Horseshoes can be a source of games and crafts for kids. These horseshoe crafts are good for children of all ages. The mandella in particular is appropriate for older kids and can include a historical and cultural lesson. Adults may even enjoy participating. These crafts are useful for large or small groups of children.
Poster paints or acrylic paints, a foam or sponge craft paint brush, plain paper and a horseshoe are needed for these prints. Pour the paint on a plate or paint pan and spread it out so the surface of the horse shoe will be covered when it is dipped in the paint. Lightly dip the horseshoe in the paint until the dipped side is covered. Wipe excess paint off with the brush. If it is too thick or runny, the print will be messy. Press the dipped side of the horseshoe on paper. Remove the shoe and let the print dry. For variation, use different colors of paint or mix paint colors together.
This activity is similar to making a brass rubbing or a penny rubbing. White paper, sharpened regular or colored pencils and the horseshoe are the only supplies needed to make this craft. It is an inexpensive activity suitable for a large group. Place the horseshoe flat on the work surface. Set a sheet of white paper on top of the horseshoe. White computer paper works well. Hold the paper in place on top of the shoe. Use the side of the pencil and rub the pencil over the surface of the paper hard enough so an image comes through from the horseshoe. Get the complete image of the shoe. Do not press too hard or the paper will rip. The children can color or decorate the background around the rubbed image. For a different look, use crayons to do the rubbings.
A traditional Native American craft, the mandella is considered a sign of good luck. It is a horseshoe wall hanging with a decorated shield backing and a hanging tail. A mandella needs a backing made of leather, paper or fabric.The shield backing extends past the top open ends, sides and closed bottom end of the horse shoe. Decorate the shield backing with personal symbols of family, club, school or a favorite animal. The kids can draw, color or paint on the background. Older children can do bead work or sewing to create a more complex background design on fabric or leather. Attach string to the two open ends of the horse shoe so you can hang it up. Decorate the loop on the bottom of the horseshoe with a hanging tail made of thread, yarn, leather strips, bead work, feathers or charms. The tail should dangle and hang down from the bottom of the horseshoe like long hair. It can be simple or ornate, fat or thin.
Laurie Darroch-Meekis is an award-winning freelance writer. She has written over 1,000 published pieces online and off since 2005 and has many more in progress. She holds a bachelor's degree and was educated in the United States and abroad.