As you know, every once in a while I get a hankerin' for a themed play day. It's basically a party without the invitations, presents and cake. I had seen some cute stick horses on Pinterest and decided to rustle up a cowboy play day. I kept it cheap and not too complicated, and I think everyone had fun. Here's all the details:
Like I said, I was first inspired by some homemade hobby horses, so I knew we needed to include some of those. I used a lot of scrap materials, but all together I think it cost me under $3 per horse, if you got the sticks on sale it might be even cheaper. I looked at several different methods of making these and kind of came up with my own combination which I will happily share with you later in the week. Here they all are at the corral. (See the hobby horse tutorial here.)
Once everyone arrived the kids got to do a couple of crafts. I bought this wild west foam frame craft set on clearance at Hobby Lobby a couple years ago. The end of Summer is THE time to stock up on kid crafts at HL. All the VBS stuff goes up to 90% off so you can get a craft set that makes 30 of something for $1.29 or something crazy. Obviously your kid doesn't want to make 30 of the same thing, so host a play day or split them up and give them out to friends.
While some of them were coloring others started in painting their own sheriff badges. I bought the plain wood stars at Michaels for $0.29 each and glued the pins on the back with hot glue before the play day. Kids got to choose gold or silver. This was really the first thing they did so by the time they left the stars were almost dry. I still sent them all home in plastic baggies just to be safe.
While some kids were finishing up their stars, the fast painters tried their hands at cow roping. I covered an oatmeal container in white paper and just drew on some cow spots. I filled the inside with a few big rocks to weight it down and used a glue dot to stick a little cow on top, since we had one. Then I used black duct tape to make rope lasso hoops for tossing.
Once everyone was done with their crafts we read a couple of cowboy stories. I picked up a few at our library. I think our favorite was called Are You A Horse?
Then we had a lunch of chili, cornbread, and apples, and a dessert of "hay bales."
Before our friends had to mosey we played a few rounds of "Bank Robber." I made a little money bag and filled it with scrap fabric and chocolate coins.
The kids took turns being the bank robber and hiding the money bag for the little sheriffs to find. The kids loved this and Thing One wanted to play long after his friends went home.
Then all our little cowboys and cowgirls rode off into the sunset, each family taking a trusty steed and their cowboy duds. I think I spent about $25 on the whole play day and I had planned and bought stuff for 8 kids.
I hope that this gives you some good ideas for a fun and doable play day.
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