Galloping Toward Victory on Derby Day

Two green cards on a wooden background, one says YOUR HERO using magazine clippings and the other say MAGIK FEET

Come Derby Day, get your little ones into the competitive spirit (and exercise their seemingly endless energy) in this race to the finish!

Gather the kids at your party to talk about the world-famous horse race you’re celebrating. Have a list of names of the horses racing and share how trainers and jockeys work hard to get their horses race-ready. Tell your young guests that they, too, have an opportunity to race today.

Encourage each child to come up with a winning race name (Quicksilver or Champion, anyone?). Provide cardstock, a hole punch, ribbons and markers so they can design their own racing tags. Next, set a Start and Finish line, the difficulty of your course determined by the age of your racers. The really little ones might just run a straight line; slightly older kids might enjoy a larger oval-shaped course that they lap a few times similar to a Derby race.

On the Start command, your racers can take off at a gallop (the little ones might enjoy “trotting” on all fours, truly getting into the spirit of horse-racing) and hit the Finish line as quickly as possible. To the first across that Finish line: A lei of red flowers resembling the crown of roses won in the Kentucky Derby. Kid-friendly prizes such as candy, small toys, trophies and medals could be awarded as well. Other prize categories could include Best-Named Horse, Best Sportsmanship, Most Stylish and any other fun awards you think up.

Add extra challenge to the race by giving each racer a horseshoe at the Finish, where a post is set up for ringing that horseshoe. Extra points for making the toss!