"Are there ways to make learning times tables fun?" Memorising the multiplication table is a vital skill that children must master before entering secondary school. Here are a few tips to help your kids:
- Hang up the multiplication table. The more often children see, practise and see repeating patterns, the more likely they are to learn their times tables.
- Start with the simplest. There is controversy over which order is the best way to teach the multiplication table. However, the general consensus is that it is preferable to start with 2, 5, and 10. Multiplication table 2 involves doubling and using fingers first. Memorising the multiplication table by 10 helps children see the patterns: "4 tens - 40, 7 tens - 70". In the multiplication table by 10, all numbers end in 0, and in the multiplication table by 5, all numbers end in 5 or 0. After the children have mastered the multiplication tables by 2, 5, and 10, it will be easier for them to move to 4 and 8.
- Teach your kids tricks. My favourite trick is to use your fingers to calculate the multiplication table by nine. Start by spreading all 10 fingers in front of you. To calculate 9 × 1, lower your left pinky. What's left? 9 fingers! For 9 × 2, lower your left ring finger. What's left? 1 finger and a gap, then 8 fingers or 18. This trick works up to 9 × 9 (8 and 1 or 81). There are a few videos on YouTube that actually show how this trick works.
- Listen to funny times tables songs. For example, one of the American teachers, DeMaio, created engaging educational times tables songs on YouTube.
- Draw a Waldorf multiplication flower.
- Play online games! A very simple, yet effective online math game called Hit the Button which is free to use. There are plenty of free board games in both English and Spanish languages available on Twinkle.
- Empathise when kids make mistake. Praise, encourage and reward their efforts! Have lots of fun!