Some preschoolers love trucks, and some love princesses, but few childhood passions run stronger than a love of horses. While a full-blown horse obsession generally takes shape during the elementary school years, younger children can also show symptoms of the condition. As preschoolers are still mostly too little to ride a real, live horse, they tend to express their passion through an insatiable appetite for all things equine: books about horses, crafts, toys, games and more. So indulge your little horse-lover, if you will, with some of the excellent educational playthings below. If a love of horses can get our kids into reading, art and even animal husbandry, then saddle on up, we say.
Billy and Blaze by C.W. Anderson
This 1936 classic is the first in a still popular series of books about a boy and his pony. In subsequent volumes, the pair have all sorts of adventures together, confronting forest fires and mountain lions among other dangers, but here they meet for the first time. And what a sweet meeting it is! The text and pictures are absolutely lovely, and perfect for reading aloud or early independent reading.
Horse Stable Stamp Set by Melissa and Doug
One of the simple reasons small children love horses is that they are just so pretty! For that same reason, they long to be able draw horses. This horse stamp set makes it simple. Soon, they’ll be churning out more pictures of horses jumping, galloping, and grazing than even the most devoted equestrian would know what to do with!
Sticky Mosaics: Unicorns and Ponies
What is a horse-lover to do on a rainy afternoon? Why put together a pony mosaic, of course. Or, a unicorn mosaic will do as well. These sparkly creations occupy hours at a time, and develop fine-motor skills in the process.
Horse Play Card Game
Want to play cards? If they are horse cards, I do! So might reply a truly horse-obsessed child. And if horses lead them to learn a few of the classic card games, all the better.
Horse Floor Puzzle by Crocodile Creek
We are big fans of all the Crocodile Creek puzzles, and this horse puzzle is no exception. The pictures are attractive, the pieces are durable, and the design incorporates several smaller puzzles within a large one to build the young puzzle-maker’s confidence. Blue ribbon!
Breyer Classics Three Horse Stable Set
A small child’s love for horses often resides almost entirely in the realm of fantasy. This little pink stable and resident horses can be the starting point for a rich experience of pretend play. And Breyer makes loads of pretty model horses to add to your child’s collection.
My First Horse and Pony Book
Colorful photographs and lots of well-presented information about riding and caring for horses make this book a must-have for young horse-lovers. It will fill them with new concepts and vocabulary, as well as a longing to dive right into the pictures and ride a real horse!
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
This Caldecott Medal winning classic from 1978 is well worth sharing with your 21st century children. It tells the story of a Native American girl who tends her tribe’s horses, and loves them so much that she chooses to join them. Themes of connection to nature, and of each person’s unique path come together in a captivating story. The beautifully stylized pictures will mesmerize any child who is fond of horses.
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