A “Dalahäst” is a Swedish tradition.  “Dala” is short for “Dalarna”, which is the province the tradition comes from .   “Häst” is the Swedish word for “horse.”  Traditionally, they’re little wooden horses given to children as toys.  They’re almost always red, with beautiful decorations in green, yellow, white, and gold.  But Dalahästs, (or Dala Horses, as they’re also called) are also enjoyed by adults, and to have one in your home means good luck!

While these are not Christmas decorations, the color scheme and toy theme make this a fun wintertime project for primary kids.  My pre-K-through-Third Grade students loved learning about the colorful horses and the motifs that are traditionally used on the designs.

I gave each student a 6″ x 9″ piece of red paper, and a pattern for the Dalahast shape (traced from this coloring page) and each student traced and cut out a red horse.  At this point, I allowed each student to decorate their horses any way they wanted to using scraps of paper from the scrap paper bin.  Although my students’ horses do not rock the traditional Swedish Dala style, my students got experience cutting out shapes without patterns, combining colors, gluing, and using creative thinking.


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