Guest Post - Introducing Times Tables

My youngest is busy learning his times tables at the moment so I thought it might be good to put together a post about how we do it at home.  He has already figured out his 10 times and is now working on his 2 times and 5 times tables.

Skip Counting

The first step for us is always skip counting - making sure the kids can count in 2’s or 5’s and are very confident and happy with this. We really like the skip counting cards for this. The kids can play around putting the cards in the correct order, and they can have a game where they need to guess which card come next in the row and the flip the cards to see if they are correct. The more they practice this, the easier the times tables are going to be. We often play skip counting games in the car and they will end up skip counting to very large numbers.

Putting skip counting cards in the correct order
Putting skip counting cards in the correct order

Explain Groups of Numbers

We used our skip counting cards for this. My son started off by placing the correct number of snap cubes under each number. Then he would split the counters into groups of 2 or 5.  So under 4 we would have two group of two and under 6 we would have three groups of 2. This step helps the kids to understand that the times table equation 2x2 is the same thing as saying 2 groups of 2.  

Matching snap cubes to the skip counting cards
Matching snap cubes to the skip counting cards

And it also shows them that you can write the times table sum out as a repeated addition sum (i.e. 3x2 = 2+2+2).  

Folding Matching Cards

We love these folding times tables flash cards and think they are perfect for practicing times tables. You just cut out the strips, fold them, glue them and you have a card with the sum on one side and the answer on the other side.

Folding times table flash cards
Folding times table flash cards - ready to fold

The kids can test themselves or you can make a game out of it.

To start off with we just matched our times tables flash cards to the correct skip counting card (first in order and then later all mixed up).

Matching the times tables flash cards to the skip counting cards
Matching the times tables flash cards to the skip counting cards

We also really liked using these cards with some bean bags. Lay the cards out with the sums facing you. The kids then throw a bean bag and whatever sum the bean bag lands on they need to say the answer. Then they turn the card over and check if they got the correct answer.

Playing a times tables game with double-sided flash cards and a bean bag
Playing a times tables game with double-sided flash cards and a bean bag

When the kids are a bit more confident you can extend the game by simply laying the cards out with the answer facing you. This time when the bean bags lands on a card the kids need to figure out what times table sum would give them the answer that their bean bag landed on.

Dice Games

The folding flash cards are also great to use with dice.  We set ours out sum side up and then my son would throw two dice, add the two numbers together (4+5) and then check to see if he could answer that times table sum correctly (9x2).  

Playing a times tables game with dice and double-sided flash cards
Playing a times tables game with dice and double-sided flash cards

The great thing about using the dice is that the sums are random and the kids are constantly revising their basic addition while they are practising their times table.

And for some more practice don’t forget to have a go at the Batty Multiplication Bump game (both my kids love it)!

Collage Activities with a Mixed-Age Group

This is a guest post from Shelly. Shelly is a home educating parent of two children aged 6 and 9. She blogs at ofamily learning together where she shares ideas on their different learning activities including lots of hands-on maths, arts and crafts and anything else that is part of their home educating lifestyle.

You can find more guest posts by Shelly, and a list of all our guest posts, here.

 

 

Guest Post - Introducing Times Tables
Sunday, 4th March 2018

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