So, your child loves horses -- everything about them. Introduce her to the Kentucky Derby and the world of horse racing. You can leave out the betting part, but talk about all the excitement that builds around the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. Tell her that the horses are Thoroughbreds who are three years old, the race allows for up to 20 horses, and this race is the first in the three races that can earn a horse the Triple Crown. The other two races are called the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Have fun with your 2- to 5-year-old as you explore the world of the Kentucky Derby through derby-related crafts.
Give your horse-crazy kid some practice in counting to 20 to represent the number of horses in the race. Have her cut out 20 horse pictures. Tape each horse onto a vertical toilet tissue tube, (or paper towel tube if the toilet tissue one grosses you out) so the tube stands upright. Another way to make the horses stand upright is to glue them onto a folded 3-by-5-inch index card. Your horse lover can also make a wall-hanging with a coloring book picture of a horse. Give her a brown paper bag to cut or tear into pieces, then glue the brown paper onto the horse picture.
Follow the tradition of creating and wearing a derby hat. An easy way -- and moms always like easy! -- is to start with a paper or foam soup bowl. Turn the bowl upside down to fit on his head. Have him choose two or three colors of paper to represent his derby team. He can tear the paper into pieces and then glue onto the bowl. Let him add some embellishments from your craft scrap drawer or even something cool he sees in the house. Get silly with this craft yourself. Your little crafter will love it, especially if you go outdoors where people can see you.
Trophies may not be new to your child. She may have even received a first-prize award for something. Help her make a trophy to display next to her toy horses. She can experiment with masking tape while creating her trophy. Have her tear pieces of tape and stick them onto a plastic or cardboard chip canister. She should cover the sides and top of the canister. You might want to tear some of the tape strips to keep her from ending up looking like a taped-up mummy. Give her a sponge and some yellow or gold non-toxic craft paint to dab onto the trophy. Draw three horseshoe shapes on yellow paper for her to cut out. Glue two horseshoes toward the top of the trophy for handles and one in the center of the trophy. If you have a plastic toy horse, use a glue gun to fasten the horse to the top of the trophy, keeping the glue gun out of reach of your anxious helper.
Garland of Roses
The Run for the Roses is another name for the Kentucky Derby. The winning horse gets to wear a garland of red roses to celebrate the victory. Cut a piece of paper to drape over one of your kiddo's toy horses. Give him a sheet of red sticker dots to stick all over the paper strip to represent roses. Let him show off his winning horse to the rest of the family or some friends, while everyone cheers for the derby winner.