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Educatall team suggests an imaginary game you may enjoy with your group. (Open thematic letter - Cowboys and Indians) Print letter. Prepare a bold envelope. Leave it in an easy to find location within the daycare. Have children find the letter and follow instructions throughout the theme.
Hang a clothesline in your daycare, approximately 2 meters above the floor. Drape a sheet over it so it looks like a tent. Use clothespins to hang children's drawings on the tent. Drape sheets over tables and chairs throughout the daycare also. They will look like teepees.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. Use them to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game - Cowboys and Indians) Print, laminate and store in a "Ziploc" bag or in your thematic bins.
Activity sheets are provided for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets - Cowboys and Indians)
Construction and building blocks:
- Horses and a stable.
- Farm animals and farm buildings.
- Blocks shaped like logs. Children will use them to build western-style homes.
- Objects found in nature (coniferous branches, leaves, pinecones...to build a hideout!
- A hay bale children can play on! Be careful with allergies!
Arts & crafts:
- A horse drawn on a large piece of cardboard. Children can glue bits of white, brown or black yarn to it for the tail and mane. (Thank you to Gisele K. for this idea)
- Hang a large sheet of paper on the wall and paint with water guns! A small drop of paint or food coloring is all you need to add color!
- Make a sleeveless cowboy vest out of a brown paper bag. Help children cut them out and let them decorate as they wish!
- Yellow, orange, and red construction paper or cardboard may be used to make flames. Wrap cardboard tubes in brown construction paper to represent logs. You will have a magnificent campfire!
- You can make your own bow and arrow.
- A simple water bottle can become a flask...just add a rope or masking tape.
- Sprinkle sand over a glue-drizzled drawing...to create a sand storm.
- Make your own « WANTED » sign. Add a child's picture.
- Make gold nuggets.
- Make a totem pole out of rocks, cardboard tubes, and empty metal cans. This can be an individual or group project.
- Fold a clothing hanger to form a circle. Use it to make a dream catcher. Explain its use to the group.
- Coloring pages involving cowboys, Indians, or farm animals.
- Blank paper so children can create their own cowboy or Indian.
- Charcoal crayons to represent coal which was used by cowboys.
- A tent or large box will become a teepee. Children can decorate with bright colors.
- Cowboy costume: hat, jeans, shirt, vest, boots, etc.
- Indian costume: vest, suede pants, hat, feathers, makeup, etc.
- Survival camp: sleeping bag, lantern, other camping material. You may add a pretend campfire and, why not, a few musical instruments.
- We can also use a campfire to cook. Add pots and pans, BBQ forks (cover the tips with duck tape).
- Transform your role play area to look like a caravan. Add a few chairs and a sheet to cover them (or your parachute).
- If you are lucky enough to have a wooden barrel or basket, this is a perfect occasion to use it.
- Modeling dough which hardens and toothpicks may be used to make your very own cacti.
- Transform your role play area to look like a bark canoe. All you need is a cardboard box placed on its side and you are ready for adventure. Use branches from a coniferous tree or cardboard tubes for oars.
- Makeup (for children and the caregiver) can be used to paint faces like Indians.
- Memory games involving cowboy and Indian illustrations. You may make your own with educatall's illustrations or use a store-bought version.
- Puzzles related to the theme.
- A cardboard cowboy or Indian hat for lacing.
- A long rope which may be manipulated like a lasso.
- Ropes which may be used to practice making various knots and bows.
- Ropes in different sizes children may place in order from shortest to longest.
- Modeling dough and tiny plastic horses which children can use to make prints.
- If there is a stable nearby, ask the owner if he has a saddle he would be willing to lend you.
- Storybooks about cowboys and Indians. I am sure you can find some at your local library. Ask parents to provide some.
- Storybooks about horses or the "Far West".
- Sequential stories children can enjoy placing in the proper order.
- Hunt and seek games.
- Various activity sheets related to the theme.
- Games with educatall's word flashcards.
- Tracing and maze activities.
- A dot to dot cowboy hat for children to trace.
- An obstacle course built along the lines of a treasure hunt. Make a poster which includes illustrations of items belonging to cowboys and Indians. Be sure to have two of each illustration or the actual objects on hand. This is a life-size hunt and seek game.
- Pin the tail on the donkey.
- Throw bean bags into a cowboy hat.
- Dart game, but with balls and Velcro! You can purchase inexpensive games but they are very easy to make too!
- A horseshoe game.
- A lawn bowling game.
- Chasing games...Cowboys vs. Indians.
- Tag...the sheriff chases all the others and puts them in jail.
- Sandbox, sieve, and shiny pebbles (gold pieces) children can hunt for.
- Bin filled with feathers.
- Bin filled with straw and precious stones to search for.
- Bin filled with oats and horses.
- Dye bandanas with your group. Just use pieces of white fabric (ideally cotton) and cut them into bandanas. Try different combinations of dyes...chemical, food, or simple fabric markers.
- Grow grass (hay) to feed your horses.
- Arrows...with fruit! Put cheese, fruit, or vegetables on wooden skewers. Add triangles to the ends and they will look like real bows.
- A trail mix made of cereal, peanuts, pretzels, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, etc. Children will love preparing this snack and taking it with them on long walks!
- A hot dog lunch? By the fire and naturally, roasted marshmallows for dessert...Mmm.
- A chicken (or gold) nugget lunch.
- Prepare a horse snack made up of Shredded Wheat cereal (hay bales), Cheerios (oats), and dried apples for an additional treat!
- Chili with meat or vegetarian-style for lunch.
- Cheez Whiz and pretzels for a mini campfire-looking snack.
The word flashcards may be used during circle time to spark a conversation with the group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards - Cowboys and Indians) Indians, Indian headdress, teepee, totem pole, dream catcher, feather, campfire, cowboy, cowboy hat, cowboy boot, scarf, horse
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Cut the feet off a pair of nylon stockings or tights. Cut each leg into three sections. Braid the three pieces together. Tie the base with adhesive tape. Show children how to place the waist over their head to make a Pocahontas wig.
Use electrical tape to determine a start line and a finish line. There should be 10 centimeters between the two lines. Provide children with drinking straws, empty toilet paper rolls, and paper plates they can use as propellers. They have to propel their feather from the start line to the finish line using only their chosen propeller. They mustn't touch the feather with their propeller. The first child whose feather successfully crosses the finish line wins. He may then race against another opponent.
Enjoy a relaxation activity involving feathers and plastic horses. The feathers are great for gentle massages while the horses can "walk" on children's backs.
The cowboy gathers his herd
Choose three children who will be cowboys. The other children represent the herd of cattle. Deposit hoola hoops on the floor. They will represent gathering areas. Select an area which will represent an enclosure. This is where the cowboys will put the "bulls" they capture. When you give them the signal, the cattle must run from one hoola hoop to another. If the cowboys catch a child, the prisoner must go to the enclosure until the end of the game. The last three children to be captured become the next round's cowboys.
Have fun with hoola hoops. Place them on the ground and jump in them. Gallop between the hoola hoops without touching them.
Invite children to paint on an old sheet. Once dry, they can use it to make a tent, teepee, or shelter like Indians.
Variation: Provide several sheets to make lots of shelters.
ACTIVITY INVOLVING PARENTS
Corn roast (Open perpetual calendar - Corn roast)
Prepare a party, inviting parents and grandparents to come celebrate. You can make cocktails using fruit juice and grenadine syrup. Before having children remove the corn husks, color the end of one ear of corn with ink or paint. The child who finds the colored ear of corn will be king or queen of the day. Crown the king or queen of the corn roast. Naturally, this title will grant him or her certain privileges.
Story and memory game - Cowboys and Indians
Print, cut out, and laminate the cards. (Open story and memory game - Cowboys and Indians) Place the cards face down on the floor. Children pick three cards and invent a story in relation to the illustrations. Variation: To solidify the cards, glue each illustration to the top of a frozen juice can. Print twice and use as a memory game.
Cowboy or Indian
(Open game - Cowboy or Indian) Print and laminate. Display both pictures on the wall. Using Velcro, children associate the cards to the correct picture.
(Open dress-up dolls - Cowboys and Indians) Print and laminate. Let children dress up the dolls as they wish.
Select a child to wear your cowboy hat. He must sit with his back to the rest of the group. Point to a child in the group and have him stand up and say "Yo! Cowboy!" The child wearing the cowboy hat must guess which child spoke.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
If you can find hay bales, have children wear cowboy hats and enjoy a thematic photo shoot. If you can't find hay bales you can still photograph children pretending to ride a horse (broomstick) to the sound of country music.
A few activity ideas involving corn products... You can paint with corn syrup, make a popcorn collage (be careful if there are children under 4 years of age), or eat corn chips with homemade salsa.
ARTS & CRAFTS
(Open Indian bandana) Print for each child. Have children cut out their bandana. Encourage them to color their bandana and the feathers. When they are done, they can glue the feathers on their bandana. Assemble the bandanas to fit each child's head and staple. If you prefer, you may use a colorful strip of paper and simply have children add feathers.
(Open craft - teepee) Print and have children color according to the color code. Next, glue the tabs to form a teepee. Decorate with feathers and sparkles.
Use different packages (egg cartons, yogurt containers, etc.) Children use the items of their choice to build a totem pole they can decorate with fabric, string, different types of paper, paint, etc.
(Open craft - totem pole) Print, color, and glue on an empty paper towel roll.
Have a group discussion about dreams, good and bad. Have children talk about their dreams. Tell them the story of how Amerindians have a legend which involves dream catchers. They hang dream catchers in their window to avoid having bad dreams. Here are the steps to make your own dream catchers. Use pipe cleaners. Have children thread beads on a pipe cleaner. Invite them to add feathers and leather cords. When they are done, join the two ends of the pipe cleaner to form a circle. Hang it with string.
(Open craft - horseshoe) Print and cut out of heavy cardboard (cereal box for example). Cover with aluminum paper.
Have children make collages using bits and pieces of yarn (horse's mane).
(Open coloring pages theme - Cowboys and Indians)
The Educatall team
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