Easily the best rainy-day alternative for horse-crazed children since they invented tack cleaning.
Title: Horse Play — 25 Crafts, Party Ideas & Activities for Horse-Crazy Kids
Authors: Deanna F. Cook and Katie Craig
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Do you know a kid who smells like a sweaty manure pit? Who drags their feet to go to their first day of school at 8 a.m., but wakes you up on a Saturday morning at 6:15 to go take them to the barn? Who instead of sending a Christmas list to Santa just mails him a Breyer Horse catalog with the words “GO NUTS, SANTA” scribbled on the front? If you answered yes, then you need to get them this book.
“Horse Play” is a delightfully interactive activity book for children that provides lots of self-sustained entertainment, as well as some great adult-supervised fun. The book is meant to be written in, disassembled, and otherwise thoroughly used at home and at the barn.
Section 1 – Educational Awesomeness
The first chapter has some great little games to help the reader learn some basic horse facts and introduce barn life. It includes quizzes, a breed “I Spy” game, and explanations on English vs. western. (We also love that it shows both English and western riders in a helmet! #mindyourmelon)
Section 2 – Craftacular
This book has some very simple crafts that I think are genuinely clever and cute ideas that wouldn’t be an elaborate undertaking for a parent. For example, there’s a pillow craft that just requires a plain pillow, a sheet of felt, some string and a pair of scissors, and the result is adorable without being an all-day ordeal. And the included stencil is one you’d use for crafts over and over again.
Section 3 – The Gateway to Obsession
From drawing better horse heads to making your hair braid match your horse’s tail, this section will take a kid’s pony addiction to the next level. The activities are clever and cute, and the “Barn in a Box” is a really clever idea for the model-horse connoisseur. Tin foil pond. Why didn’t I ever think of that?
Section 4 – Pony Parties
The last section gives some great ideas and tips for group horse activities — from a lesson buddy slumber party to a pony club rainy day activity, these can keep a group pretty busy. It includes a few games, must-see horse movie recommendations, and a couple of funny little games you can play in groups.
I was really impressed with how much stuff they were able to squish into a little spiral book. The activities were unique and clever, the stickers, punch outs, and writing activities were ample, and the book was clearly written by two horse savvy gals.
My only note for potential buyers is that while the book isn’t overtly intended for one gender or the other, it’s pretty clearly geared toward girls. There are no images of boys in the book, and the activities are more geared toward traditional female tastes. (Every craft could easily accommodate a young feller’s tastes, but as a whole, it might not make a perfect gift for a horse crazy boy.)