I have one child who learned their multiplication facts very easily - with simple drill and repetition and written drills every single day.
(Thank you, Saxon Math.)
My other child, however, needed something more than drills. She needed creative ways to learn her times tables - games, songs, manipulatives. You name it, we did it.
Oh -- and don't forget the flashcards - flashcards are a must for learning times tables!
The fact is this: not all children learn in the same way, so when I approach any subject I know that one size never fits all. This is ESPECIALLY true of math.
If straight drill and repetition doesn't work for your child, you might want to try a few different things that will help cement those all-important facts. Because I will tell you -- knowing multiplication facts is INTEGRAL to all future math success.
*I have been compensated to write this post. All opinions are mine and I never recommend anything my children don't use and love.
Helping Auditory Learners with Times Tables
Sometimes HEARING those times tables over and over can really help.
We love our Classical Conversations memory work CDs for our times tables, but before we did CC (and when I taught elementary school) I had a couple of tried and true resources.
Helping Kinesthetic Learners with Times Tables
Some kids need to experience the times tables tactically to achieve understanding and mastery.
My son, when he was just preschool age, started showing signs that he learned this way, and I am so thankful I followed his lead. It made both of our lives so much easier when I respected his learning style!
- Unifix Cubes are a versatile manipulative for learning all kinds of math facts.
- Multiplication Wrap-Ups - if you don't know about these you are MISSING OUT! We loved learning our facts with these.
- LEGOS - Some kids just speak LEGO, know what I mean? Using LEGO bricks for teaching multiplication can really engage those kids!
Helping Visual Learners with Times Tables
Some children have to SEE IT to remember it.
One of my kids has a lot of visual learning tendencies, and the multiplication tables suddenly clicked for him when did simple multiplication coloring charts.
I would print the number charts and have him color the multiples of whatever number we were working on that day. Because he loved coloring and because he loved patterns this was a HUGE hit with him.
(Get loads of free printable number sheets from Super Teacher Worksheets.)
Learning Times Tables with Games
A way to learn multiplication facts that appeals to everyone is through games.
We love playing multiplication card games.
Recently we have also discovered a new multiplication game from Logic Roots (which leads me to the point of this post -- to tell you about our favorite new game!).
I knew the game would be good because we enjoyed Ocean Raiders (an addition game) very much!
Learning Times Tables with Say Cheese
Say Cheese is designed to help children practice their multiplication facts (2-10 to be exact).
Designed for grades 1 and up, it provides children an opportunity to practice their facts repeatedly and while having FUN - so they don't even realize the work they are doing.
I played the game with my son and his good friend -- both boys are pretty good with their times tables, but they are working on QUICK RECALL of those facts in preparation for upper levels of math.
They are both currently working in Saxon 7/6, so all of the skills practiced in this game are skills they have been working on ALL YEAR.
They enjoyed the game very much and agreed that it was MUCH BETTER than doing a Saxon lesson!
From the creators of Say Cheese (Logic Roots):
With Say Cheese, you get 14 times more practice of multiplication skills.
For Say Cheese, the practice jump is 14 times. And a child will get exposed to the following skills with each game play:
- Multiplication Tables
- Use of Divisibility Rules
- Identifying Factors and Multiples
How to Play Say Cheese
Game play is very simple. Each player has a cute little mouse pouch of "cheese coins".
The "cheese coins" are distributed equally among the players.
The first player chooses which times table they would like to practice - let's pretend it's 4. The next player takes a coin from their bag and throws it into the arena... let's say the number on the coin is 34. If that coin is a MULTIPLE of 4 then the player says "CHEESE" and gets to take the coin from the arena. Well, we know 34 isn't a multiple of 4, so play continues. Perhaps the next coin thrown in is 81. 81 isn't a multiple of 4, either. Play continues. The next player throws in the coin with the number 20 on it. That player says "CHEESE" because it is indeed a multiple of 4. The player says "4x5=20" and can then collect all of the coins from the arena.
Play continues until one player runs out of coins or until a set time amount is finished. It's up to you.
Some of the times tables are easier - like the 2, 5 and 10 times tables. Other tables are harder, so more thinking was required.
We also liked that there were several ways to make the game more challenging for older students. The game can be easily mastered by a first grader, but is still engaging for a sixth grader.
(If you want to read the full rule book, visit the Logic Roots website. There are MANY supplementary resources here and the game itself includes a scannable QR code that takes you directly to the rule book. Logic Roots does more for students than just selling you a game !)
The Say Cheese game includes slates to write on in case kids want to write out their times tables to help them (they might be a visual learner). It also includes a fun poster to hang in your school or home, and a thorough directions book.
What We Liked About Say Cheese
It was a pleasure to try this game, and I know it will be a staple in our homeschool as we works towards increased automaticity with our times tables.
When I asked Grant and his friend what they enjoyed about the game here is what they said:
- easy to understand
- you get "steal cheese" from your friend (we made up a variation of the game based on speed and they loved this)
- it doesn't take forever to play and you are thinking the entire game
Here is what I liked about the game:
- it forced the boys to use their divisibility rules
- a concentrated amount of math facts practice in a short amount of time
- the game is cute and colorful - really appeals to elementary aged children
So, if you want to make multiplication a little more fun, you might want to investigate Say Cheese. In fact, Logic Roots has MANY math games - for all age and skill levels.