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Toy horse and rider

Fun at home activity

Make a toy horse and rider.

Horse and cowboy bush toy

Inspiration

Horse toys was inspired by the large metal sculptures of horses and the small bush toys in the Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story exhibition at the National Museum of Australia.

The bush toy pictured below was made by Tristan Young and is part of the Museum’s collection.

Activity

Do you like horses? Do you have a horse toy? Our Spirited exhibition looks at how horses and people work together. Kids in the October 2014 Discovery Space at the National Museum made their own bush toy horse out of wire and other materials. At home you can make your horse toy from everyday objects too.

Time and difficulty

This activity takes about an hour, is slightly difficult and you may need an adult to help. This is a good activity to do with a friend, as you can help each other wrap the wire and if you have time, one person can create the horse and another the rider.

Hint: If you use materials from around the house, make sure you ask an adult first if it is okay to use them. You might need to ask an adult for help  with cutting, or wrapping wire to your toys.

What you need

  • lots of fencing wire (standard 2.5 millimetres wide and about 4 metres in length). You may like to cut this into several pieces to make it easier to work with.
  • electrical wire (around 60 centimetres is a good length). This works well to form a solid frame.
  • pliers and scissors (it is very important to ask an adult to help using these, as they can be sharp).
  • twine, blu tac or rubber bands to help attach things to your toys.
  • decorative materials such as wool, vinyl, plastic and fabric. You can use almost anything!  Bottle tops and lids make great helmets and hats.

Steps

1. Think about the size, shape and stance of your horse toy.  You might like to do some research and find a picture of a horse.  Check out our Spirited website for more inspiration. 

2. Prepare your materials.  Ask an adult for help with cutting and wrapping of wire. Check that any sharp edges, such as the ends of electrical wire, are removed before you begin.

A range of materials including electrical wire, fencing wire, wire cutters, twine, wool and fabric scraps.

3. Take the electrical wire (about 60cm) and start bending it to form a horse’s head, and then continue bending until you have formed a body and four legs.

Electrical wire bent into the shape of a horse.

4. Once your electrical wire frame is complete, start wrapping the fencing wire around it. The tighter and closer you wind the fencing wire, the stronger the body will become.  When finished, cut the end and push it into the frame so it is out of the way.

Electrical wire bent into the shape of a horse. Fencing wire is wrapped around the centre of the horse.

5. Tie the wool or twine onto the frame to form the tail. Do the same for the horse’s mane but with smaller pieces. Tease out the ends to create a bushier effect.

Electrical wire bent into the shape of a horse. Fencing wire is wrapped around the centre of the horse. Wool and twine have been added to form a tail and a mane.

6.  If you have more time you may like to create a rider for your horse and decorate it with other items from around the house. Use blue tac, glue, twine, rubber bands or a combination of these items to attach items to your toys.  Below is an example of our finished horse and rider.

A toy horse and rider.

7.  Congratulations! You are finished. You might like to find a friend and have a horse race. Share your creation with us by emailing a photo to: schoolholidays@nma.gov.au. We will add your photo to the National Museum’s Flickr stream, where you can see other craft creations from our Discovery Space.

Discovery Space

All of our fun at home activities are based on Discovery Space school holiday activities and are developed for kids to do at home if they can’t come to the Museum.  Check out what kids thought of our activities at the Museum.