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Derby Crafts for Kids

by Zora Hughes

For horse race fans, the Kentucky Derby, held on the first Saturday of May each year, is the biggest event of the season, featuring days of celebrations for two minutes of exhilarating horse racing. If your family loves the Kentucky Derby, get your child in on all the excitement of the day with a variety of kid-friendly crafts that celebrate all things derby.

Hat Crafts

Help your child make her own fancy hat, like the ladies wear who attend the Kentucky Derby. You can start with a plain floppy straw hat and give your child an array of colorful ribbons, bows and silk flowers to attach to her hat with tape. You can also make a kraft paper derby hat. Place three sheets of kraft paper at different angles on your child's head and make a hat shape around it with tape. Remove the paper and tape the inside to keep the shape. Crinkle and fold up the edges of the paper to create a hat brim, using staples to secure it. Give your child colorful tissue paper to shape into flower petals and tape them all over the brim of the hat to complete the look.

Horse Craft

Make a horse paper bag puppet to represent the horses in the derby. Help your child cut out an oval shape for the horse face out of brown construction paper. Paste it to the flap of a brown paper bag. Cut out a light brown snout and paste it to the bottom of the horse mouth using non-toxic school glue. Give your child googly eyes to add to the horse face, and have him cut out two ears, four brown legs and black hooves to paste in the appropriate places on the paper bag. You can also make a stick horse using a broom stick. Stuff a brown paper bag with torn pieces of newspaper, add a paper eye and an ear on either side of the bag and a circle for the snout at the end of the bag. Insert the broomstick just a few inches into the bag and gather the ends of the bag around the stick, securing with plenty of rubber bands. Glue a brown feather boa around the top of the broomstick and the back to create a mane and to hide the rubber bands.

Derby Wreath

Have your child make a horseshoe-shaped wreath to hang around on the door for derby day. Cut a horseshoe shape out of cardboard, then let your child paint the cardboard in bright colors. She can glue tissue paper flowers in various places along the horseshoe once the paint dries. Leave space to write "Happy Derby Day!" or something similar on the horseshoe. To hang, poke a hole at the top ends of the horse shoe and attach a long ribbon. As a variation of this, cut out small horseshoes out of cardboard, have your child paint and decorate each, and link them together, using tape and non-toxic school glue to secure all the horseshoes together.

Trophy Craft

Show your child how to make a trophy craft she can use when pretending to win the derby. To make a paper cup trophy, tape the bottoms of two paper cups together. Have your child paint the two cups gold on the inside and outside, using non-toxic gold craft paint. Allow the paint to dry overnight. Help your child cut out two D shapes from gold poster board paper and attach it to the sides of the cup to create a handle. Your child can then paint "1st Place" onto the cup trophy using black paint. If you want a base, wrap a small box in gold wrapping paper and glue the rim of the cup. Your can also create medals, cutting out circles from cardboard and having your child paint them gold and silver, then drawing a design on the medals. Hole punch the medals at the top to add a string.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

Photo Credits

  • Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images