Ages: 2 years and up
Giddyap! This soulful steed — assembled in from fuzzy slipper socks and a dowel — will keep your little neigh-sayer horsing around for hours. And if clippety-clopping through the house loses its spark (unlikely), offer him a horseplay scenario or two, such as jumping over foam blocks in a steeplechase course or competing in a rodeo complete with toy animals (just skip the lasso and let him use tongs to pick up that plastic cow as he trots by).
A Horse of a Different Color
If your nag whinnies for company, open your stables to this friendly variation:
To make a unicorn, follow the directions in steps 1 through 5. For the horn, cut a 3- by 3-inch rounded triangle from felt. Roll it into a cone, securing it with a line of hot glue along one edge. Trim the bottom edge so it's straight across, fill it with stuffing, then glue the horn to the forehead. Wrap a narrow ribbon tightly around the horn and hot-glue it in place, folding the ends under to hide the raw edges. Follow the directions in step 6 to attach the head to the dowel, then glue a TK-inch length of fringe to the dowel just below the sock.
Loosely fill one of the socks with polyester stuffing.
Make the nostrils. With the heel facing up, pinch a fold of fabric on one side of the toe and sew a 1/2-inch-wide horizontal stitch through the pinch as shown. Knot the ends, then repeat for the other nostril.
To make ears, cut 4 matching rounded triangles from felt (ours are 1 1/2 inches wide by 2 inches high). Glue them together in pairs. Slightly bend each ear to create a hollow, then sew them to the head as shown.
Cut almond-shaped eyes and pupils from felt. Sew the pieces together, then sew the eyes to the head.
To make the forelock, sew a 4-inch piece of yarn through the head where shown, then tie the ends together close to the head so they look like fringe. Repeat, tying 10 lengths of yarn about 1/2 inch apart on the top of the head. (Tip: To avoid continuously rethreading the needle, use a 2-foot length of yarn at a time and trim it after each stitch.)
To make the mane, tie 35 pieces of 10-inch-long yarn about 1/2 inch apart down the back of the head and neck, tapering the width into a V shape as you work your way down the sock.
Insert the dowel into the other sock. Fold the sock in half over the dowel, then pad it with a bit of stuffing. Pull the horse's head taut over the sock and dowel. Add more stuffing as needed. To attach the outer sock to the dowel, apply one large bead of glue as shown. Press the sock to the glue and hold for 5 seconds. Work your way around the dowel, pleating and gluing as you go. Glue a TK-inch length of cording to the dowel just below the sock.
To make the bridle, glue an 11-inch length of cording around the horse's nose, folding the ends under to hide the raw edges. Glue a TK-inch length around the back of the head, then glue a 6-inch length to each side of the nose as shown to connect the bridle.