Photo of Stephanie Raper

Stephanie Raper
In the Loop Editor

Kidzeum Exhibit

    "Get along Little doggies!"   The students at Grenada Elementary School are preparing for a cowboy's long cattle drive in The Kidzeum's fall exhibit titled, "Cowboy Corral". This exhibit is the third in a three part series focusing on the early days in America.  The first two exhibits in the series were about Native Americans and Pioneers.  During their first visit to the exhibit about early American cowboys, children in grades K-3 learned how the life of a cowboy hasn't always been portrayed accurately in movies and television.     Did you know that the first American cowboys learned skills from Spanish cowboys known as vaqueros?  Through hands-on activities, the little GES cowpokes gained their own skills by practicing lariat tricks, roping steer heads, and learning numerous brands used by cowboys over two hundred years ago.

    These small, western-knowledge seekers also studied how real cowboys rounded up steers and branded them in the old west.  Cattle drives could often last from four to six months depending on the route the cowboys chose.  These journeys followed many different trails ranging from the southern part of the country to the far west or north.  During these long treks, each cowboy often had only one set of sturdy togs (clothes) that would stand up to the dust, dirt, rain, or snow he might experience.  Each item of clothing served a specific purpose which students determined by solving rhyming clues.  Can you imagine wearing the same set of clothing every day for four to six months?

     On their second visit to the exhibit, the K-3 cowpokes will learn about cowboy chores.  Each student will have a job to make sure the three thousand head of cattle will be able to cross the river and make it to the sale.  A cowboy didn't want his cattle losing too much weight on the long trip, so the drives were made slowly to allow the cattle time to graze along the way.  Some of the jobs buckaroos at the Circle K Ranch will have on the Kidzeum's cattle drive will be Cookie, the cook on the drive, and the night watchmen, who watch over the steers while other cowboys sleep under the stars.  Other jobs include remuda men who care for the extra horses, point men who ride in the front and on the sides of the herd, the drag who watch for stragglers and keep the herd moving, and even flank riders and swing riders who drive the strays back to the herd.

      The teachers at GES will have their own positions on the cattle drive as the trail boss and straw boss.  Students will actually mount up on child- size horses made from barrels to simulate the drive.  As the children ride along, they will sing cowboy songs taught by the music teachers at Grenada Elementary.
     As a climax to the cowboy roundup, the children at GES will participate in a dress up day and Boot Scootn' Dance competition hosted by the Physical Education class and The Kidzeum.  Each child is encouraged to participate in the Western-themed event by dressing as cowboys and cowgirls on the assigned day.  

     The Kidzeum also offers year-round activities for students.  Since the beginning of school, several classes have enjoyed hands-on shopping and cooking in the Kidzeum grocery and kitchen.   Activities in these areas are available upon teacher request.  During these adventures, students learn to follow directions while shopping for particular food items in the grocery, then practice measuring and following more directions to complete delicious recipes in the kitchen.
      The Kidzeum is designed to awaken a young child's natural curiosity and love for learning.  The Kidzeum motto, "To share the love of learning, to explore the joy of learning by doing, and to question without hesitation" is the motivation behind each hands-on exhibit.
      Kidzeum t-shirts are on sale now in The Kidzeum.  Children can wear these t-shirts every Friday for good behavior, on school spirit days, and on Stuffee's birthday.  Proceeds from The Kidzeum t-shirts and Kidzeum cookbooks help fund new and existing exhibits.