I had forgotten about the magic of hobby horses. This simple toy has really added to the play here in this house, and they were so incredibly easy to make. Perfect for a rainy day. Numala Kinder now has a stable of black beauties ready for a run. Hobby horses are a wonderful way to add movement into children’s dramatic play …. and we have a lot of galloping space here!
My daughter received a hobby horse for Christmas, one that plays an authentic galloping and whinnying sound when you squeeze the ear. She loves it and fondly named it Ana. When Numala Kinder restarted after the new year Ana was very popular. Amazingly though, one hobby horse between three four-year-old girls worked out quite well but all the same we decided to make some more lovely ponies. One rainy day this week, when I just couldn’t coax the children outside (“I have had enough of WET!”) we made a few more.
Of course sticks are in abundance around here, old socks are never hard to part with, and I have stashes of emergency craft supplies so I knew I had some wool stuffing, elastic and just the right buttons for eyes.
Yes, I did most of the putting together and all of the stitching, but the children were very engaged in helping to hand-card and stuff the wool into the socks. My 7-year-old made the bridles, which I had forgotten about.
Joy! They love them! Humble and homemade, these horses don’t even seem to mind that they don’t make sounds like Ana. They have a life of their own.
HOW WE MADE THEM:
1) Gather your bits: old socks, stuffing, elastic, felt scraps, a good strong stick or broom handle, buttons, yarn, needle and thread.
2) Stuff the toe and the base of the sock well. Really well! squeeze and shape with your hands as you go to make a good horsey muzzle. When you reach the heel of the sock, place the pole inside and continue stuffing well around the pole. Secure the end of the sock by tying a piece of elastic tightly around the sock and pole together. Wrap and tie a few times so it is nice and secure.
3) Cut two ears out of some felt. I used some scraps of some strong hand-made felt I had – I imagined the shape of a cathedral door when I cut them out. Fold them in half and stitch onto the horse – along the heel of the sock. I stitched across the bottom of the ears, and then a little way up the sides to encourage them to stand up tall.
4) Make little bundles or tassels of yarn and stitch them between and just behind the ears to create the mane.
5) Choose some cute big round buttons for eyes and stitch them on. You could also glue one some felt circles.
6) My daughter added a bridle by wrapping yarn around the muzzle and attached a rein to hang on to for when those horses want to gallop fast.
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