantly outside, away from screens and enjoying some fresh air. I’d be delighted if you would take my badge or link back here and please remember to check out some of the other posts, it might just be the inspiration for your next adventure.
Country Kids is around in these communities, I’d love you to join me:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too
Win a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies with Country Kids
I am delighted to announce that Muddy Puddles have joined with Coombe Mill to sponsor the Country Kids link up. My favourites each week will be considered for a pair of Muddy Puddles Wellies at the end of the month; the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather throws your way. If you are not already familiar with this wonderful outdoor children's range please do take a look at their website where they have everything needed for year round country kids. The wellies we offer may change each month but are always high quality, comfy and stylish so keep an eye out here on Country Kids to see which designs are up each month. For more more information on the Muddy Puddles wellies on offer with us and terms and conditions to win see here
This year has seen me move into the newly popular area of vlogging. I have hijacked Farmer Nick’s flood light and become a fan of vlogging for tutorials on both my cooking and craft activities. It is fair to say when looking back on my blunders over the year it is my crafting mishaps that are the most frequent, suggesting I am still very much an amateur in this area. However with eager children to entertain on the farm every week I do enjoy coming up with new ideas and then sharing how I do them here on the blog. Hopefully next year my rookie errors will reduce, in the mean time I hope you have a giggle at my expense on my outtakes video here. There were plenty more farm ones I can recall but not saved on film, it tends to be all hands on deck with the animals, but watch out Farmer Nick, after you have called my bluff and framed me here I might just have the camera running on you more in 2016!
Wishing all our Coombe Mill Holiday guests and blog followers a very Happy New Year
If the Christmas Tree is occupying the living room and your hall or kitchen needs a little creative something this could be just the ticket and virtually free to make too. I know many of the decorations these days can be bought cheaply, but by choice I still like to upcycle things and bring nature into the house where I can. This festive branch is an easy Christmas craft to keep in mind if you are heading off on a woodland walk. The wild winds from the autumn storms have brought twigs and branches down all over; it wasn’t hard to find the one I wanted here on the farm at Coombe Mill. If you are looking for inspiration why not check out the Forestry Commission sites, they are encouraging stick foraging with their stick man trail and activities while you walk their specially maintained paths and would be delighted for you to take home a fallen branch to make a festive home decoration too.
Paint your pebbles in pretty colours and leave them to dry. For a touch of glamour give one corner of the dried pebbles a highlight spray with the gold paint.
Wedge your branch into the bucket or plant pot with some large heavy stones so it stands upright and stable.
Spray the branch with gold spray, ideally outdoors, and leave to dry.
Place a sheet of wrapping paper under the plant pot and draw the sides up folding the ends in around the large stones and use a piece of sellotape to secure if needed.
Place the coloured pebbles over the top of the garden stones and wrapping paper to make a pretty finish to the pot.
Add your chosen decorations.
A few additions you could try
Why not try an all natural branch with sprigs of holly or mistletoe hanging down
Use it as a Christmas message or Advent Tree with a different rhyme or saying for each day to open up.
Wind Christmas lights around to make it sparkle
Treat the children and hang chocolate pennies or Christmas chocolates.
Our Christmas Branch will go to decorate our craft and ping pong tent for the festive season and showcase all the decorations the children can make with us in our Christmas Activity Hour.
Vlog Tutorial to make a Christmas Branch
This craft is part of my monthly upcycling linky #Trash2Treasure. It opens on the first Monday of each month, is sponsored by the lovely folk at Duck Tape Colours with a prize each month so please do come and join me there with any upcycled projects you have from big DIY projects to children’s crafts. The December link up is here.
I find the uses for toilet rolls never ending which is just as well as we generate so many between the holiday cottages and lodges and our own home with 8 of us living here. Throwing them away feels a crime. In the past I have turned them into cute farm pigs and have several more farm ideas up my sleeve for spring next year. For the Christmas countdown I shared my toilet roll inspired elf post box a few weeks ago and today I am making them into mini Christmas Trees to decorate a big tree, festive window or mantle piece.
What you’ll need
Green paint, Gold or yellow paint
Cut into the toilet roll at an angle withdrawing scissors before the centre
Cut again in a straight line to meet the withdrawal point from the last cut and remove the triangle created
Repeat up the toilet roll finishing on an angled cut
Turn around and mirror the cuts on the other side finishing with an angles cut to form a point.
Take 3 of the Triangle fallen pieces and overlap them to form a star and staple together.
Staple the star to the point of the tree
Paint the Tree Green and the star yellow or gold, leave to dry
Coat with PVA Glue to give it a glossy finish
whilst the PVA Glue’s drying sprinkle with glitter to add some Christmas Sparkle
A few additions you could try
Make a few and string them up as bunting
Use Christmas stickers from a sticker book to decorate
Add tiny pieces of cotton wool to the wet PVA glue to look like snow or stand the tree on a cotton wool base in a coffee jar lid.
Paint them different colours and thread wool through the top then hang them on the Christmas tree
Wind wool round before adding PVA glue to look like tinsel
These will form one of our Christmas crafts this year with the children staying on the farm. They are simple enough for toddlers to enjoy with a little scissor help and yet intricate enough to engage older children too. In all our properties we provide quality Christmas Trees and all the decorations to go with it for our guests, however there is nothing quite like personalising it with the children’s own handiwork.
Vlog tutorial on making a toilet roll Christmas Tree
for more thrifty Christmas Crafts check out my monthly upcycling linky #Trash2Treasure. It opens on the first Monday of each month, is sponsored by the lovely folk at Duck Tape Colours with a prize each month so please do come and join me there with any upcycled projects you have from big DIY projects to children’s crafts. The December link up is here.
“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.