Friday, June 19, 2020

Howdy, Pardner! It's Cowboy Flannel Friday!

Cowboy flannel board, cowgirl felt set, cowboy rhyme

This is another re-make of a flannel board set I had first made in my previous outreach position. This one was made as part of a Western-themed storytime kit, which of course I had to leave behind when I changed jobs. I originally saw it and the accompanying rhyme on Library Village, and printed out Sue's picture to use as a pattern the first time I made it, but I decided to do it a little differently this time.

As cute as the first version was, the pieces turned out too small (something I tend to do for some reason), and I didn't want to make another set that looked so much like someone else's. So this time I found some free printable paper dolls online, and used them as a model to draw my own patterns with a combination of tracing and freehand. (You are welcome to use my patterns, though they are a little rough and you may need to do some tailoring to make everything fit right.) For the horse, I used clip-art as a pattern.

I cut the pieces out of stiffened felt (SO much easier to work with!) and outlined and added details with colored sharpies. I made two complete sets in order to have choices in skin tone, hair color & style, clothing, and accessories. I'm not very good with faces, and I think I made a mistake in trying to get too detailed with the eyes; they were just a bit too small for that. I may end up gluing on googly eyes over them.

I found that it is helpful to put all the pieces on the board around the cowboy first, and discuss each one, so the kids know what the choices are and the terminology you are using (for example, long underwear, not pajamas; bandana instead of scarf, and jeans rather than pants). This will make it easier for them to guess the right answer as younger kids don't quite understand rhyming or pick up on using a rhyming scheme for contextual clues yet.

[I've shown the rhyme with the original text, using "cowboy" and "he". You can of course substitute "cowgirl" and "she", alternate between the two, or introduce the gender neutral inclusive term "cowpoke".]

A Cowboy Dresses 

A cowboy dresses himself with care.
He starts with long, red _____ (UNDERWEAR).

Out in the desert, you don't want to get hurt, 
So the cowboy wears a strong plaid _____ (SHIRT).

Deserts and prairies are the cowboy's scenes;
To protect his legs, he wears sturdy blue _____ (JEANS).

The cowboy bent, and ran, and knelt.
To keep his pants up, he wore a leather _____ (BELT).

The coyote howls; the old owl hoots.
On his feet, the cowboy wears leather _____ (BOOTS).

The dust gets stirred up by the Santa Ana's (pause and explain);
So around his neck he wears a soft _____ (BANDANA).

A cowboy is a cowboy, and that is that!
On top of his head, he wears a ten-gallon _____ (HAT).

He's all dressed from head to feet,
And now our cowboy can't be beat!

After we do it once, I stop and take time to talk about rhyming words and discuss the rhyming words in the poem and show how that gives you a clue as to what the word should be. Then we do it a second time, which gives a great opportunity to show a cowgirl and a different skin tone, and discuss that anybody can be a cowboy, and talk about the different terms that can be used: cowboy, cowgirl, cowpoke, cow hand, ranch hand, cattle herder, vaquero (Spanish), gaucho (Spanish, Argentina). 

This is a great activity for a cowboy or western-themed storytime, or talking about getting dressed by yourself.

And as you probably know by now, I like to find multiple uses for my flannel sets, so here is another simple rhyme you could use this set with by adding a pair of chaps and a horse.

"I'm A Little Cowpoke"
(to the tune of "I'm A Little Teapot")
*Source:  Sunflower Storytime

I'm a little cowpoke.     (point to self)
                         Here is my hat.     (pretend to pull hat down)
Here are my boots,     (stomp feet)   
 And here are my chaps.     (slap sides of legs)
When I get up, I work all day.     (yawn & stretch)            
 Get on my horse,     (say "Neigh")
         And ride away!     (pretend to ride)

For more felt & flannel ideas and tips, check out the Flannel Friday Facebook group and Pinterest Boards! To share your flannel, submit via the Flannel Friday Tumblr. For complete information and all the details, visit the main Flannel Friday website.

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