Skip to content
  • Open 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission

We are updating our new website in stages. This page will be changed to the new design but is not currently optimised for mobile devices.

You are in site section: Learn


Fun at home activity

Make a hobbyhorse.

Horse head made from paper.


This activity was inspired by the horse toys on show in the exhibition Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story at the National Museum of Australia.

Time and difficulty

This activity takes about 30 minutes.

Hint: You might need to ask an adult for help using scissors to cut out your hobbyhorse head, and to attach the horse’s head to the stick.


Children at our 'Carts, carriages and carousels' summer 2014–2015 Discovery Space made colourful hobbyhorses using cardboard, ribbon, string and crayons.

You can make your own hobbyhorse from everyday objects too. Here are some ideas.

What you need

  • A3 sheet of cardboard
  • printer (optional)
  • cardboard tube, a large piece of dowel, or long stick (about 1 metre)
  • scissors (remember, scissors can be sharp, so ask an adult for help).
  • glue, stapler, double- sided tape, hole punch or whatever you can find to help attach the materials you are using.
  • Decorative materials such as cardboard, fabric, vinyl, ribbon, string, pencils, crayons and paint. Have a look around home for materials to decorate your hobbyhorse.


Step 1

Think about relying on horses for transport before we used cars and buses. In the past, you might have played with a toy hobbyhorse. How would your hobbyhorse move? What games could you play with your toy horse? You might like to do some research or find a picture of a horse to copy. Or check out our Spirited website for inspiration.

Step 2

Take your A3 sheet of cardboard and draw an outline of your horse’s head. Or download the free template we have provided on our website and print it onto an A3-size sheet of cardboard. The template is a mirror image. Think about how you will attach the horse’s head to your cardboard tube or dowel, as this may influence your design.

Step 3

Ask an adult to help cut out the horse’s head using scissors (remember scissors can be sharp).

A demonstration of how to cut out the horse’s head using scissors.

Step 4

Think about the type of horse you would like to make. Will your horse have reins, a mane and what colour will it be? Decorate your horse’s head. Will you colour your horse with crayons or paint, glue on coloured paper or tie fabric and ribbon to the head?

A paper template of a horse's head which has been folded in half so that there is a head on either side.  One side has been decorated.
A hobbyhorse on some grass.

Step 5

Once your horse’s head is decorated, fold the template in half so you have a head on either side. Place the head around the cardboard tube, stick or piece of dowel. Attach it using glue, tape or staples.

Step 6

Take your hobbyhorse for a ride! If you have more time you might like to add some wheels to the bottom of the pole, or ask some friends over to have a horse race. Does your hobbyhorse look like a real horse? Have you given it a name? Imagine if you had to go everywhere by horse. What would life be like?

Share your creation

Ride your hobbyhorse around your house and yard or at the park. Share your creation with us by sending a photo to: We will add your photo to the National Museum’s Flickr stream, where you can see other craft creations from our Discovery Space.

Return to Top