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Make your own hobbyhorse from everyday objects inspired by the horse toys in the exhibition Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story at the National Museum of Australia.

Did you know ...

Horses were used for transport before we used cars and buses.

In the past, you might have played with a toy hobbyhorse. What games could you play with your toy horse? How would your hobbyhorse move?

How to make a hobbyhorse

Skill level: ★★ Medium – you may need an adult to help
30 minutes
Ages: 5 years and up

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

Steps 1–2

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.
  • 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 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.

Steps 3–4

A demonstration of how to cut out the horse’s head using scissors.
    • Ask an adult to help cut out the horse’s head using scissors (remember scissors can be sharp).
    • 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?

Steps 5–6

A hobbyhorse on some grass.
  • 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.
  • 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! Ask an adult if you can send a photo or video to:

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