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Rope Frames

Give each child a 10- by 12-inch piece of cardboard and 4 feet of thin rope or twine. Have the children glue their rope pieces around the edges of their cardboard sheets to make rope frames. Then let them glue pieces of their own artwork or pictures cut from magazines inside their frames.

Variation: Take photos of the children dressed up as cowboys or cowgirls and let them glue their photos inside their frames to give as gifts.

Riding on the Range

Have the children sit in a circle. Let them take turns slapping their thighs (to sound like horses galloping) and saying, "When I go out riding on the range, I always take my ____." Have each child repeat the items mentioned by the previous players and add a new one of his or her own.

Hint: If the children are too young to remember a long list of items, start the list over frequently or just let each child tell what he or she would take on such a journey.

Cowboy Clothes

Cut the following shapes out of felt: a cowboy or cowgirl figure, a hat, a bandanna, a jacket, pants, boots, and a vest. Place the figure on a flannelboard and let the children take turns dressing the cowboy or cowgirl, naming each article of clothing as they put it on.

Cowboy Hat Matching

Cut twelve cowboy hat shapes out of construction paper. Divide the hats into pairs. Color the bands on each pair differently, using stripes, dots or patterns. Mix up the shapes and let the children take turns finding the pairs of hats that have matching bands.

Dress-Up Fun

Have the children dress up in Western gear and pretend to be cowboys or cowgirls out on the range. Let them act out the various ways that cowboys and cowgirls used their hats, bandannas and ropes. If authentic items are unavailable, let the children use wide-brimmed straw or felt hats as Western hats, squares of colored cloth as bandannas and pieces of clothesline or other thin rope as lariats.

I've Been Riding on the Range

Sung to : "I've been Working on the Railroad"

I've been riding on the range,

All the livelong day.

I've been riding on the range,

Herding dogies on their way.

Can't you hear the cowboys shouting,


Can't you hear the cowboys shouting,

"Dogies, move this way!"

Repeat, substituting "cowgirls" for "cowboys". Explain to the children that "dogies" are stray or motherless calves.

Move On, Little Dogies

Sung to : " My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"

All day I ride on the prairie,

All night I sleep on the ground,

Oh, I'm a roaming cowboy,

Who travels around and around.

Move on, move on,

Move on, little dogies, move on,

move on.

Move on, move on,

Move on, little dogies, move on.

Repeat, substituting "cowgirl" for "cowboy".

Chuck Wagon

When cowboys worked on the range, they were followed by the chuck wagon which the cook (called a "cookie") used as a kitchen to prepare such foods as beans, bacon, beef jerky, biscuits, and dried fruits. Make a "chuck wagon" by bending and taping a large piece of posterboard over the top of an ordinary wagon. Choose someone to be the "cookie" and let him or her deliver the day's snack in the chuck wagon.

Beef Jerky

Cover 1 to 2 pounds flank steak (sliced into 1/4-inch strips) with marinade sauce (1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, onion salt, garlic powder to taste) and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Stir occasionally. Drain and place strips on a rack over a shallow pan (or use a broiler pan). Bake at 150 degrees for 8 to 10 hours until dried. Cool and eat or store in a tightly covered container. If the jerky is to be eaten right away, 8 hours of drying time should be sufficient and will make chewing easier for young children.

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Visitors since July 4, 1998