The guest blogger today is Gail and Clyde Martin’s daughter, Cynthia Ross. This article first appeared on eHow in 2010.
How to Make a Stick Horse with a Child
This may sound old-fashioned, but making and playing with a stick horse can provide hours of fun for a young child. It’s a simple project, so involve the child in making the horse. Then send them out in the yard to gallop around with the stick horse. They’ll get lots of exercise and fresh air. As you can see in the photo on my book cover, my first stick horse was a 2 X 4 piece of wood with a rope reins. I’ve made several of the sock stick horses for my own children.
Things You’ll Need:
- a stick
- a sock
- string or light rope
- something to stuff inside the sock
- 2 buttons
- odds and ends to decorate the horse’s head
- Choose a stick. A suitable stick horse can be a cut-down broomstick or another piece of wood. It needs to be long enough for the child to straddle it with one end on the ground and the other end about chest-high.
- Find an orphan sock and some string, rope or yarn. The sock could be white, black, gray, tan, or brown depending on the look you want for the horse.
- Rags make an adequate stuffing for the horse’s head or use some old pillow stuffing. Fill the sock with whatever you have on hand.
- Place the sock over the end of the stick. Wiggle the stick up into the stuffing. Add more stuffing if needed.
- Use the string, lightweight rope, or yarn to tightly tie the sock’s ankle part to the stick. Even a long shoestring would work. Help the child with this part, as it is hard for them to tie the rope tightly enough that the head won’t fall off.
- Tie the rope or string around the horse’s nose (the toe of the sock) and make reins for the rider of the stick horse. You can make a full bridle for the sock horse head if you want.
- Decorate the sock horse head any way you want. Glue or sew on buttons for eyes or just add them with a felt-tipped marker. If you want to get more elaborate, give the horse a mane. You can put a line of glue down the neck of the horse and stick pieces of yarn to it. An alternate way is to cut a fringe in a square of fabric, then glue the uncut side to the horse’s neck.
- Have the child choose a name for the horse. Now turn your little cowboy loose in the yard with the stick horse. It’s more fun with several children all riding their stick horses around. They can have races or play at rounding up cattle.
Be sure the stick doesn’t have any splinters on it and is lightweight.