Kentucky Derby Activities

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We’re off to the races! The gates will open at Churchill Downs next Saturday, May 5th for the 144th annual Kentucky Derby! The most exciting two minutes in sports gives people everywhere the excuse to get dressed up and throw a party. The fun of the Kentucky Derby isn’t just for adults. Our girls have always loved making over-the-top hats and decorating the house (even if it’s just for our own family’s entertainment). So everyone can throw their very own Kid-tucky Derby Party, we rounded up a few of our favorite activities to share with you all. Grab your mint julep (& mini juleps) and have some fun!

First things first…

The Mini Julep (aka non-alcoholic): A fan favorite at Disneyland, this non-alcoholic twist on the original Mint Julep is made with kids in mind. There’s no reason even the littlest of jockeys can’t get into the Derby spirit (no pun intended)!

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And now onto the crafts!

Hats & Bow Ties: You have your mocktails made and now it’s time to get gussied up! Hello Glow created a precious hat using newspaper (could it be any easier?)! This option gives you free rein to go wild with embellishments!

Pony Necklace: We fell in love with this DIY craft that your little one is sure to enjoy long after Derby Day is done! It requires some tooling help from a caregiver, but from start to finish it is SUPER easy!

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Drink Stirrers: These sweet little drink stirrers were too cute not to include! For those of you with little girls, you could omit the straw, and instead glue a metal clip to the back of the “hat”. Now you have a precious Derby Day barrette! 

Shoebox Parade Float: Elizabeth Magee over at Craft E Magee has provided us step-by-step directions on how to recreate the adorable parade float you see pictured at the top of this post. She claims that all you need is a few key supplies and that anyone can do it. We are planning on tackling this project first!

Egg Jockeys: These ridiculously adorable jockeys (again from Elizabeth Magee) are made out of the plastic eggs you probably still have laying around your house from Easter. Kids can get creative mixing and matching egg colors and then paint the jockeys’ silks.

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Color a Silk: Another way to have fun designing your own silk is to use one of the free templates we have linked to via google! (FYI: silk is the technical name for the jersey a jockey wears). Choose the style you like best, print, & start decorating. You can make it easy with crayons and markers, or get a little more advanced with paint, felt, & other crafting materials. 

Stick Horses: This is definitely not a last-minute crafting idea. But if you plan ahead and turn it into a race of your own, it could be a ton of fun! Plus, like the pony necklaces, these could be used for Derby Days to come (if your kids are gentler than ours)!

Derby Wreath: This slightly more “advanced” craft is inspirational versus a step-by-step tutorial. We loved this whimsical wreath so much that we had to include it! Although your little one is probably not hot gluing a julep cup to a wicker wreath, you can make the project more child-friendly by using whatever decorations you have around the house. 

Paint a Horse: One step up from coloring a horse print-out that you find on google are these cardboard horses. They are sturdier than paper which means they can easily be painted and adorned with whatever your little one feels like!

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Winner’s Circle Ribbons: There are so many beautiful tutorials on how to make your own award ribbons. Some were totally gorgeous but impossible to execute, so we landed on two options that are both pretty and attainable. Check out these two methods which use cupcake wrappers! One from Jenny at Dapperhouse and another from Hallmark.

Horse KitsThese pre-packaged Paper Plate Horse Kits from Oriental Trading require no work on your part (other than ordering) but are just as cute and equally as fun! Nobody needs to be Martha Stewart in order to throw a Kid-tucky Derby Party!

Photo Prop Printables: Print and cut these free photo props, glue them to a stick of any kind, find a blank wall, and you have yourself a silly DIY photo booth that will keep your kiddos entertained for hours!