Create an Octable!



We are having a lot of fun with ‘octables’ at home. My son’s teacher introduced it to us and we’re finding it to be a great way to practice times tables. It certainly breaks up the rote learning! But it’s not just for times tables – it works for a range of number facts, so younger children can use it for addition, as well.

So: we thought we’d share this with you, so you can create your own octable at home.


What is an Octable?

You see the picture above? It’s a basic octagon that has been divided into eight equal parts. Each eighth is then divided up into the individual number tiles. We have 10 in each, but I have seen much larger ones that have 18 different numbers in each section.

It’s easy to use. So, once you’ve ruled it up, write in a range of numbers, (from 1-12) in each section. Mix them up so each section is a little different. Then, colour code each section.

How it Works

Now you are ready to start. Let’s say you want to work on your 2 x tables:

  1. The idea is to work your way through the entire octable, seeing how long it takes, trying to better your own time, each time you do it.
  2. Give your child  paper and pen/pencil and the octable. Agree on which coloured section you’re starting on.
  3. Set the timer on your phone/stop watch. When you hit start, your child starts on their first equation.
  4. So, if you start with yellow (in the above picture), the problems are 10 x 2, 3 x 2, 8 x 2, 5 x 2, etc. Your child can write the colour name, then lists the answers underneath, so you can both go back at the end, to see if all of the answers are correct..
  5. Once you have finished the yellow section, you start on blue , then pink, green, etc.
  6. You move around the entire octable and are finished when you have written answers to all eight sections.


If  your child is just starting out with times tables, you might want a times tables chart nearby to help them get started, as they familiarise themselves with it.

You might also find it easiest to have their paper already set out with the coloured headings, so they don’t get confused or lose their place.

If your child has a short attention span or finds the entire octable a bit overwhelming, just start with one section, each time.

If addition is your focus, you can do + 5 problems, or + 10, etc. You might want to have a 100s chart on hand, to help them.

There are 80 problems in the above octable. We make a note of the date and time taken, so we can try to better our time each week.

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