Last year for Christmas, the Little-Bugs were 5 and 21 months old. With a quick dig through the scrap and yarn bins, and a dash to the hardware store for a couple of dowels, we were able to make them darling hobby horses.
I thought that they were kind of an “extra” gift; that the Playmobil or dolly carriage would be most popular. But as it turned out, the horses have had the staying power even over the more flashy and exciting gifts. I know this is because a horse can take part in lots of different games, and who doesn't love riding off into the sunset or down the hall?
All you need to make a horse? A 3' dowel, about a half yard of fabric, some left over yarn, stuffing, black buttons for eyes. There are lots of instructions on the Internet: here is a cute one made with a sock, this is a super cute fabric one… The google results are full of tutorials, of course,
We did a couple of things to make these horses stand up to the wear and tear of children. We notched the dowel about 6″ down so that when the horses neck gathers in, the gathers sit in the notch and the dowel doesn't pull out. I also used waxed dental floss to gather the neck. Originally I used buttonhole thread because I knew we needed heavy duty thread in that area. But I fixed those gathers over and over; finally I remembered that dental floss is the go-to for such a need (go ahead and try to break dental floss!).
With general sewing skills, you should be able to make a hobby horse in probably about an hour. If you have the materials around, you can spend less than $10.
The horses are galloping again, around and around the living room. Those are some awesome gifts.