Interactive Big Books

Children love cowboys and they will love dressing up their cowboy for the rodeo to the tune Muffin Man. Multicultural!! Print out the book of your choice: a cowboy of color or a caucasian cowboy! Literacy skills are developed as children dress the cowboy while singing the familiar tune. These books are also a great resource for teaching English as a second language. Anyone can use these books to help children learn to read.
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Rock salt and small crumpled red tissue paper was glued on cactus shapes.


They drew an oil rig, painted bluebonnets and put a heart sticker for our school. CCA is deep in the heart of Texas!




Our bluebonnets were made using the old kind of kitchen sponges (the kind on a plastic stick) and 3 paint colors: dark blue, light blue and white. Gently dip the sponge in each color then blot around pre drawn stem and leaves. The 3 colors and the sponge give the painting a beautiful unique color and texture.


Our pecan tree leaves were made with 2 colors of tissue paper glued on a leaf shape and a pecan half glued in the center.


Template here. Children color bird and cut out the bird and its wings separately. Punch a hole in the bird and wings- attach with a metal brad.

Monarch Butterlies

We marble painted a blackline monarch butterfly.


I preprogrammed this art work first by gluing die cut hat and boots to the top and bottom of a white piece of construction paper. The kids then drew their own cowboy or cowgirl in between the hat and boots. They all turned out very unique. I took dictation about their cowboy and horse.


"Boot Hill" - we cut out and decorated boots.


We did a self portrait on a WANTED poster. Of course all my students are wanted because they are special. Each child dictated something about themselves that they like. Get your free pattern here.



We played a fun dice game predicting which side of the dice would come up the most times first. We also played this more than once counting the total number of rolls it took to finally complete a column and comparing the the results. I got this game online but don't remember where. If you know please let me know so I can add a link.


Chicken Dance! Oh what fun!


Pinto beans in the sensory tub.



Submitted by Terrance
(tune: Allouette)
Armadillo, little armadillo.
 Armadillo, curling up so small.
 Now he's curling up his head.
  (Now he's curling up his head)
 Curl his head (Curl his head), O-O-O-O
 Armadillo, little armadillo.
 Armadillo, curling up so small.
 Now he's curling up his legs.
 (Now he's curling up his legs)
 Curl his legs (Curl his legs)
 Curl his head (Curl his head), O-O-O-O
 Armadillo, little armadillo.
 Armadillo, curling up so small.
 Now he's curling up his tail
 (Now he's curling up his tail)
 Curl his tail (Curl his tail)
 Curl his legs (Curl his legs)
 Curl his head (Curl his head), O-O-O-O
 Armadillo, little armadillo.
 Armadillo, curling up so small.

  Submitted by Terrance
(Make felt cutouts of the articles of clothing-glue his head, hands, and feet onto the red flannel underwear-and dress him with this rhyme)              
 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 wool ______(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, he wears leather ______(BOOTS).
 It isn't yellow, so it's not a banana;
 Around his neck, he wears a soft ______(BANDANA).
 A cowboy is a cowboy, and that is that!
 On top of his head, he wore a ten-gallon ______(HAT).
 He's all dressed from head to feet,
 And now our cowboy can't be beat!

I'm a Little Cowpoke
(tune: I'm a Little Teapot)
I'm a little cowpoke
Here is my hat
Here are my spurs
And here are my chaps
As soon as I get up
I work all day
I get on my horse
And ride away

Look around the Desert.. (Did You Ever See A Lassie) 
Oh, Look around the desert, 
the desert, the desert. 
Oh, Look around the desert. 
Now what do you see? 
Oh, I see some (sand!) 
Yes, I see some (sand!) 
Oh look around the desert 
Do you see it, Too? 
(You may change the word in ( ) to Lizards, horses, prairie dogs, owls, roadrunners, cactus, snakes, coyote, for additional verses) 

Provide plastic combs and wax paper for the children to make harmonicas by wrapping the wax paper around the comb (attach with a rubber band, if needed), then humming through the wax paper.
Original song (Tune: "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain") 
She'll be fryin' eggs for breakfast when she comes (sizzle, sizzle)
She'll be fryin' eggs for breakfast when she comes (sizzle, sizzle)
She'll be fryin' eggs for breakfast
She'll be fryin' eggs for breakfast
She'll be fryin' eggs for breakfast
When she comes.
Additional verses:
She'll be washin' clothes on a washboard when she comes....(rub, rub)
She'll be choppin' wood for a fire when she comes.....(chop, chop)
She'll be swimminin' the fish pond when she comes.....(splash, splash) 

Boot Craft-
Decorate a black construction paper cowboy boot cutout with sequins and stars. Encourage their creativity. These are fun!
Rope Pictures-
Make rope pictures- they arrange a length of clothesline on a piece of cardboard in any design they wish. Secure with tacky glue.
Bean Names-
Print their first names on rectangular pieces of orange poster paper. Make them large enough for them to glue pinto beans on the letters.
(Cowboys eat lots of beans!) Some will need for you to outline the letters with tacky glue. A few can do it.
Horse Shoe Prints-
I have cut out horseshoe shapes from sponges and had them do prints. Brown paint on manila paper.
Horse Heads-
I have made horse head stencils for them to trace and then they add details. We cut these double and attach them to yardsticks for hobbyhorses. Use yarn for manes. Grocery bags are good for this.
Make rattlesnakes out of paper plates. Draw a spiral snake. Have them design it! Cut it out.
Western Vest-
Make a western vest. Using Brown Paper bag cut out vests, and allow each to decorate with markers, crayons, stencils, etc.
Cardboard Horses-
Make horses out of cardboard boxes: Cut the bottom out of a box Cut handles on each side. Cut a head from more cardboard (side view) and glue on front. Paint them with house paint before hand or have kids glue on big sheets of construction paper. Decorate with ribbons or stickers and yarn for mane, construction paper ears, buy big eyes from a craft store or make them from black and white paper or felt. Then have kids hold horse at the side and walk/run around while music plays or jump over simple jumps (the library might have some tapes - or use William Tell's overture).
Covered wagon:
to make one you will need
1/2 sheet of construction paper
1 whole sheet of brown const paper
2 circles cut from construction pear
let the kids decorate the full sheet with brands or whatever.....when they are dry you fold over the full sheet but do not crease it...then staple or glue it to the 1/2 sheet.....glue the circles (wheels) to the bottom and there ya go!!
A Campfire
Make a block circle with red and orange tissue paper inside. Add a cooling rack on top. The kids had fun cooking outside like real cowboys!
Horsetail Painting... 
Fan out several pieces of rope to resemble horses tails. Have the children  paint on paper any picture desired.
Potato Brands:
Cut potatoes in half and then carve in a brand, use them to print on cow pictures.
Sheriffs Star:
Cut out stars and have the kids cover them in tin foil. Decorate with permanent markers. Tape a safety pin on the back and wear.
Branded Cowhides:
Large grocery bags tear off the edges and crumple in to a ball. Open the paper and let the children brand them with potato brands.
Save wrapping paper rolls; add an oval shape with one end flat for the face. Tape to the top of the tube. Let the kids decorate the face before it gets taped on, add wiggle eyes. Add a piece of material that the kids can shred or cut into fringe-like pieces for the horse's mane. This can be taped to the tube using electrical tape or colored masking tape.
Cereal Box Covered Wagons:
Cut the front panel off and individual size cereal box then have each child paint box brown. Punch 4 holes in each box, at least ¸ inch from the bottom and sides of the box. Staple a 4x9 strip of paper to each side of the box. Cut four 2-inch circles from a
Styrofoam meat tray. Poke a brad through the middle of each wheel, connect the wheels to the wagon by inserting the brads through the holes and loosely opening the arms. Tape one end of a length of yarn to the front of the wagon. 
Cactus Collages:
Paint a strip of glue at the bottom of the page; then sprinkle sand onto the glues. Use colored chalk to draw and color a cactus base. Sponge-paint several cactus arms that touch the base. Glue toothpick spines to the cactus collage.
Make spurs using a sentence strip cut into thirds lengthwise. Cut the strip to fit around the ankle of the child. Staple the ends of the strip and staple a star on where the strip is joined together. 
Make Chaps put of butcher paper. Cut the length of the child and cut this to look like the front of pants. Add yarn for the tassels and to tie around the leg. Let the kids decorate.

BAked Bean Bread
It works well to use those Campbell soup cans. After your are done baking the bread in them it looks nice to tie a bandana material around the center of the can. Kids really like this even though you might think They wouldn't! 
Baked Bean Bread
2 cups flour, 
2 cups sugar, 
1 cup oil,
3 eggs,
1t. vanilla, 
1 can pork & beans (16 oz.) drained, 
1/2 t. baking powder, 
1/2 t. soda, 
1 cup raisins optional. 
Mix sugar, oil, beans. Mix flour, dry ingredients, put together with vanilla. Fill 5 greased (sprayed with pam) 16 oz cans 2/3 full with batter. Bake 45-50 minutes At 325 degrees.

Makes 4 dozen
2 cups sugar
5 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter(1 stick)
1/2 c chunky peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats
Cover baking sheet with wax paper & set aside .Combine sugar & cocoa in a large saucepan. Stir in milk, butter,& peanut butter. Cook & stir over medium heat until butter melts & mixture is combined, about 5 to 10 minutes .Turn the heat off ,stir in vanilla ,oats,& nuts,& mix thoroughly. Take a teaspoon & scoop out
a spoonful of the mixture: drop the spoonful onto the waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the mixture .Place in the refrigerator until the cookies are cooled & set. Coyote Caution: Be sure to remove the mixture of milk, butter & peanut butter from the heat before you add the oats & nuts; this will prevent the mixture from burning & will allow the mixture to start cooling so you can safely spoon it out.

Trail Mix-
we also made trail mix in class.....the kids decorated their "saddle bags"...brown lunch bags....then went to the table to pick and choose what they would like to put into their trail mix...we put out treats like:
mini pretzels mini marshmallows raisins little toasted breads....etc etc. choc chips chex cereal then we took our bags outside for a cowboy picnic!!

Cowboy Hat matching
I made different cowboy hats adding different patterns to the hatbands. The kids matched the two that look alike and they also started playing
"concentration" with them.

The Zebra-Riding Cowboy collected by Angela Shelf Medearis
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

Submitted by Ginger
I have an outline of a bluebonnet drawn on a piece of construction paper.  I have also cut up lots of small blue squares out of tissue paper.  The students use the end of their pencil to wrap each piece of tissue paper around their eraser end.  The students put a dot of glue on the inside of their outlined bluebonnet and stick the end of their pencil in the glue.  This makes the tissue paper come off.  The students need to repeat this step until all of the white space is filled in. They can use a few white squares to put at the top.  This looks great hanging around the room when you are studying Texas.

Stick Horses:
 Submitted by Kimberly
Trace two large horse heads on brown mailing paper and hot glue all but the bottom. Have the children stuff newspaper in it and add features (eye, mouth). Stick a wooden dowel, yardstick, or old mop handle up in it and Gidde up...you have a horse!

 Submitted by Peggy
Dress in Western wear & let children name each article of clothing. Discuss the purpose of large brimmed hat (weather protection), bandanas, (dust protection), chaps, boots, ponchos, etc.
Discuss the ways cowpokes use ropes, such as roping and tying.
Talk about items cowpokes might need on the trail, like matches, frying pans, cups, plates et. Demonstrate how to fold a blanket into a bedroll. Practice tying with rope.
Discuss the many uses of horses on a ranch. Talk about the care of horses. Mention how horses are measured (by hands) This is also ties in with math - see below.
Making hay: Invite the children to plant rye grass seeds. After it grows tall they can cut it and dry it to make hay.
Cowpoke vests: Cut vest from grocery sacks and invite children to decorate them with crayons, tempera paints, and even glitter.
Bandana: Provide 16" squares of fabric (old sheets). Using western shapes sponges or cookie cutters children dip sponges or cookie cutters in tempera paint and press on to fabric.
Dust storm: Provide sand, paper, and glue. Have children create dust storm.
Horse tail painting: Unravel pieces of rope to make horse-tail paintbrushes. Encourage children to paint with them.
Charcoal Writing: Explain that burned logs (charcoal) can be used for marking or drawing. Provide charcoal or black chalk and white construction paper for children to draw or practice writing name or western words. (depending on level of child).
 Gross Motor:
Bean Bag Toss: Toss small bean bags into cowboy hat.
Target practice: Hang a felt target on wall. Wrap 2 strips Velcro around Ping-Pong balls. Children throw balls at target.
Chuck Wagon Golf: Curve construction paper into wagon covers and tape them to floor in a croquet like pattern. Give children Ping-Pong balls and clubs made from wrapping paper tubes.
 Fine Motor:
Yarn Braiding: Provide yarn and show children how to braid it into a rope.
Rope tying: Provide pieces of rope or thick yarn for children to practice tying knots.
Hat Prints: Provide sponges cut into western hat shape and two or three colors of paint. Encourage children to sponge paint hat patterns.
Ordering ropes: Provide ropes of different lengths and ask children to place in order from shortest to longest.
Bean Counting: Provide bags of beans, several containers, scoop, strainers, and balance scales. Encourage children to scoop, measure and count beans.
Hands High: Mark child's height on chart paper with chalk. Ask child to estimate then count how many hands tall he/she is.
Horseshoes: Use tall chip cans (Pringles) and toss plastic rings around cans. Can keep tally.
 Cooking and Snacking:
Haystacks: In an electric skillet melt one package of butterscotch morsels. Stir in one can of Chinese noodles. Drop by spoonfuls into wax paper to look like haystacks.
Trail Mix: Let children combine dry cereal, raisins, pretzels, and pumpkin seeds to make trail mix.
Buckaroo Cookies: (No-Bake)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 tablespoons honey
graham crackers
mixing bowl and spoon
reseal able plastic bag
rolling pin
Pour raisins, dates, and honey into mixing bowl. Put several graham crackers in plastic bag. Seal and crush them with a rolling pin. Add honey fruit mixture until the mixture is dry enough to roll into balls.
 Music and Movement Games:
Bandana Partner Game: Using one bandana between 2 people, one throws it up and the other catches it before it hits the ground. Call out body parts: "Catch it on you arm, leg, finger, foot, elbow, chest." Let children call out others. Play western music while game is played.
Giddy-Up Horsy
Tune Ride a Horsy
(First pretend to mount your horse - hold reins and sing:)
Gid - dy   up  horsy, Go to town.
Gid - dy   up  horsy,
Oops, fall down! (fall down)
Say "Hey what happened? Lets all get up and dust off our jeans and try this again."
Try again and again with same results.
Then say "I know! Maybe he's hungry! Let's feed him some hay." Demonstrate how to hold hand flat and pretend to feed horse. We usually chew like a horse too.
Now say, "There that should do the trick" And mount your horse and sing song again this time ending with:
"Ha! Ha! Ha! I didn't fall down!"
 Jump Jim Joe
Divide class in half and make two circles one inside the other. The inner circle faces out and the outer circle faces in - each child faces a partner. Sing this song and do the motions. Tune: Turkey in the Straw
Jump, jump, jump Jim Joe.
Face your partner and bow real low.
Swing your partner nice and slow.
Jump, jump, Jim Joe.
Skip, skip, skip Jim Joe.
Hold hands with your partner
And away we go
Skip around the circle nice and slow
Stop, stop, stop Jim Joe
Clap, clap, clap Jim Joe
Stretch up high and touch your toes.
Cross your arms and do-si-do
Clap clap, clap Jim Joe
 Cotton - Eyed Jo
Can be taught to all ages. For a variation teach partners to spin and change places. Also use entire class to make a "wheel" shape.
 Heehaw Walk:  Make grid on floor using chalk or tape like grid in cake walk. Put western symbols, letters, numbers in each space. Put on western music and children walk around grid and when music stops all stop in one square. Pull matching symbol out of western hat and person on that matching square gives a big YEEHAW! (you can keep score or award prizes but I like noncompetitive games where all benefit from playing).

Texas songs
 Submitted by Peg and Betty
Tune: Bingo
I know a state that's big and great
And Texas is it's name oh
T - E - X - A - S
T - E - X - A - S
T - E - X - A - S
and Texas is its name-o.
(Continue with song leaving off letter just like in Bingo)

Talk about state items like state bird is Mockingbird, state flower is bluebonnet, state tree is pecan tree, state capital is Austin and Texas comes from Spanish word Tejas meaning Friendly. Texas' natural resources are oil and cotton.

Art: Crayon rubbing Texas shape
Color Texas state then glue on cotton ball and oil derrick. Or can finger paint on a dab of black paint for oil.

Paint bluebonnets using rubber band paintbrush. This makes a BEAUTIFUL flower.
To make rubber band paintbrush take package of rubber bands and secure them (I use packaging tape) to rolled up newspaper. (The rubber bands should hang like floppy bristles on a brush)
To paint bluebonnet:
Need Dark blue paint, light blue paint and white paint.
Pour small amount of each color on a plate. Child takes brush and dips it in all three colors one at a time (in other words dip brush in dark blue, then light blue, then white) now child DABS brush( do not rub or paint cause it looses effect) on paper in a bluebonnet shape . Finish with green stem and green grass cut from construction paper.
 Pecan Collage
 I usually put out scraps of paper (by this time of year we have a box full of colorful scraps in all sorts of shapes). Add pecan shells and let children individually or as large group glue on paper scraps and pecan shells on poster board. When completed they tell me the story of their art. (When group does this project story is always a laugh).
Trace and practice writing words Texas and Tejas or the letter of the day.
 Rope Em Up : Write letter of day or word Texas on construction paper. Trace letter with glue. Use yarn or thin rope and glue to letter. Can do this same technique tracing the entire state.
Use a styrofoam food tray and turn upside down. With magic marker write word Texas or letter of day. Children use push pins (kind with large heads) to "trace" word or letter.

Tangram state shape.
 Pasta Pattern:  Buy the packaged Texas shaped pasta (which comes in different colors). Child glues pasta around state shape, boot shape, or cowboy hat shape (precut out of poster board) making pattern.

 Bluebonnet Flower Arranging
Plastic Coke bottles (the small ones)
Silk bluebonnets.
Number each plastic bottle with numbers 0 - 5
Child puts correct number of bluebonnets in each bottle

 Put out large jar filled with pecans. Children guesstimate how many in jar. At days end all count together actual number. One closest can take home jar.
PECAN HOPSCOTCH: make hopscotch grid with chalk or tape on floor or sidewalk outside. Toss pecan on hopscotch grid. Call out number pecan landed on. Now hopscotch skipping the square your pecan landed on.
Measure using pecans......lay on floor and measure how many pecans tall you are......how many pecans long is your shoe.......etc
 Fine motor  - crack pecans. Usually the pecans themselves are too hard for young hands to crack so I crack them and they have to dig out pecans.

Here are some songs/fingerplays/poems:
 There Was an Old Woman
There was an old woman
Who lived in a boot.
She had so many cowpokes
She didn't know what to do.
She gave them some cornbread
Without any chili.
And sent them to bed
Because they were silly!

Diddle, Diddle, Dumplin'
 Diddle, diddle, dumplin
My son, John,
Went to bed
With his blue jeans on.
One boot off
And one boot on.
Diddle, diddle, dumplin
My son, John.

 I'm a Tex  (substitute your own word)
I'm a Tex, I'm a Tex,
I'm a Texas Star.
I come from the west
Where the cowboys are.
I can ride 'em
I can rope 'em
I can show 'em how it's done.
Come on you cowboys
With your six-shootin' gun.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! (we pretend to shoot in air)
Whoo,  whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo,  (pretend to blow at gun)
Click, click, click, click, click (clicking sound with mouth with action of putting away the gun.)

I'm a Texas Star.
I eat pinto beans
From a great big jar
With some bacon
And some biscuits
And a little bit of salt.
Cookie burned my finger (Cookie is the name given to the cook)
But it's not my fault!
Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch! (shake fingers as if hurting)
Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo! (blow on fingers)
Click, click, click, click, click  ( same as above sound, but put in "pockets")

 Little Miss Muffet
 Little Miss Muffet
Sat in her saddle
Eating some cowboy stew.
Along came an armadillo (a Texas thing!!!-sub your own word!)
And sat down beside her
Now wouldn't that frighten YOU?

Branding :  Make pancakes with the child's initial in it.
Make a simple horse or cow and stamp with initials using stampers.
Make 2 copies of matching brands (be creative!) and create you own matching game.
Sponge paint with letters to brand things.
Have children create their own brands using their initials.  Draw them with glue on some tag board or make with rope.  Let them dry and then use them to rub over with a crayon or charcoal.

Log fire:   Take a paper towel roll and help the children glue gun pieces of bark to it to  make a log.  Save it for a class "campfire".

Role play: Rolling up bedding
 Playing a guitar
Riding a horse
Roping a cow
 Putting up fencing
  Cooking over the campfire
Putting horseshoes on a horse or cleaning the hoof out
Milking a cow
Hanging your clothes to dry when you are out on cattle drive

Bluebonnets and Popcorn Trees
 Submitted by Karen
Another variation that we do with the popcorn (here in Tx., anyway!) is to use the dried tempera to shade it blue and glue them onto green stems to resemble bluebonnets.  You can save some plain popcorn for the white tops on these flowers.
Maybe you could adapt this for your state's flower, too!


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