Things To Do at Westley FarmWestley Farm Category Outdoor Activities, For the Family, For the Kids
The Summer Holidays are looming and I have already had a couple of anxious emails on the subject of keeping the children happy and entertained. I often get asked “but what is there for my children to DO at the farm? Do you have a playground or anything?”
Well the answer is no, we don’t have a designated play area. We don’t have one because we don’t NEED one. The whole farm is a massive adventure land!
Most children enjoy the freedom to run through flower meadows, roll down grassy slopes, get muddy, explore the woods, try to catch the hens for a cuddle, stroke the donkeys, throw endless balls for Bella (our dog) or lie on their tummies gazing into the pond for a glimpse of newts, tadpoles or fish. I had an interesting time with a 5 year old boy this weekend discussing different poohs. He had found one and wondered who had done it! I’m not suggesting this is something everyone would be into – but it really got us both thinking. The poohs from fish, snails, wild birds, chickens, donkeys, horses, badgers, foxes, dogs, cows, sheep and deer are all identifiable! So we started talking about what they ate, their habits etc. We both learned a lot :-)
If you are looking for something more than pooh discussions and general hill rolling etc for your children, then look no further! I have compiled a list of things you can do right here – no need for a hot car ride or parking – or money for that matter (for most of them).
1) Our friend Piers runs a ‘woodland classroom’ on Wednesdays in our woods. You could contact him to see if there is a place for your child(ren) while you are here (I know he gets pretty booked up) and he welcomes accompanying adults – especially if it’s the child’s first time. So you could enjoy a day in the woods by the campfire too!
2) There are giant coloured chalks in each cottage. Our children used to love drawing huge pictures on the tarmac of the drive and farmyard. The more artistic could find a less used corner and make an art display incorporating sticks, leaves, moss and more. I believe ‘them that know’ call it Land Art….
3) There is a playground in Chalford (about a 20 minute walk away down the hill and along the canal path). Local children gather there not only for the swings etc but also to paddle in the stream and play ball games.
4) Walk in the woods – make a ‘walk kebab’ by skewering Interesting Things onto a stick so you can tell someone else what you saw…(I believe most people call it a Story Stick)
5) Make a den. Do you dare sleep in it overnight?
6) Lie in the hay meadow watching clouds
7) Make a picnic – our children would love doing this. And you don’t have to go far. We would just walk from the house to the middle of the hayfield – about 50 steps! But of course you can lay your blanket anywhere on the farm…
8) Make pancakes -they’re not just for Shrove Tuesday, they’re ALWAYS fun!!
9) Hunt for the latest place the hens have decided to lay eggs instead of their lovely hen house….
10) Visit the donkeys. They get quite lonely otherwise.
11) Throw a ball for Bella. For hours. Bella suits 9 year old boys best as they seem to have the best staying power….
12) Run down the hay field through daisies and flowers in the style of ‘Little House on the Prairie’. It’s more fun if you make lots of noise and swing your arms like a helicopter.
13) Make a flower crown so you can have a Proper Princess Picnic
14) Make your own pizza dough and have a go cooking in the earth oven
15) Have a Jelly Fight (outside please!)
16) Make mud pies. We have some delicious yellow gritty clay on the farm- makes the stickiest mud pies but is not that easy to find…
17) Put on a show! Let the children dress up, arrange some straw bales in the barn. Charge admission. And please serve popcorn in the interval. We like popcorn.
18) Make Bicarb Bombs…not sure if I should tell you how….
19) Camp out one night. You will hear foxes barking and owls hooting. Cuddle up close!
20) Make a flask of cocoa and sit up late to see the Milky Way, stars and planets…maybe a shooting star?
21) There are several rope swings hidden on the farm…see if you can find them!
And of course there are books and games in every cottage! We also have an extensive DVD collection in addition to the DVDs you will find in your cottage. All the cottages have open fires or wood burning stoves so if you get a rainy day, light the fire, toast marshmallows and tell scary stories.
Oh, there are loads of things to do. You (and they) will not be bored for an instant – I guarantee it!!
And finally – an extra idea; the Water Slide. Amazing fun for all! You need a hill, a tarp, some buckets of water and a little washing up liquid (Ecover or sim. of course!)