Summer Family Connection 1999
Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church

Cowboy Ideas

Cowboy Bandanas(make "branding irons" and brand a neckerchief with washing Machine proof paint) ... using class group "brands" - such as Circle K, Lazy J, Bar H, etc. Additional smaller brands could be added to the Bandanna for memorizing of daily verses, etc. We are using a Christian fish, an open Bible outline, a Jewish star of David, an "alpha-omega" and a "broken heart". Use different colored bandannas for different age groups: or if you have a teams competition: different colors for each of the the teams.There is now an ink called "Fabrico" that can be used with rubber stamps and heat set with an iron on fabric. A set of bandanas in the colors of the wordless book: Gold, Black, Red, White and Green can be used for Gospel presentations.

A Sticker page with a picture of a horse - add stickers to saddle the horse up as various verses are memorized. Blanket, saddle, bridle, rope, saddlebags.

ropin' (try to rope a bull - I have an actual plastic bull head for roping). Even learning to toss a loop over a post would be challenging for the children.

Wanted! T-Shirts. Using a digital camera, computer, printer, and the special paper for Iron-on transfers, make T's for the children. Using the Wanted! Children after God's heart! poster scheme, digitalize pictures of each child wearing a cowboy hat and fake mustache and use them to replace the picture of the desperado, so each child will have a shirt with his or her face on the wanted poster. (You might want to convert the images to greyscale, reduce colors or posterize and flip them before pasting them in.) Maybe even add a "moniker" under the picture using the child's name, such as "Cactus" Pete, which might come in handy as name tags. Conceivably the pcitures could be done, the transfers printed out and ironed on and the shirts given to the children by the end of the first day to wear during the week. I have added links for Iron On Transfer at the bottom of this page.

The same digital pictures were used to make decorations around the church. Wanted! Posters with children's and staff pictures were printed out on colored paper and posted all around the Sanctuary and dining areas. The kids got quite a thrill from seeing their pictures, and with so many, it made a nice decorative effect, combined with print outs of Cowboy graphics like those used on the poster. The pictures were given to the children at the end of the vbs.

For a package of Western fonts to use for materials and posters, consider purchasing the Wild West Font Collection by Scriptorium. However, there are quite a few free Western fonts available on the internet. Free western fonts can be found on the web:1001 Fonts, Simply the Best, and others can be found.

Rattlesnake Jack's has lots and lots of Western style fonts and graphics you can download and use. Cowboy Clip Art might also be useful.

I have another page on Cowboy Themed Group Games with links to my Group Games Guide and I have included some new games of my own: Bull-Dogging and Cattle Trail, as well as some titles and ideas to get you started inventing some of your own.

A Wordless Book Gospel presentation can be given using colored Cowboy bandannas. A different color worn each day. Wordless Book links and history.

cowboy campfire (cook some beanie-weenies in a real campfire - this may require a local fire department permit?) Or use a campfire for the Trail's End program, provide marshmallows and smores materials for afterwards. Or Use Coleman Camp Lanterns for the final program.

silver bullets - Bible memory contest - how 'bout memorizin' the verses which go to the Navigator's Bridge Illustration?

Friendly Natives - a time set aside for reading real missionary stories of encounters with Indians and Christ's impact

Jedediah Smith - (I think he was a frontier Christian mountain man; could do a project about his faith...Heb 13:7)

See you at 12 noon - suspend a water balloon above each shooter using a tissue and tape. (The object is to shoot the tissue with your squirt gun until it is so saturated that the balloon breaks free and drenches your real spiritual application...except, "if your enemy thirsts...")

49-ers - dig for gold! Bury some Bibles (wrapped) or Sugar Creek Gang storybooks in various locations around the property across the street... Lost mine gold maps??

Set-up a Tent or Tee Pee for a crafts area. Crafts could include knotwork (macrame - combine with beads for macrame jewelry - popular with young people), Indian God's Eyes (two sticks at right angles with colored yarns woven and wound around them), Dreamcatchers (rings [paper plates with center cut out] with a web created of yarn, add beads and feathers), Tin cans (holes punched and a wire handle and candle added for lanterns; or wound with jute with decorations added for pencil holders, cactus planters, etc). (Be careful with these crafts as they have roots in Native American spirituality.) Cardboard Quilt Squares (Made by pasting colored paper shapes on a cardboard square, then all the children's squares are combined into a quilt) etc.

The one idea that a church board came up with was to have the children make hobby horses (wooden dowel with a sock head) and ride their "horses" into church Sunday morning following VBS.

Some frontier crafts links: Voyageurs crafts

Dover Publications has a CD-Rom/ Clipart Book with 200 digitized Copyright Free Cowboy and Western images and illustrations (Item # 99948-3) for $9.95. These can be used for VBS posters and illustrating teaching materials. They also have a collection of 24 Victorian Display Fonts on CDRom for $14.95 (Item #99956-4) They do not accept phone or credit card orders. $5 Postage/Handling per order.
Dover Publications, Inc., 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, New York 11501-3582.

The graphics I used came from clip art collections bought from ArtToday - they are now called and offer a subscription web based service - ($17.95 for one week isn't bad you can probably find all the graphics you need with a few creative searches - try "cowboy"). (Formerly they sold the Zedcor DeskGallery Series & Dover Publishing™ Electronic Clipart Series which I have and use.)

Square Dance - bring in a real caller and have a real square (or circle or contra) dance (using some very simple figures, just for fun... Alternatives - use ole time "play party dances" like Buffalo Gals won't You Come Out Tonight, B.I.N.G.O., etc.

Some online Cowboy Dance resources

How about an audience participation game? Let's see, you could have the children sit on the floor. They begin by holding the reins with their hands and walking the horse. (Hold hands in front and sway forward and back slightly.) They could twirl a rope with one hand. Then they could wave their hat with the other hand. Say "Giddiup" to get horse to go faster. They could call out, "Yipee!" You could ride faster (do all actions faster) and then slower, then say "Whoa" and put the horse to a stop. Put on its feed bag and let it rest while you listen to another story. (Make sure there is enough space between children before you start this game or practice a controlled twirl and wave of the hat in a small amount of space.)

You might be able to find a simple story in which you could have one group of children say "Yippee" and twirl a rope every time you mention a cowboy and another group say "moo" and put hands to head to make horns everytime you mention the cows.

There is a story about some sillies who thought they had lost one of them. Sometimes this kind of a story is called Noodlehead Stories. Change it to cowboys and horses. So then it goes something like this. Once upon a time there were 5 cowboys. They were out herding cattle and wanted to make sure no one was lost. So they met at the stream and Slim counted everyone. 1, 2, 3, 4. "One of us is lost," he said. They looked for the lost cowboy. They got off their horses to figure out what to do. They counted their horses (everyone had a horse). 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. "Now we're all here." Next time they are herding cows, Shorty counts "1, 2, 3, 4. One of us is lost." They get off their horses to plan what to do, count horses and everyone is there! Can't figure out what is happening. Cowgirl (or wise Indian) or Ranch boss comes along and helps them figure out that the person counting is always forgetting to count himself!

Return to the Wanted! Children after God's Own Heart!VBS Main Page

Thanks to those at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church for contributing to this page..

Please contribute your ideas to me!

Iron on Transfer - How To Pages and Suppliers: Some Links