Multiplication tables, known as times tables, list the multiples of a particular number. Multiplications can be difficult to introduce to children until they are learning them; they’ve likely been using actual objects to help them with things like adding and subtracting. Multiplication is the first arithmetic skill where children must learn how to deal with abstract numbers.
Fear not, however, as we’ve put together some easy ways to remember multiplication tables and ideas for engaging and motivating your children to learn them.
Easy ways to remember multiplication tables
The simplest way to learn multiplication tables is by involving your children in various activities that exercise children’s memory rather than relying solely on repetition, which is boring (for you and your children)!
Write a multiplication table
This is an olden but golden technique for learning and remembering multiplication tables.
Let them choose different coloring pencils to fill them in to make them feel more involved and focused on the activity.
Next, you want to hang the completed square up in a place where your class or child will see it regularly (e.g. their bedroom door, next to the whiteboard). Then, set up a regular time for you and your child to sit down and have a no-pressure run-through of a particular set of times tables. This could be just before dinner or while getting ready for bed. The more often they see and practice reciting their times’ tables, the more likely they are to learn them!
Recite the multiplication table forwards and backward
Once your children have finished writing and decorating their multiplication tables, ask them to read them both forwards and backward aloud. Again, it would help if you encouraged them to do this slowly and carefully. Children can then work in pairs to practice reciting the multiplication tables to one another without looking! This fun exercise takes the pressure off from repeating to an adult.
You can also try asking your children multiplication questions backward, so instead of saying, “2 times three equals…” you can say, “6 equals two times what?”
Skip-counting is one of the best ways to remember multiplication tables without simply repeating the numbers. To skip-count, start with the number you’re counting by and keep adding that same number. For example, skip-counting by two would be 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc. Likewise, skip-counting by four would be 4, 8, 12, 16, and so on.
You can make skip-counting a fun and effortless way to learn multiplication tables by skip-counting to song tunes.
Get your child to set goals and reward them when they meet them.
If their goal is to learn their 2, 3, and 4 times tables weekly, you could arrange a treat for them if they reach that goal. Perhaps grab a pizza on a Friday or take a trip to the cinema. A bit of harmless competitiveness is an effective way to motivate your children to meet their multiplication goals! In the classroom, you could set up a star chart, and each child can put a gold star or sticker next to the table that they’ve learned to keep track of their progress. This could work towards a golden hour on a Friday afternoon.