For many families picking ahorse and watching the Grand National together is an annual family tradition.
This year the race is on the 5th April, so you have just a few days left to make your preparations. With a little planning you can have a whole day of activities, food and fun inspired by the horse racing.
Grand National Games
Get up, and get moving with these horsey horse play ideas.
The Jumps The jumps are the most important part of the Grand National. Set up small barriers around your garden, like a plank of wood propped on two bricks, or pieces of wool strung in a straight line. Make sure no obstacle is more than a few inches off the ground. Then navigate around the course of space hoppers, jumping over each barrier as you come to it.
Pool Noodle Pony Worried about kids running about with hobby horse sticks, conking each other on the head, and cracking you around the shins? This is pain-free hobby horse craft. You can make a hobby horse from a swim noodle, those long floats that children tuck under their bodies when they are learning to swim. If you bend the top third of the noodle back on itself, then use duct tape to hold it in pace, you can start to see the shape of the horses head. Just add eyes, ears, a mane and some reins, and your lightweight hobby horse is ready to ride.
Racing Unless you have real ponies to ride, you will have to make do with whatever transportation you have to hand. Decorate bikes, trikes or go-karts with a cardboard horses head, tail, and racing stripes, then get under starters orders for a race to the finish line.
Pin The Tail You will need to make up a large picture of a pony, then use some wool to braid a tail. Add a big blob of sticky putty to the top of the tail so it will temporarily stick to the body. Take turns blind folding each child, then spinning them, before asking them to pin the tail onto the pony.
Horeshoe Toss You can buy toy sets with plastic or wooden horseshoes to throw or you can make your own from stiff cardboard and colouring in different colours to create different sets.
Pretend Play for a more relaxed, free play experience, use an old sand pit or water play table to create a habitat for toy horses. Use stones, moss, grass, sand and water to build a mini-world and populate it with plastic horses.
Grand National Snacks
Load up with snacks to enjoy while you watch the race.
Here are some food ideas to keep with the theme: - carrot sticks - chopped apple slices - use a pony or horseshoe shaped sandwich or cookie cutter to cut up slices of bread, toast, pancakes, biscuits or sandwiches. - caramel rice crispie cereal bars cut into squares to look like hay bales.
For a truly authentic horse-feed experience, you could serve up snacks in small tin buckets!
Find more inspirational play ideas on the Wicken Toys blog.