While a huge amount of a child’s education takes place at school, learning times tables doesn’t really happen without a great deal of practice at home as well. While some kids might pick it up easily through simple repetition, some children need more creative methods. Here are 50 different ways that you can help your child learn times tables.
There are a lot of ideas here, gathered from a variety of parents and teachers. Don’t feel like you have to try them all. Have a look through and think about what might work for your child. If it turns out not to, try another.
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Using Music to Learn Times Tables
There are a wealth of songs and dances around to help your child memorise their times tables. If your child enjoys a a singsong or a boogie they might be the way to go.
If your child is a fan of CBBC then Super Movers from BBC Teach has some great videos for actively learning the times tables. 2s, 4s, 5s and 10s are in the Key Stage One section, the others are in the Key Stage Two section.
“Put the tables to the Macarena dance to link an action to the number – so do the Macarena arms movements and say the next number in the table you are working on each time you change the arm position – always finishing with a wiggle! kids love it and it really helps them retain the numbers” Melanie from Two Plus Dogs
The YouTube channel Laugh Along and Learn has some great pop song covers to teach specific times tables, including the 6 times tables set to Taylor Swift’s Shake it off.
If you use Spotify they also have a range of times tables song that you could either listen to together or play in the background.
If you have a budding rock star on your hands then this CD uses rock and pop songs to teach times table.
Making Times Tables Part of Daily Life
Simply displaying the times tables somewhere they will be seen regularly can help with recall. In particular a poster in view of the toilet where there’s not much else to look!
“I bought a place mat (normally used for food at the table) which has the times tables on it. I use it out in the garden while he is running around and shout out a question from each of the number groups. He also uses it to revise the numbers beforehand…” Clare from Travel Bugs
One of the ways we practice our times tables is on our daily dog walk. We recite one set of times tables each day. We start of with me saying it and then the kids repeating it but as they get to know it better we all say it together.
If you have a child who asks for snacks every thirty second then you can turn that to your advantage. Make them correctly answer a few times tables before they get a snack.
Another way you can teach times tables without really thinking about it is to stick one times table sum on each stair and every one in the family has to say them every time they go upstairs. Over time you can start to take some away until they are all gone and everyone is saying the times tables without thinking about it.
Products to Help with Learning Times Tables
There are some great products out there to help you and your child work on the times tables. While a lot of them could be made at home, sometimes hitting “add to basket” on Amazon is easier!
“The Learning Resources Tackling Tables cards are an easy way to practice with children. The cards are colour coded so you can start with the easiest ones times tables first and we found them helpful to test in random orders once my daughter could recite them in order.” Kate from Counting to Ten
If you have a kinesthetic learner than then this toy where you turn the wheels to create the sum and the answer is a good way of practising.
Using a number square can help children learn to skip count which is a useful skill for times tables, this one is wipe clean so it can be used over and over again.
This set of times tables magnets has the question of one side and the answer on the other, it can be used on the fridge or with the board provided.
Books to Help you Learn Times Tables
If your child is a visual learner then the book Times Fables might suit them well. It uses stories about number shaped characters to teach the times tables. It also has a separate section of rhymes for learning to multiply numbers by themselves.
If you have a football fan who needs to learn their times tables, this book uses football chants to help children memorise the times tables.
You can find more tricks for children with different learning styles in Times Tables Tricks. It has lots of different ideas that can work for children who struggle with traditional methods.
Times Tables games for clever kids is great for kids who just need over all practise. It contains a variety of games where children too to use multiplication to play.
Games to Help you Learn Times Tables
Games can be a great way to practise times tables without it feeling like work. Luckily there are lots of great ones you can play.
“We practice times tables while playing UNO – pick a times table you want to practice, when you lay down a number card you have to call out that number multiplied by the times tables number. So if you were practising your 5 times table and you put down a 9 card, you have to say 45.” Zoe from My Allergy Kitchen
Orchard Toys are known for creating great games for kids and they have a few games for learning times tables. They have First Times tables which covers 2s, 5s and 10s and Times Tables Hero’s which covers from 1s to 12s and was designed with the year 4 times tables check in mind.
If your kids are fond of the David Walliams books (or the BBC adaptations) this game, based on Billionaire Boy, might be popular. It’s better for children who already know most tables are are cementing their knowledge.
If you have Alexa in the house you can play a simple game with her. You ask Alexa a times tables question and your child has to try and answer before her. Great for the competitive type.
If you like dominoes then these sets of maths dominoes would be great. They do times tables ones as well as other number functions. Instead of matching dots you match sums and their products.
You can easily make your own times tables game with a piece of cardboard and twelve pegs. Write the times tables questions around the outside edge of the cardboard and then write the answers on the pegs. Children then need to peg the correct answer to each question.
Apps and Websites to Help You Learn Times Tables
If you want a simple, free way to practice times tables on a screen the Top Marks’ game Hit the Button is the place to start. It displays the question and a variety of possible answers and you just hit the right answer button. If you want something a bit more involved there are plenty to choose from.
“My son loved the MathsRockx app that we downloaded to the ipad – they use current pop and rock songs tunes, replacing the lyrics with a specific times table. Even now he’s 11 I often hear him singing the songs – they are addictive! Who’d have thought Pharrell Williams’ Happy song is the easiest way to learn the 7 times table!?” Tracey from Pack the PJs
TTRockstars is a website and app used by a lot of UK schools. It’s set up based on the child being a musician. The more times tables practice they do the better they become, moving from lower levels like busker up to international rockstar. Schools who use it can set up competitions between the kids which are often popular. There are subscription options for schools and families can subscribe for around £7 a year.
The Squeebles Times Tables app is great for kids even when they are just getting started. It has a training mode where it shows the the answer before asking them to type it in. There is also a test mode for when they are more confident. Practice earns them stars which they can spend in the game they get to play as a reward. There is also a division version for practising the division facts.
The Maths factor is by Carol Vorderman and covers various maths topics as well as times table. There is a free trial so you can see if it suits your child and then it’s around £2 a week.
Maths Frame has a variety of maths based games including a good number for practising multiplication. Lots are are sports themed so might suit you if you have a sporty child. Some of the games are free and some you need to register for which costs £10 a year.
Activities to Help With Times Tables Learning
There are lots of activities you can do to practice times tables in creative ways.
Printable multiplication colouring sheets can work well if you have children who like to colour. You have to work out the times table to find our what colour you need to use.
If you have a garden trampoline you can write the answers to a set of times tables on it in chalk then call out the question and your child then jumps on the answer.
If you don’t have a trampoline but you do have a garden you can do something similar. Write the answers to a set of times tables in chalk on the floor. You then call out the question and children have to bounce a ball on the answer.
If you have a wall or fence and a nerf gun kids will love this game. You write the answers to a set of times tables on the wall or fence in chalk. Then you call out the question and the child has to shoot the answer.
If your child is old enough to be trusted with sharp objects then playing darts and keeping score will get them practising without even noticing.
If there are a few of you in the family you can turn a game of catch into times table practise time. The person throwing the ball asks a times table question and the person catching it says the answer.
If you’re stuck inside then you can create a times tables treasure hunt by hiding the answers around the house, asking the question and then sending the child to find it. This works best if you have two children practising the same set of times tables.
For a completely different way to practice times tables, how about using the phone? Not a smartphone, but the old fashioned kind. This service phones your child once a day and plays prerecorded times tables practice. They also have a DIY version so you can set up daily practice with family members.
If your child is happy to learn in the traditional pen and paper way then worksheets can be great. You can use lots of different ones to make the practise seem less repetitive.
Seven Times Tables trick
Sevens are one of the trickiest times tables to learn. There is a trick you can do by writing them in a grid which is explained in detail in this video. It isn’t as easy as the tricks described for 9s below but it may still be useful.
9 Times Tables Tricks
I can remember really struggling with my 9 times tables and I so wish I had known one of these tricks.
This one works for any 9 times table up to ten. Simply hold up ten fingers and then count along your fingers to the number you are multiplying by. So if I was doing 4×9 I would put down my 4th finger. The fingers on the left of the one you have put down represent tens and the fingers on the righthand side of the one you’ve put down represent ones so the answer is 36.
Alternatively there is this trick:
“For 9 times tables, the numbers in the answer always add up to 9. (Apart from 11×9)” Emma from Bubba Blue and Me
Understanding the Relationship Between the Times Tables
The idea of learning twelve sets of times tables can seem insurmountable to start with. Children often don’t realise just how many times tables they already know. If you have a child who has got to grips with the initial 2s, 5s and 10s, it’s worth showing them on paper how much they know. Explaining that 7×2 is the same as 2×7 can be mind blowing.
We printed out all of the times tables on an A4 sheet and I asked my kids to highlight all the ones they knew. They duly highlighted the list of the two times tables, the list with the five times tables and the list with the ten times tables. Next I pointed out that they know the one times tables too. Then I showed them that, because times tables are the same no matter which way round you put them and they know the one times tables, they know the first times table in every set. Then I showed them that the same was true of the two times tables, the five times tables and the ten times tables.
While this doesn’t actually teach them any more, realising how many they already know can be very motivating. Now each time they learn a new set of tables, we update the sheet.
Strategies for When they don’t Know the Answer
Until they have memorised all of the times tables it’s useful to have some go to strategies for when they are stuck. If you are asked a times table Question and don’t know the answer, the first thing to do is swap the numbers around as you might have memorised it the other way.
You can also use halving and doubling. If you know that 2×4 is 8 then if you’re asked what 4×4 is then double the answer to 2×8 so it must be 16. If you know that 7×3 is 21 then the answer to 7×6 must be double that, so 42.
If that doesn’t work then the next thing to do is ask yourself what the nearest times table you do know is. So if you’re asked what 4×6 is, you might know that 3×6 is 18 so you just need to add another 6. If you are asked what 9×8 is, you probably know that 10×8 is 80, so you can takeaway an 8 to get the answer to 9×8, 72.
So there you have 50 tips, tricks and ideas to help your child learn their times tables, if you have success with these methods I’d love to hear about it in the comments. If it’s reading you’re struggling with, check out our tips for reluctant readers. You might also like our Minecraft, Football and Dinosaur Themed Learning Resources guides.
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