Preschool aged children love everything to do with the Wild West: cowboys and cowgirls, rodeos, horses, and cows. This western themed lesson plan is designed for preschool students and is effective in large group, small group, and home school settings.
Cowboy and Cowgirl Vests
For each child, cut a large paper bag into a vest shape by cutting out armholes, cutting a slit up the front, and by cutting a hole out of the bottom of the bag. Let each child decorate his or her bag with paint, markers, or crayons. When finished, show each child how to make a fringe by trimming the bottom with scissors.
Cowboy and Cowgirl Bandanas
Give each child a square piece of cloth, or white bandana. Let them decorate their bandanas with fabric markers or use sponges cut to be shaped like cacti, horses, and cowboy boots and puff paint to make western prints. Show students how to fold their bandanas into triangles then help them tie the bandanas around their necks.
Panning for Gold
Paint small rocks with gold paint and let dry. Hide them in the sand in a sand table or sand box. Give students sand sifters to go panning for gold. Discuss why the “gold” stays in the sifters and the sand does not.
Toy Horse Races
Have a few hobby horses on hand and let students have horse races during their outdoor play. You can also use broom handles as horses if you don’t have any hobby horses available.
Cowboy Boot Match
Cut out cowboy boots in identical shapes and decorate them differently so that each boot has a matching pair. Mix the boots up and let students make pairs by matching the boots.
Create a play campfire with a ring or rocks, some twigs, and orange and yellow tissue paper. Teach students cowboy songs to sing around the campfire such as “Red River Valley,” and “Home on the Range.”
Wild West Snacks
Serve up bowls of baked beans with cut up hot dogs mixed in and biscuits for lunch. For snack time, let students sample small pieces of beef jerky and dried fruit or give them each a handful of trail mix.
Western Themed Books
The Zebra-Riding Cowboy collected by Angela Shelf Medearis
Cowboy Small by Lois Lenski
Cowboy Dreams written and illustrated by Dayal Kaur Khalsa
Pecos Bill retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Someday Rider by Ann Herbert Scott
The Cowboy and the Black-eyed Pea by Tony Johnston