Googly Eye Dice Tutorial and Piano Teaching Tips

Have you noticed that dice and googly eyes seem to be incredibly popular lately? They are all the rage in both music and non-music settings, and I wanted to share with you a project I did several years ago that uses BOTH – yes BOTH dice AND googly eyes! Googly eye dice!

They are a perfect tool to use in music lessons or in your classroom in a ton of different ways, so here’s a really easy tutorial to show you how to make your own googly eye dice! Plus, they bring on the giggles, which is always a good thing  😁

 

Piano student with googly eye dice

 

Here’s a really easy tutorial, plus piano teaching tips, to show you how to combine the two into a fabulous teaching tool and make your own googly eye dice.

They’re perfect for any classroom, including the elementary music room, plus the piano studio or other teaching environment. Hope you enjoy!

Materials: 

1. Large googly eyes. The ones I’m using are 40 mm, or 1.57 inches in diameter. Perfect for the giant yellow foam dice I used for this tutorial. I actually purchased several 12- packs of large googly eyes off the shelf at Walmart. To cover one die you’ll need 21 eyes, and for both dice, you’ll need 42 eyes. Not into googly eyes so much? Use craft jewels instead! 

2. Giant foam dice. These yellow foam dice are huge – FIVE-INCH cubes – and my kiddos LOVE them! They’ve been around forever. We had a set in the piano pedagogy lab when I was in grad school “a few” (haha) years ago. My students loved them then, and they love them now. The foam dice are lightweight so I’m not worried that they’ll damage the floor when they are rolled.

 The purple die that you see in the photos of my students was one of a set of two that I purchased at Dollar Tree several years ago. I couldn’t find that size anywhere as I was writing this tutorial, so if you’re looking for a smaller set than the giant foam ones, this option will do the trick. They’re 1.75 inches and would require googly eyes that are much smaller than the ones above, since the large googly eyes are only 1/2 inch smaller than the small dice! If you order these dice, take them with you to Walmart or Target so you can choose the best size of googly eyes to fit the dots on the dice. You could also go retro and use fuzzy dice! I’m definitely going to buy a few sets of these!

3. Hot glue gun. Mine is “low heat” and was perfect for this project.

4. Glue sticks for your glue gun. To adhere 21 googly eyes to one foam die, I used a total of 3 mini glue sticks.

 

Instructions:

Step 1. Gather all your materials and open all of the packaging so that everything is within reach.

 

 

Step 2. Plug in your glue gun and wait until the glue is nice and hot. You want to be able to apply a thin layer of glue, rather than a large blob.

Step 3. While you’re waiting for your glue gun to heat up, lay the googly eyes onto the die and place them where you want them. The side with 6 dots was trickiest for me, but I put the eyes close together and it was just fine.

Step 4. Put a big swirl of glue all over the back of a googly eye. If the glue is applied in an even layer, it will adhere better to the foam dice and will lie flush with the surface of the dice. It will also be nearly impossible for kids to wedge their fingers underneath and try to pop the eyes off if the glue is all the way to the edge of the eyes.

Step 5. Stick the googly eye to one of the dots on the die. Press the googly eye into the foam several times so the glue adheres to all the little holes in the foam. For best results and to keep everything lined up, stick the googly eye onto the center of the dot.

 

Step 6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your die (or both dice) are covered with googly eyes.

Step 7. Bring them to your studio or classroom and see your students get super excited about your new googly eye dice!

 

 

Suggestions for using your fun new googly eye dice:

Roll them and let the googly eyes decide…

  • How many times to practice “Speedy Keys”

    • Speedy Keys is a fun little game I learned about years ago from my pedagogy professor (Steve Betts – some of you may know him!).
    • I teach students part of this game during their very first piano lesson.
    • The goal is to learn where all the white keys are.
    • I start with D and say “Hey diddle diddle, the D is in the middle!” (of the 2 black keys) as I play the 2 black keys and the D.
    • Then I ask the student to play all the groups of 2 black keys, followed by the D’s.
    • We then play the 3 black keys followed by the F’s (front doors of the 3 black keys) and B’s (back doors of the 3 black keys).
    • Rolling the dice to determine how many times for a new student to practice this game each day sets a great precedence that practicing includes repetition.
  • How many times the student should write or practice a new scale

    • Pro Tip: If you have smaller dice, have your students roll them in a box so the dice won’t get away and be lost under the sofa or bookshelf! I was missing a die one day, and after searching and searching for it, I later found it under the sofa. 
  • How many times to practice a tricky section of music

    • Have the student actually play the number of repetitions in the lesson to see how effective it can be. If my students roll a 1 or 2 when we’re working on repetitions, I ask them if they think that’s a good number of times to practice something in order to learn it well. Then we get silly and say “Noooooo!! Roll again!!”
  • How many days a week to practice

    • Pro Tip: Have the student roll both dice and choose the more appropriate number of the two options. This fosters independence and helps students learn to decide for themselves whether 2 days is appropriate or not. 
  • How many pieces to sight-read each day

    • I allow my kiddos to borrow sight-reading materials from my studio library so they have plenty of short pieces to sight-read.
  • How many times to repeat a sight-reading exercise

    • When we use this option, the goal, which I make sure my students understand, is to improve each time they repeat the sight-reading piece.
  • How many times to review flash cards during the week

    • Do you have students who forget to review their flash cards?
    • I definitely do, but I have others to would rather review flash cards than practice their piano pieces!
    • Using the dice to determine how many times to review flash cards during the week can take the “bad guy” label off of you if your students dislike flash card review!

  • How many theory pages, worksheets, or note drills to complete

    • This works well if they get behind for some reason, or if they’re reviewing extra pages to prepare for an exam.

  • How many times to practice a specific concept or piece in a music app

    • Again, some students think that doing something only one time is practice.
    • Using the dice to tell them how many times to practice or review something can be extremely helpful.
 

Basically, anything that needs a number as the answer! There are so many possibilities!

What are some of your ideas for using googly eye dice in your studio or classroom? Leave a comment and let us know so we can try them out too!

Click this link or the photo below to view my post on the collaborative blog Sing.Teach.Love.

Be sure to follow the blog while you’re there. It is a blog by a group of music teachers with various perspectives, sharing ideas for your music room. Come on over and join us!

Googly Eye Dice Tutorial & Teaching Tips

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Teaching Repertoire

    I’ve used dice in my lessons by labeling several tricky measures (#1-6) in a song the student is learning, then rolling dice to decide which measure to play. It encourages the student to focus on the spots that need work. The goggly eyes will definitely make this exercise more fun! Thanks for the tip.

    1. Melody Payne

      What a great idea! I’ll definitely be using your idea in lessons. Thanks so much for your comment, Teaching Repertoire! Have fun with the googly eye dice!

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Welcome!

Hi! I’m Melody Payne, a pianist and piano teacher, educational resource author, a fun-loving wife to the most wonderful and talented hubby I could ask for, and a lifelong learner who loves to share. I want to make your life as a music teacher easier by writing and sharing helpful and relevant music teaching articles, and by creating educational resources with your very own students in mind. If you are a parent who wants to enroll your child in piano lessons, I’d love for us to get started building those skills that can give your child a lifetime of musical enjoyment!

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