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Horse Play

Susan M. Rooney

"Horse Play" is a hands on horse for children of all ages to play. The custom design represents the Toy Resource Center's extensive library of reading and learning materials as well as toys.

The challenge for creating the horse was to build into the horse as many toys as possible. This was very much a collaborative effort. Many people shared ideas, engineering solutions, provided toys and parts as well as, built different parts of the horse, barn, wagon and the base.

I enjoyed spending hours in the hardware stores looking for parts and figuring out how to make a kaliedoscope out of PVC pipe, magnetic tubes, the talking tube, bases for the toys and how in the world to make them secure. It was fun to mill around toy stores deciding what toys to use to represent the differnet learning styles.

I cut many holes in the horse so that I could implant the toys and have access to the inside. Power tools of all sorts came in handy! I learned that fiberglassing is an art in itself, one I certainly didn't master, but learned a lot about! About 300 hours had been spent from the design and concept stage to the final touches.

Beads with the sign language alphabet, tactile surfaces and twin vision labeling are a few of the little details that make Horse Play reach out to the whole community. The frisbee and games on the blanket represent many of the opportunities that Rochester has for exploration, learning and play. It was exciting to see Horse Play come together, but mostly it is a joy for us to see people enjoy making new discoveries with Horse Play. The Toy Resource Center would like to have this be a continuing exhibit to promote their program and to be enjoyed by kids for years to come.