Learning how to teach what I never was taught (…well)

Lego Duplo Music Sheets – Legal Sized Paper – Free Printable Download Template

Color Coded Piano Keyboard Keys

Color Coded Clear Contact PaperColor Coding the Piano Keys to match her Lego Duplos was easy! Using Duck Brand clear contact paper and sharpie markers, I marked up the paper in stripes. Then, I applied another piece of clear contact paper to the top. This prevents direct contact to the permanent ink thus no rubbing or fading. I cut them 3cm long and applied to the keys. I wrote the notes using a dry erase marker.

Lego Duplos Color coded to Piano KeysTo learn that the keyboard goes low to high, left to right, she built a Lego Duplo tower to match the printable. She wrote the notes onto the Lego Duplos using a dry erase marker.

Since she was still showing interest, she color coded a Piano keyboard diagram and circled the notes in matching colors. Lastly, she color coded blank sheet music and wrote their note letters accordingly. The white space was colored using a squiggly line signifying that it should not really have a line there.Keyboard to Sheet Music Association

Lastly, well actually it was the first thing I did, was gave her the color coded sheet music of Happy Birthday. I think it is C-Scale.

This pretty much wraps up my knowledge of playing a piano and sheet music! Luckily, my DH knows how. For now, my little one is happy with her color coded sheet music. She practices each song with one hand then the other. She already wants the “real” sheets, i.e. the music sheets for playing with both hands.



DIY Color Coded Phonics ToolBox – Free Printable (Digraphs, Trigraphs, Diphthongs Hands On Manipulative)


My little one began reading at a very basic level at 4 years old. We kept the reading simple using level AA and Level A readers from ReadingA-Z.com as well as leveled readers from ThinkCentral / StoryTown.  The decodables from both of these websites are quite awesome too!  With a little time, you can acquire these materials for free. I shall let you figure that out on your own.

My biggest complaint with all the phonics maniulatives available is that the individual sounds that vowels make could not be explained from one word to  the next.

At first glance, it may seem complicated. Let me assure you, I have never been happier with a phonics manipulative.  My 5 year old went from being frustrated to reading flashlight, heart and ruler with ease. I am no longer explaining why the letter “A” said this or said nothing. It is predetermined by the color of the vowel.


We pick 2 or 3 words a day as they related to the Highlights Magazines puzzles we are working on. I prepare the word using the color coded toolbox. She reads it. Then, I ask her to check the spelling against the magazine. She is learning to read, sound out words, use phonics and spell all at the same time. The best part, it’s easy and fun.

For us, this toolbox has been an amazing tool. All my old manipulatives are completely useless next to this. Here is the Link to download the Color Coded Phonics ToolBox PDF.  I cannot find the craft case I used online to link for you.

 Equivalent Bar Fractions Craft Foam Manipulative Free Printable Template


Equivalent Bar FractionsWe are just now really beginning to understand our fractions. This is a manipulative, along with our cake fractions papercraft, that is being used on a routine basis. Simply print the document on legal size paper. Laminate using Duck Brand clear contact paper. Then, using carpet tape, stick to a piece of craft foam. Proceed to cutting out the individual pieces. A quality pair of scissors are needed for this job.


Phonics Table Game Free Printable teaching Word Families

Phonics Super Small Word Guide Add On



This is the Phonics Word Family speed game made using 1 inch foam cubes and written on with a permanent sharpie marker. The small word cards are in the free download. We have played this a few times so that she may earn money.

I lay out the phonics spiral bound book with a word and then whomever spells their word first gets a penny. Every time she attempts to sound out the word, she gets a penny. If she is successful in sounding it out correctly with minimal assistance, she gets an additional penny.

Phonics Foam Cube Block Guide

ABC Spiral Bound Flip Book Printable and Instructions


During my last pregnancy, my version of nesting was to create homeschooling manipulatives. This ABC spiral bound flip book was one of those. No, we have not used this manipulative much yet as she is only in “Kindergarten.” However, when the time is right, it will be pulled from the filing cabinet. In the meantime, perhaps you can use it?

ABC Spiral Bound Flip Book Printable and Instructions


Spiral Bound Phonics and Instructions Free Printable

Phonics Super Small Word Guide Add On


Again, another one of my pregnancy nesting creations.  While not in use yet, this phonics flip book is intended to teach beginning blends, digraphs, trigraphs and word families. When the times comes, it will get its use.  I use this in conjunction with the Phonics Word Family Speed Game.


Diy Place Value Strips and Printable Base 10 Blocks – Free download templates

Printable Base 10 Blocks Free Template

Before I made the plunge into making a real math manipulative that we would use forever more, I made these printable base 10 blocks during my pregnancy nesting phase. They work if you are on a budget. Personally, the use of cardstock base 10 blocks just did not work for us. We love our Montessori beads too much.