For each of your children choose a large paper bag to make a vest. Turn the bag upside down and cut a neck hole in what was once the bottom of the bag. Next, cut open a wide side of the bag from the open end to the neck hole. Complete by cutting armholes in the two narrow sides. Let the children decorate their vests with crayons or markers. Then help them use scissors to cut a fringe around the bottom edge of their vests.
Give your children squares of soft, white fabric, about 10-by-10 inches, to use for making neck bandanas. Invite them to decorate their squares, using fabric paints or markers. When the square bandanas are dry, show the children how to fold them into a triangle shape. Then help them tie their bandanas around their necks, with the knot in the back. (Worn this way, cowpokes could easily cover their faces with their bandanas to keep out the dust.)  
CORRAL FUN  (Math/Movement)

Use pieces of masking tape to form five “corrals” on a carpet. Number the corrals from 1 to 5. Make 15 small posterboard cattle cutouts (or select 15 small plastic cows, if available). Invite your children to name the numerals on the corrals and place matching numbers of cattle inside them.
Make one large corral on a carpet. Let your children take turns standing back a few feet and tossing small circles of rope into the corral. 
COWBOY BOOT MATCH  (Matching/Colors)
Cut out ten identical cowboy boot shapes from posterboard. Divide the boots into pairs and use markers to decorate each pair differently. Mix up the boots and place them in a pile. Then invite your children to find the match-ups.
Select several different colors of felt and cut two boot shapes out of each color. Mix up the boot shapes and place them in a box. Let your children find the matching colored boots and arrange them in pairs on a flannelboard.

On a piece of white copy paper, draw a picture of a steer in the bottom left-hand corner and a picture of a corral in the upper right-hand corner. Then draw a winding trail around the paper leading from the steer up to the corral. Make photocopies of the paper and give them to your children. To play the game, have them use a crayon to draw a line along the trail from the steer to the corral, keeping inside the trail-lines. When they have finished, let them color their papers, if they wish.
COWBOY/COWGIRL PLAY  (Dramatic Play/Music/Movement)
Try one or more of the following ideas with your group.
Set out cowboy hats, boots, bandanas, long-sleeved shirts, jeans, and chaps for your children to use for dress-up. Also provide blankets and short pieces of rope.
Let the children make a pretend fire in the center of a circle of rocks. Provide pieces of wood along with red, orange, and yellow tissue paper for flames. Sit with your group around the fire and sing old western songs such as “Home on the Range,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and  “Red River Valley.”
Use long, sturdy cardboard tubes for “stick horses.” Make horse heads by filling paper bags with crumpled newspaper and adding eyes and other features, such as ears and yarn pieces for manes. Securely tape the bags to the tops of the cardboard tubes. Then invite your little cowpokes to gallop around the range on the pretend horses.
OH, I WISH I WAS A COWBOY  (Music/Movement)
Tune: “Did You Ever See a Lassie”

Oh, I wish I was a cowboy,
A cowboy, a cowboy.
Oh, I wish I was a cowboy,
’Cause here’s what I’d do.
I’d ride my horse this way,
And rope a steer that way.
Oh, I wish I was a cowboy,
’Cause that’s what I’d do.
                        Heather McPhail

Sing the song a second time, substituting “cowgirl” for “cowboy.” Encourage your children to act out the song as you sing.

SNACKS ON THE RANGE  (Food Preparation)
Let your children use plastic knives to help cut cooked hot dogs into small pieces. Add the hot dog pieces to baked beans. Heat the beans, and then spoon them into bowls, one bowl for each child. Or serve beef jerky along with dried fruits, such as raisins and apples.