Rodeo/Western Ideas


Take a bale of hay, turn it on its side, place a stick horse in one end for the head and a mop end in the other for the tail. Don it with a saddle and wah-lah you’re ready for a horse ride. Don’t have a saddle don’t fret, partner, just use a blanket. we dressed up as cow-boys/girls and took pictures while riding this magnificent animal.


Panning for Gold

Paint a handful of rocks with gold paint and mix them with sand in the sensory table. Add enough water to cover the sand, resembling a stream bed. Give children aluminum pie plates and allow them to swish the water/sand mixture in a circular motion. The heavier “gold nuggets” will remain in the bottom of the pan.


Panning for Gold: Talk about the Gold Rush with the class. Ask the children to collect some small rocks from the playground or to bring some from home. Use gold spray paint to paint the rocks to resemble gold nuggets. Put the rocks in the sand at the sand table. Give the students sand sifters like those used at the beach (shaped like pans). The children can pretend they are panning for gold. They get so excited when they find those “gold” nuggets.


During rodeo theme week I added “cowboy and cowgirl” props to housekeeping. These included “real” items, many donated by parents…chaps, boots, belts with rodeo winner buckles, handkerchiefs, hats, vests, entry numbers, etc. Outdoors the children had a stagecoach, horse and bull rocking playground equipment and did barrel racing with their stick horses. The children and parents loved this week since we are in a “Rodeo” town.


We have a rodeo in February when some trail riders come through our town. In my December parent’s letter, I ask each child to save a Christmas wrapping paper tube. For our rodeo, each child colors a picture of a horse’s head. (Poster board works good because it is more sturdy than paper). I staple each head to the end of a wrapping paper tube, and we have stick horses. You can then have relay races, barrel races, etc. I have done this with 1 year olds and 4 year olds and they both loved it.


We have a western unit and we make horses to ride. We use newspapers rolled up for the body of the horse. We make a head from oak tag. Add yarn for a mane and use yarn for the halter.


Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.