Horse Lesson Plan for Younger Children
Do you have a young child who loves horses? Use this fun, hands-on lesson or "play date" activity to explore horse breeds, gaits, diet, and more! I created this "lesson" to do as a two hour "play date" with my young children and some of their friends. Use this fun lesson with your class, family, or homeschool group!
Do you own a horse?
1. Pray. Read and discuss Job 39:19-25.
2. Read a book giving an overview of horses. Our three favorite options were If I Ran the Horse Show by Bonnie Worth, Horses by Gallimard Jeunesse, and Horses by Gail Gibbons (skipping the first 2 pages).
Book to Read for Activity 2
This was one of our favorite picture books that gives an overview of horses. It is written in the rhyming "The Cat and the Hat" fashion.
Horses & Oats
3. Briefly discuss what horses eat. Mention how horses love to eat oats and also enjoy carrots, apples, and sugar. Make Oatmeal-Carrot Cookies which contain all of those ingredients.
YOU WILL NEED: ingredients for cookies, baking sheet, parchment paper, mixing spoon, measuring cups and spoons, & 2 mixing bowls
These cookies are wholesome and not especially sweet. If you want to make incredibly tasty oatmeal cookies, try this recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup finely grated carrot (or 1 small jar of carrot baby food)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup diced apples
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cinnamon. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, carrots, apple, vanilla, and milk. Stir in the flour mixture. Either have the children roll the cookies into balls or simply drop them by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly. (The cookies will not spread at all.) Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. This recipe came from food.com.
Parts of a Horse
4. Give each child a horse figurine or toy and go through the simple body parts (mane, muzzle, hooves, etc.) having the children touch that body part on their horse toy.
YOU WILL NEED: a horse toy or figurine for each child
5. Play Simeon Says using the horse body part terms. Some examples include: take your shoes off your hooves, pull your mane straight up into the air, sit your dock on the ground, lift your muzzle up into the air, put shoes on those hooves, etc.
6. Read Appaloosa Zebra: A Horse Lover's Alphabet by Jessie Haas. Ask each individual child what breed of horse they would like to get if they could own a horse.
7. Have each child color a picture of the breed of horse they like the most. Children can either color the picture free-hand or they can color in a printed-off coloring sheet such as this one found at horsecoloringpages.com. (We used Horses (DK Handbooks) to show the colors of the different breeds.)
YOU WILL NEED: paper and crayons (or paints and paintbrushes)
Horse Breeds Book to Read for Activity 6
This goes through various breeds of horses (or occasionally a horse-related word) with a short sentence about each animal or item. It has fun illustrations that keep the attention of even my youngest children.
Horse Breeds Book to Use for Activity 7
We used this book to view photos of various horse breeds. It also includes information about each breed and why they are significant. My children enjoyed simply flipping through the book and looking at all the photos. It is 256 pages long.
Gaits & Feeding Time
8. Discuss horse gaits: walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping. Have the children practice each speed as they go around the room. If you have them, you can pass out a stick horse to each child to ride while they do this. Play the last 3 minutes from "William Tell's Overture" (The Lone Ranger theme song) and have the children "ride" around. Ask them about the gait of their horse as they "ride" along to the song.
YOU WILL NEED: All items are optional: stick horses & William Tell's Overture CD
9. Feeding Time. Eat cookies and drink water.
YOU WILL NEED: napkins and cups for water
10. (Optional) Play horseshoes.
YOU WILL NEED: horseshoes game
11. Review what you learned about horses.
Field Trip Ideas
After studying about horses, we visited a friend who owns a horse. The children enjoyed petting the horse and watching the horse's owner ride the horse. A local rodeo or horse show or competition would also make a perfect field trip to follow up this lesson.
Joke: Why do cowboys ride horses?
Because they're too heavy to carry!
Materials Needed for This Lesson
-a book giving an overview of horses such as If I Ran the Horse Show by Bonnie Worth, Horses by Gallimard Jeunesse, and Horses by Gail Gibbons
-ingredients for cookies, baking sheet, parchment paper, mixing spoon, measuring cups and spoons, & 2 mixing bowls
-a horse toy or figurine for each child
-Appaloosa Zebra: A Horse Lover's Alphabet by Jessie Haas
-paper and crayons (or paints and paintbrushes) and a book or other pictures showing different horse breeds
-optional: stick horses & William Tell's Overture CD
-napkins and cups for water
More Great Picture Books on Horses for Your Horse-Loving Children
This has gorgeous illustrations and covers quite a bit about horses. It has a short snippet on each page (perfect for younger children) and then a longer explanation as well, which you can include if you are reading to older children.
If you have children like my daughters, you have probably read a number of delightful picture books on horses. There are so many fabulous ones that we could probably spend a month or more just reading them. It was difficult to pare down our "favorites" list, but I tried to only include books that also teach something about horses and/or horseback riding. These are the top ones we loved (in addition to the other books I posted on this page).
The Horse (First Discovery Series) by Henri Galeron would be another great book option to read to introduce the children to horses. This gives a brief overview of horses with just enough factual information to keep the attention of even the youngest of children. It has gorgeous illustrations and includes fun, see-though pages.
Horses by Gail Gibbons gives a slightly more in-depth overview of horses and is ideal for younger elementary aged children. We skipped the first 2 pages but the rest of the book was good.
Also look for Let's Try Horseback Riding! by Susa Hammerle, The Perfect Pony by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Chestnut by Constance W. McGeorge, Here Comes Pontus! by Ann-Sofie Jeppson, Five o'clock Charlie by Marguerite Henry, Fritz and the Beautiful Horses by Jan Brett , and My Chincoteague Pony by Susan Jeffers.
Looking for Free Horse Lapbooks?
Go to http://www.homeschoolshare.com/ to find wonderful, free printable lapbooks and lessons based on these horse-related books:
Fritz and the Beautiful Horses by Jan Brett
Billy and Blaze by C.W. Anderson
Leah's Pony by Elizabeth Friedrich
Wild Horses of Sweetbriar by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
The Finest Horse in Town by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Leonardo's Horse by Jean Fritz
Mrs. Mack by Patricia Polacco
Winter Pony by Krista Ruepp
Click on the link at the end of this sentence to find an entire free unit study with wonderful lapbook printables and activities based on the Kentucky Derby .
Looking for all of my lessons written especially for young children?
Explore horse breeds, gaits, diet, and more through games, cooking, and activities in the lesson on horses. Create a model lighthouse, play a lighthouse game, read books about lighthouses, "tour" lighthouses using YouTube, and even eat a lighthouse in this fun, hands-on lesson on lighthouses. Act like privates while training at boot camp, paint camo-style hats, set up a tent, battle using army men, and more in this exciting lesson the military.
- Horse Lesson Plan for Younger Children - Do you have a young child who loves horses? Use this fun, hands-on lesson or play date activity to explore horse breeds, gaits, diet, and more!
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- Sheep, Wool, & Weaving Lesson - Looking for fun preschool and kindergarten ideas on sheep and wool? Make and eat edible sheep, card and dye wool, paint sheep paintings, and more in this fun activity on sheep and wool!
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Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies?
Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies .
Good YouTube Clips on Horses
Video Clips on Horse Breeds
Would you like to teach this way every day?
Konos Curriculum - http://www.konos.com/www/index.html
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)
Konos Home School Mentor - http://homeschoolmentor.com/
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
© 2012 Shannon