I loved to play with my Kindergartners!  Along with our Farm unit, I loved including some lessons about Cowboys!

We started out making a Cowboy book.

We spent several days making the cowboy on the front cover.  His name is Cowboy Dan, and I found a poem that describes all of his clothes, and why they were important to his job.  The poem was an easy way to talk about how his clothing helped him do his job.

This barn opens up and the children drew themselves inside – wearing Cowboy apparel.

We learned cow facts – and also the difference between cows and cattle.

Each child created their own brands, using their initials.

The white paper is taped at the top and when you lift it up the children drew food cowboys might eat underneath.

Here are some masters that you might want to use:

cowboy book masters

Cowboy Dan

I turned our dramatic play area into a jail.  We used 2 bracelets tied together for handcuffs.  We had serious classroom discussions about “bad guys” and how to play here safely.

Every spring I had an evening parent/child activity with a theme that might especially appeal to Dads – who often don’t get to be part of our classroom during the day (I know that is stereotypical, but it was true in my school.)  We alternated between Outer Space, Pirates and Cowboys.  One of the activities was a simple dinner, and the parents and children were free to do the activities in any order they liked.  Many of these activities could be used as a regular center or project in your classroom too.

Here is our invitation:

Here is a list of the activities for the evening:

Here are some pictures of the parents and children enjoying this special night!

I provided triangles of unbleached muslin and fabric crayons.  The children drew designs and the parents ironed them on – then tied on the bandanas!

This Grandma was helping her grandson make a chuckwagon from a milk carton.

She was “roping” a chair by tossing a hula hoop around it.

These little cowpokes were using an overhead projector – I provided pieces of cowboys – a variety of heads with hats, bodies, horses.  They picked some and put them together on the overhead, then traced them onto a large black paper and cut them out.

Here you can see the vests we made – I had a bunch of felt and made up a pattern that only had to be hot glued together at the shoulders.  This Mom happened to be a First Grade teacher, and after her daughter quit playing with the vest she brought it to her classroom and used it during Reader’s Workshop.  The child wearing the vest was the “Go-To” person, so they wouldn’t interrupt the teacher.  She conducted a little training class for children who wanted this job, showing them how to rewind the audio player, use the electric pencil sharpener, etc.  — things that she would often be interrupted to help with.  Each day  one of those “trained” volunteers would wear the vest and the class would go to them first before interrupting her instruction of small groups.

This family was “milking a cow” using a rubber glove!

One of the highlights of the night was riding Sunshine and Tumbleweed!  Sometimes I was able to borrow real saddles – other times we just sat on the hay bales!

Here are some of the masters for the activities:

activity list



more directions


Colorful Cow Pies

Cowboy Vests


Here are some masters that I found in my old files from when I first did a Cowboy Night – maybe you can find something useful here!

older masters

Here are some songs and projects that you might be able to use too!

songs and projects

I guess I didn’t save most of my cowboy books, this Elmo book was fun to read, and explained a few things about cowboys and rodeos.

I hope I gave the rest of my cowboy books to Owen, he has quite a library!  But I always used a wonderful resource that was available at my public library – it is called From A to Zoo, Subject Access to Children’s Picture Books.  You could look up just about any topic and this book lists trade books on the subject.  It provides ISBN numbers too, so it isn’t too hard to find the books you are interested in.  I know that tons of stuff is available online, but I used this resource so often I finally got our school library to buy it – new versions come out regularly, or at least they used to!!  SO – if you are looking for more cowboy books – try to find a copy of From A to Zoo!

I guess I’ll mosey along now.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rachel Kuser
    May 10, 2011 @ 15:22:04

    I love, love, love ALL of your ideas, especially the theme night ideas! I teach pre-k at a private daycare and during the summer we do lots of themes for each week. I will definitely be using many of your great ideas this summer. (I will teach children going into K and 1st grade) Thanks so much, and keep them coming!
    P.S. Thanks for including the masters and clipart too! So many times I see pictures of ideas on other sites and have to create them from scratch! You truly are a life-saver!


  2. Angela
    Mar 11, 2012 @ 17:53:46

    Thank you so much for the cowboy theme ideas! I am a homeschooling mom and we will use these ideas this week!


  3. Debbie McKnight
    Apr 14, 2012 @ 22:04:39

    I love love love all your ideas especially cowboy Dan. I have my kindergarten classroom decorated in a western theme for the past 4 years. We will definitely do some of your ideas. Keep them coming.


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