My son is at the age where his teachers are encouraging us to start teaching times tables. I think most parents have an inward groan at this point, particularly if they remember their own torturous rote-learning of times tables. So, whilst there is a place for rote-learning, here’s five other ideas to make teaching times tables a little more fun:
Using 2 12-sided dice, roll both dice and multiply the numbers that come up. You can use 6-sided dice. (But obviously only for practising up to the 6 times tables.)
Grab 2 cupcake trays – each with 12 cupcake holes. Place small circles of paper into each of the holes. The papers should have the numbers 1-12 written on them. So each tray has the numbers 1-12 written on small circles of paper in each of the cupcake holes. Now get 2 pom poms, table tennis balls, or something similar and throw one into each of the cupcake trays. Multiply the two numbers that the pom poms/balls land on.
Use a pack of standard playing cards. Simply turn over 2 cards and multiply them. You can remove the picture cards if you want, or assign each one a number: 0, 1, 11 and 12.
Make a Chatterbox, but instead of writing words and instructions, just write times tables. Your child needs to answer the times table questions in order to find out what’s below. Instructions for how to make a chatterbox can be found on our You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQy–WWGi_Q.
Simply fire times table questions to your child at random times. Maybe they have to answer a question when they sit down at the dinner table, or when they’re about to leave for school, or when they’re putting on their socks etc. For these questions, focus on the speed of recall, so try not to ask questions that will stump them. Use questions you know they are pretty confident with and work on their automatic response.
Other tried and true methods:
- Put up a times table chart or poster. Place it somewhere they will likely be still and not distracted for a period of time. I have mine beside the kids’ beds, but I know my husband swears by one on the back of the toilet door!
- Use times table songs to learn them by rote. There is a great app, called Maths Rockx, which has put all the times tables to popular songs, such as ‘So What?’ by Pink or ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.
However you choose to help your child learn the rather monotonous, but extremely important times tables, try to keep it light and fun. They will get there, in time, try not to stress them out too much in the process!
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