Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My First Giveaway!

***This giveaway is now closed!***

We did it!  100 FB friends (and counting) like The Muddy Princess!  So, now it's time for a giveaway!

When you have a toddler or a preschooler, sensory plays a big part in their learning.  That's why I decided to make sandpaper ABC cards.  Children can feel the shape of the letter as they use their fingers to trace around the sandpaper.  Tactile learning is so important at this age.

Besides aiding children in learning the letter shapes, sandpaper ABC cards can also be used for spelling simple words and alphabetizing.  You could even use them to practice sound and letter matching by laying out a few cards and having your child go on a letter hunt to find objects in your home to match the letter.

One lucky person will win a set of sandpaper ABC cards for their child. The set includes 26 cards mounted on cardstock, for each letter of the alphabet (uppercase).  The set comes complete with a storage bag (pic coming soon).

Now the rules!

* You are eligible for two entries.

* For your first entry, "like" The Muddy Princess on FB,
then leave a comment on this post stating you are a FB fan.

* For your second entry, become a follower of The Muddy Princess blog
(just click on the "Follow" button on the right),
then leave a separate second comment on this post stating you are a follower.

* Entry for the giveaway ends one week from today,
Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm EST.

* All entries must be posted here on The Muddy Princess blog.

* Winner will be announced here on the blog and on TMP FB page.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Facebook Giveaway!

I can't believe I'm closing in on 100 friends to like The Muddy Princess on Facebook!  Thank you so much to everyone for your support as I begin my blogging journey.

I decided that when we reach 100, I'll host my first giveaway.  This prize is handmade by me and perfect for back to school.  And I can't wait to share it with you!

So be sure to tell your friends about The Muddy Princess FB page and have them "like" it today!

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to Make a Reading Buddy

My son is heading to first grade this year.  We met his teacher the other night, and found out that she absolutely loves reading.  I was thinking of a small gift he could take to school to give to his teacher and each of his classmates and the "reading buddy" came to mind.

When I taught kindergarten, I saw this idea to make a cute little reading stick out of a large craft stick and a wiggly eye.  I called them our "reading buddy."  The kids loved them and took to them immediately.  It gave their busy hands something to do and really helped them keep track while they were reading.  When I moved up to first grade, I remember them being really helpful, especially in the beginning of the year, when tracking was still helpful to some students.

To make these, you need a large craft stick (they look like tongue depressors), a large wiggly eye and some glue.  You just glue the wiggly eye to the stick and you have a "reading buddy."  The kids use the eye to point to the words as they read.

I made up enough of these for the friends in his class and added a little school tag saying, "This Reading Buddy is for you.  Happy Reading!  Your Friend, Kaden."  You could use the plain wooden craft sticks or the colored ones.  And I got the cute apple tag HERE.

I also decided to make up an extra batch for his teacher so she could keep them in her classroom to use.  I made this simple drawstring bag for her to keep them in.

Even if your child is not reading yet, the "reading buddy" can still be helpful while reading to your child.  They can use it to point to simple words that they know as well as identify letters in words.

I shared this craft on the following blogs:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Teacher Can Make the World of Difference

My son heads back to school next week, and he has been feeling a bit apprehensive about first grade.  There's a desk, and a pencil box and homework!  Once he gets rolling though, everything falls into place and he does just great.

It was such a surprise this morning to read an email from his kindergarten teacher from last year.  She sent this email to all of her students from last year with a kind and loving little pep talk:

Dear boys and girls,

Wow, Summer is almost over and you'll be coming back to school with all sorts of new supplies, new feelings, new clothes and bookbags. It is so exciting for all of you. Try not to be nervous, even though I know you will feel a little funny in your bellies. It is OKAY and normal to feel that way. Remember way back when you came to kindergarten and you felt a little nervous at the beginning, and then you had a blast and made lots of friends once you got used to it. The same fun will happen again this year in first grade. Your teachers are fixing up their classrooms, and this year the room will be airconditioned. The teachers in first grade are lovely ladies and can't wait to meet you. You are all smartie-pants and those teachers will not ask you to do anything you can't do, and if you can't do it, they will teach you. You get homework this year...YAHOO!  I will see you in the 'halls of learning'. I am just like Mrs. Bindergarten getting ready for a new class of kindergarten. I will see you in school and I will smile at you whenever I see you. I might be busy showing the new little guys how to behave and learn, but just know that you always have a place in my heart. Take care of yourselves, and remember to raise your hand if you think you have an idea.

Mrs. Soper

My son has heard all of this from me for the past week or two, but it meant the world to him to hear it from her.  She is the kind of teacher that makes a difference in the life of a child.  She is the kind of teacher who makes her mark in a child's love of learning.  And for all of your love, kindness and support, we thank you so much Mrs. Soper!  Hope you have a fantastic year teaching a new group of lucky kindergarteners!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Color Words Practice

I made this really simple matching game with just a few index cards and some colored cardstock.  Your child matches the colored square to the card with the correct color word. 

Using this with my elementary aged son, we used it as is, so he could practice recognizing them as sight words.  With a younger child, you can easily adapt this activity by writing the color word in its color (write blue in blue).  This would make it easier to make a match, but would still allow the child to become familiar with the word.

Pretty Canvas Shoes

Have you seen those commercials for Lelli Kelly shoes?  My daughter became fascinated with them when a certain kids channel started playing that awful commercial every 10 minutes.  So, out of curiosity, I looked them up online and nearly had a heart attack - those cute, sparkly, bedazzled shoes cost $70 or more!

I love my daughter, and those shoes do look really cute, but there is NO WAY I'm going to spend $70 on a pair of shoes for my 4 year old.  I don't buy myself $70 shoes.  So, I set off to craft some up myself!

I purchased a pair of plain canvas tennis shoes from Target.  I'm pretty sure I got them on sale for less than $10.

Then, I picked up some pretty sequins and small flowers to pretty up the shoes, creating our own, much less expensive version of Lelli Kellys. 

I tried a variety of adhesives to attach the sequins to the shoes, including a glue gun, Super Glue and household cement.  The glue gun didn't have a prayer - the sequins easily popped off, especially when bending the shoe to put it on.  The Super Glue worked well for adhering small sequins to the rubber toe of the shoe, but the sequins did the same popping off thing when adhered to the canvas part of the shoe with the Super Glue.  The household cement seemed to be working well.  Nothing popped off when putting the shoe on, but bumping into things (like climbing into the car seat) did cause us to lose a few sequins. 

My last attempt for today is E6000.  It's an industrial strength adhesive that is supposed to work great for just this type of application.  I'm letting things set up and we'll give the shoes a try outside later today, but I'm hoping this adhesive works a bit better.  I'll be sure to stop back with an update.

Although this project isn't officially finished, since I need to keep the sequins adhered, I still wanted to share the finished product.  I think they turned out really well and look so darn cute!  And, I'm happy to say, I spent a whopping $15 for these cuties!  The shoes were $8, large sequins $2.99, small sequins $1.99, and flowers $1.99.

These are such a big hit, I'm sharing them on the following blogs!

Simpsonized Craftsmmm button


MakingSumo Sweet Stuff


All Thingz Related

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Preschool Tote

At my children's preschool, they ask that the children use a tote bag instead of a backpack.  It's easier for the children to carry and easier for the teachers to put papers into.

I purchased a plain canvas tote bag from the craft store and used some craft supplies and fabric we had on hand to decorate them. 

The first year my son was in preschool, he loved Thomas the train.  So, I took some Thomas fabric I had and cut out the square pictures.  I hemmed the edges and sewed them onto the bag.

By the time his second year at preschool rolled around, he wasn't a big fan of Thomas anymore, so I removed the Thomas fabric pieces and stitched on some space-themed fabric, cut into the shapes of stars, planets and rocket ships.

Last year was my daughter's first year of preschool and she requested a ballerina bag.  I created the head and hair from felt and handstitched the face.  The body, arms, legs and feet were painted on with puffy paint.  I sewed on the tulle for the tutus and added scrapbooking brads for the little bows and flowers in the ballerinas hair.  She still loves her bag so we'll be using it again this school year.

I hope our school totes give you some ideas or inspiration for creating your own child's school tote.  I know when I was looking for ideas, I saw so many cute and creative ideas.  If you have your own school tote design to share, please leave a reply with a link, to share your craftiness with our readers!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School Books

With the start of school quickly approaching, I wanted to share some of our favorite school themed books.  Many of these are about starting school in general, but a few are kindergarten specific.  These are the books we have in our school stash:

Arthur Goes to School by Marc Brown

This is a great big book with lots of flaps.  It tells the simple story of how Arthur gets ready for school and some of things he does while he's there.  It also incorporates sequencing, counting, the alphabet, story telling, and opposites.

My New School by Harriet Hains

There are real photographs of children in this book, starting at their new school.  The story follows the children through their day, some starting off apprehensive but ending their day all smiles.

Clifford's First Day of School by Norman Bridwell

This Clifford story is about the time Emily Elizabeth took Clifford to school for show and tell, when he was just a little pup.  He got into quite a lot of mischief that day!

My First Day of School by PK Hallinan

My First Day of School follows a boy through his first day in kindergarten.  The fun, rhyming text make this story a pleasure to read.

Kindergarten Kids by Ellen B Senisi

This is another story about the day in the life of kindergarten kids, showing real photographs of children learning and playing during their day at school.

Emily's First Day of School by Claire Masurel

This is a fun and simple story about a little bunny, named Emily, going to her first day of school.  This book is geared towards the younger crowd with a short story and lift the flap pages.

My Kindergarten Counting Book by Margo Lundell

A Golden Book Counting Book, counting the things children might see in their kindergarten classroom, from 1-20.

When Kangaroo Goes to School by Sonia Levitin

A silly and fun book to learn the rules about going to school.

Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen

This book will ease the mind of any child who wonders if they will have a friend when they go to school for the first time.

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing

Just like the Night Before Christmas, this book tells the tale of the night before kindergarten.  Familiar, rhyming text make this book a lot of fun to read.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

An all time favorite in our house, this story tells how Miss Bindergarten and her students get ready for the first day of kindergarten.  ABC's are a must in this book!

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

A sweet story of a little raccoon who is sad about leaving his mom to go to school.  Fortunately, his mom knows a little secret.  She gives him a kiss on his hand that he can keep with him all day, giving him the courage and love to try school on his own.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Poor Wemberly worried about everything, even going to school.  But when she makes friends with another little girl just as anxious and worried as she is, she ends up having so much fun, she forgets all about worrying.

The Berenstain Bears Go To School by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Classic Berenstain Bears story about Brother and Sister Bear going to school.  It was Sister's first time and she was a bit worried, but once she got into the swing of things she had a great time!

Hello First Grade by Joanne Ryder

A great first chapter book about a new group of first graders who meet the class pet, a bunny named Martha.

This is the Way by Anne Dalton

Written to the tune of the classic children's song, This is the Way, this book shows the way children get ready and enjoy their day at school.

Do you have any other favorite school books that aren't on our list?  Please share!