How to teach multiplication tables
At some point, every parent is probably considering how to teach multiplication tables.
As both a teacher and a tutor, this was something I gave a considerable amount of thought about it.
There are lots of methods – and you will want to try different methods with different children. I suggest you bookmark this page so you can come back to it (Control +D). Don’t keep pushing a method they hate and don’t try to move too fast, especially if they are under 7. You will, no doubt, come across parents who are delighted that their children know their tables at an early age, but children are all different. The important thing is not to put them off. It really is a case of slow and steady wins the race.
(I have quite a few links on this page, some of them go to Amazon and if you purchase through these links I will receive a small percentage – but it won’t affect the price you pay. I hope you don’t mind. It helps will the costs of running this site.)
I shall divide this into very rough age sections.
6-7 years olds
Here I would concentrate on playing games.
Try creating some cards with your child to use for matching games. They don’t need to be playing card size.
Let your child choose a theme – eg Star Wars, dolphins, whatever they like. Then take one of the tables and create a few cards to match.
I have done this on PowerPoint – which makes it really easy to get the pictures from the clipart section and you can reprint anytime you want.
You could start out by just printing two sets of up to 5 x 2 and match them, counting the dolphins, ordering them and telling stories – 2 dolphins were swimming in the sea when they saw two more, so they swam over to see them. Now there were four.
This age group also like to sing songs. You can find some on Youtube for free.
Start with 2s, 5s and 10s and then if/when ready also include 3s and 4s.
Also, don’t feel you have to be doing everything at once. Try picking a few cards, eg 2 x 6, 3 x 3, 4 x 2, 5 x 5, 3 x 10, and use those to put in order, match, and play snap or war.
Some useful multiplication songs.
Another version of the same song but with the multiplier coming second.
Click on this link to find more times tables created by Reggae Beatz.
Click on this link for more multiplication songs by Jack Hartmann
7-9 year olds
This is when most of the learning of tables should take place so that your children are ready for more complex multiplication and division calculations.
Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do and resources available.
Carry on playing the games suggested above but introducing new sets of cards or buy some multiplication tables games cards.
Choose a game board you have at home and write some cards for it. For instance, if you have a trivial pursuit board you could say if you land on a yellow you have to answer a 2 times question. If you have a monopoly board you could replace the chance and community chest question with these cards – use the money to help you answer the questions. The object of the game could be to collect the most properties, forget about houses and hotels when you start playing.
These cards could be useful to use – SmartyMaths Times Table Flash Cards Set of 144
Here we have an interesting game you can play with an ordinary pack of cards. It’s called Tables Combination.
Try the Maths trainer at https://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/math-trainer-multiply.html . Start with tables already know and do a minute at a time. Change the question cut-off to 1 day otherwise children get really disheartened. Once they know tables well try introducing the 8-second cut-off. Some children love this – others don’t!!
Multiplication.com http://www.multiplication.com/games/all-games has a great set of arcade type games. For a mixture of tables try Granny Prix, to pick individual tables or any mixture try Pirate Multiplication but those are just my favourites. Let your child choose their own.
10-15 year olds
At this age, if children haven’t learnt their tables they are often really fed up of people trying to make them learn them so it is really important to try and do things which engage their interest.
Multiplication.com http://www.multiplication.com/games/all-games is popular.
This Romany method really grabs some older children and adults who have struggled – and a useful step towards learning them. Younger children are much less likely to take to this in my experience.
Learn your times tables fast This video explains which are the hardest few sums to learn and makes it feel easier to accomplish the task by breaking it down.
Mindset is so important – try using these affirmations and others you make up.
Everday in every way – I am enjoying maths more.
I am an amazing mathematician!
Each day I learn something new.
I can do anything.
I and my family are good at maths.
I didn’t know I was good at maths but I am!
I hope this helps!
Try to help your child enjoy the process, and try to enjoy the time you are spending with your child.
If you have comments, suggested youtube videos, games, suggestions or any questions please ask them below and I will try and answer them asap.
21 thoughts on “How to teach multiplication tables”
I am glad I have found your site. I have just started teaching my son learning time tables. You have some guidance according to ages which really helps me to find my way to get my son into learning time tables. The game board sounds like a fun way to gain his interest. I will have a go with it. Thank you so much!
Thank you for your comment! I am glad that you found my article useful.
I hope you both enjoy the board game. Don’t forget to celebrate small milestones and enjoy the journey.
If you have any questions, please feel free to come back and ask them.
All the best!
It’s really great to see a site devoted to helping parents help their children. I noticed two things about the article, just as an FYI… Under 6-7 year olds, third line, you have a typo that was missed (you should be your). Also the “SmartyMaths Times Table Flash Cards Set of 144” is missing a link. It’s really, really awesome to see someone understanding an putting into practice, the FTC compliance required in the USA. Great work!
I love the different games that you’ve come up with. Replacing the cards on a Monopoly game is brilliant, as is the Trivial Pursuit modification. I always like singing songs with the little ones too! Those songs can be sung at any time … while having the kids help preparing dinner in the kitchen or a way to make picking up toys more fun at the end of the day.
Don’t forget to find ways to reinforce the concept that multiplication is just adding sums again and again. Having a reason behind the rote memorization helps a lot of kids.
Hi Laurie, thanks for your encouragement.
I will correct the typo and missing link. Thanks for pointing these out.
Good point about repeated addition, and the importance of understanding. I absolutely agree!!
I think that this is very valuable information to know. My sister have one boy who is 7 year old and she really have a problem learning him multiplication table. This is so creative and easy for kids to remember. I must forward this article to my sister. Thanks a lot! This will help many parents who have kids of this age.
Thanks Daniel – I hope it does help your nephew.
7 is still quite young though so I would be concentrating on 2s, 3s, 5s and 10s only at this age, unless he was ready to move on.
Great ideas for learning multiplication tables! I’m a former teacher and mom, so I get the struggle.
One year in my class, I found that the games just weren’t working. So I told them they would be in charge of their progress. I would test them each Friday on certain sets and they had all week to study them. I gave them a form to chart their own progress. And, if they wanted, they could have a buddy for correcting and comparing. But that was up to them, no assigned pairs.
It actually worked better for me than the games. Not for everyone, because it never works for all, but a far higher percentage mastered most of them by getting interested in watching their own progress. I think it gave them a feeling of more accountability, without external pressure.
Also, when my son was in Elementary school, there wasn’t any emphasis on learning them, and I knew what a disaster it would be for him later if he didn’t. He already had some math anxiety. So I worked with him at home, and he complained a lot. But later, in Middle School, he came came back and thanked me because it helped him so much, while he watched his peers struggle.
It’s a tricky subject, and too often neglected, for sure. Good post! 🙂
What an excellent idea! – getting them to take responsibility for their own learning is always a good thing, but often quite difficult to do. You must have really inspired them! What age were they?
I’m glad your son appreciated you making him learn his tables. My mum made me do mine at rather a young age, but again it made everything easier afterwards.
I wish I’d seen this article when my eldest was around the age of 6 to 7 – would have made things a lot easier for the both of us.
My youngest is just starting out in the more ‘advanced’ mathematics and I’m not exactly what you’d call competent at maths – I wasn’t in school and I’m not now.
I love the idea of creating cards and matching games to the multiplication tables – the Star Wars idea would go down REALLY well with him!
How long do you feel each tutoring session should be for a 6 year old boy?
Star Wars is still incredibly popular with children of all ages -even for children who haven’t seen the films. The characters just seem to capture their imagination.
Children are very different and a lot depends on how interested they are in the subject matter or how tired they are.
For a six-year old, if you are teaching them, I would try about 15 minutes at a time and then take it from there.
I love the idea of making the power point cards. I believe visual games like these are just what children like and make learning much more fun!
However, I only wish I had known the Romany method when I was in school! I am definitely going to be showing my teenage son this one, he will absolutely love it! Thank you so much.
I am glad that you like the Powerpoint cards.
I think the Romany method works well with teenagers and adults, but not so well with younger children. I hope your son enjoys it.
All the best,
Wow, thanks Julia, I’m glad to have found your site. Out little one is 2 years old and I’m introducing her to numbers so have book marked this website for ideas for her. We’re just starting on numbers and counting now.Do you have any recommendations for numbers and counting etc for 2.5-4 year olds?I love these ideas for multiplication tables, they’re so much more interesting than the rote learning they taught me at school! Thank you
Two is still very young so I would just concentrate on letting her see you count objects and perhaps repeating some of the words. There are lots of nursery rhymes that include numbers so try some of those.
Don’t worry too much about whether she gets it. Just enjoy them and then understanding will come when she is ready.
I never know there were so many methods in teaching multiplication table to our children, and luckily l stumbled upon your site.
My son aged 10 years never have the interest in mathematics although we did send him to Maths Tuition center which teaches Abacus‐based mental calculation (AMC) method his concentration was not there.
Now, we can use some of your suggestion as not to push him into mastering the timetable but keep them interested and having fun.
I have already bookmarked your site for future reference.
Thank you for sharing this valuable information.
I am glad you like it – hope it is helpful and your son enjoys learning his tables in a fun way!
All the best!
Very good post and it remembers me to my childhood.
My dad wasn’t doing it by cards but by blocks with a number on it, but it is easy to understand when you get it learned like that.
I’ve already bookmarked your site and I’m happy, the tips you give are so good for our childs, so they can be educated very good.
Thank you so much!
I am glad you found it useful!
I am very glad to have found your article and to note that there are many ways to teach children multiplication tables. I was really worried as my 6 year-old child has a problem learning multiplication table. I will try to apply the card game that makes learning times tables fun. Many thanks and I have bookmarked your page.
I am glad that you found this page useful.
At six, I would just concentrate on the 2s, 5s and 10s unless your grandchild seems ready for more.
Games are very helpful at this age but only if the child is enjoying them.
Don’t forget that you can adapt games.
For instance, in multiplication war, one person could have just 2s, 5s and 10s and the other a selection of different cards. That way the only tables to come up are 2s, 5s, and 10s. Stop when these cards are used up. Take it in turns and help the child talk through their tables to get the answer. Fix it so that they win most of the time!!
Your grandchild is still very young. Help them enjoy their time with you – that’s the most important time at the end of the day.
All the best,
Hey, I remember when I was a child learning the multiplication table was very hard for me, but today there are so many methods that make our work so easier for example; playing games or singing songs. As was mentioned in your post group age is very important to teach kids the multiplication table. Parents and teachers must be aware of these differences between kids. I think your post can lead kids and teens who want to learn the multiplication table. I will recommend it to my friends. Thanks for sharing.