There comes a time in every parents life where the inevitable times-tables learning will come up. For some children it is easier than for others but from my experience all children need a helping hand. Times tables are so important to a child's learning; they will help them conquer Maths much easier if they know their times tables by heart. And of course times tables are something that will help in all aspects of both school life and adult life.
We at First Tutors understand the importance of teaching our children the times tables so we've come up with three easy ways we think will aid in getting your child to remember their times tables.
No-one ever said that learning times tables was easy. It's a matter of going over and over them until your child feels confident that they have learnt them. A common mistake people tend to make is working their way through the numbers in order. It is much easier and far more constructive to start with the easy numbers first. This will not only help build your child's confidence as they are learning but will also make the transition from the lower numbers to the higher numbers far easier.
So by starting with the 1's you are introducing your child to the times tables in a very easy way. 1 x 1 is 1. Explaining the drill will ensure your child sees that learning their times tables is not going to be as difficult as they may have heard.
The best order for learning the times tables, in my opinion, are as follows:
The ten times tables are by far the easiest as they require no understanding about how the tables work. To multiply any number by 10 you simply put a zero on the end of it.
1 x 10 = 10
4 x 10 = 40
9 x 10 = 90
And this works with any number.
16 x 10 = 160
37 x 10 = 370
98 x 10 = 980
And there you have the ten times tables.
The five times tables are pretty straight-forward too and shouldn't take too long to learn. The easiest way to learn the five times tables is probably parrot-fashion and learning them in a rhythm:
Five - ten - fifteen - twenty - twenty-five - thirty - thirty-five - forty - forty-five - fifty etc.
Teaching your child to count up in fives can also be part of a game. Whenever we play hide-and-seek for example, the finder always has to count up in fives to one hundred!
When it comes to the rest of the numbers it's about explaining how multiplication works. Whenever we multiply a number, the answer gets bigger by whatever the multiplier is. A great way of explaining this is by using real objects. Lego, coins, pebbles; anything that can show how when we have one number and multiply it by another the first number grows.
With the two's it just about explaining that we are doubling that number. For example, the sum 2 x 6 also means double six. Two times six is twelve, two sixes and double six is twelve.
Another thing to remember is that multiplying gives the same answer forwards as it does backwards (1 x 2 is the same as 2 x 1) so as you move up the numbers you're already half-way there.
Multiplication is just sequential adding. Take a jar of pennies and put three piles of four pennies. Explain that you have four pennies, three times. This means you have 4 + 4 + 4. It also means you have three times four (3 x 4). If you add up all the piles of pennies you will have twelve pennies in total. This kind of practice can be done as many times as needed for the child to comprehend the idea of multiplication. Change the quantities and objects until your child feels confident enough to move on.
The great thing with times tables is that there are many tricks that can help your child memorise them more easily. Let's take a look at a couple of tricks:
2 times tables:
Double it! Two times a number simply means add the number twice. 6 x 2 is actually 6 + 6 and 8 x 2 is the same as 8 + 8.
4 times tables:
Double it then double it again! It is simply a matter of doubling the number then doubling the answer. For example, 4 x 5 is 5 + 5 = 10 and 10 + 10 = 20. 4 x 5 is 20!
9 times tables:
This is actually a very simple trick so I'll try and explain it as best I can. Use the palms of your hands. Your left hand and anything left of the finger you will put down will be the tens. Your right hand and any finger after the finger that is put down will be the ones. Have a look at the picture to familiarise yourself with the palm.
So, if you put down your pinky finger (as in the diagram below; this would be position one and for the purpose of 1 x 9) on your left palm you are left with nine remaining fingers. 1 x 9 = 9. If you then put down only your ring finger on your left hand (position 2 for 2 x 9) you are left with one finger to the left of your ring finger and eight fingers after. Therefore 2 x 9 is 1 (on the ten's side) and 8 (on the ones side), 18. Let's do a couple more to make sure you've got the hang of it. 3 x 9 would be putting down the third finger (your middle finger) and you will see that you have two fingers to the left and seven fingers to the right. 2 and 7, twenty-seven. If you then put down only your index finger you will see that 4 x 9 equals thirty-six (three to your left, six to your right).
7 x 9 would simply be put down the index finger of your right hand as this would be the seventh finger and your answer will be revealed as sixty-three (six fingers to your left, three fingers to your right). This is a great trick and one that children love to practise.
11 times tables:
Learning the 11 times table is actually very easy up to the number nine. It is simply doubling the appearance of the number you wish to multiply. For example, 2 x 11 = 22, 3 x 11 = 33, 4 x 11 = 44 and so on. There is also a great trick for multiplying large numbers by eleven too.
What is 24 x 11?
Add the first and second numbers together; 2 + 4 = 6.
Then place the answer between the first and second numbers; 264.
The answer is 264!
When the sum of the first and second numbers is more than nine, you simply increase the left-hand number by the 1 to carry. For example, 11 x 99 would be:
Add the first and second digits; 9 + 9 = 18
Add 1 to 9 to get 10, then place the 8 between the 10 and the 9. 1089 is your answer!
There are plenty of cool tricks around to help your child master the times tables. These little tricks can go a long way and make the learning seem less tiresome for a child.
Whether it be on your way to school every morning, walking through the supermarket aisles or whilst you child is having a splash in the bath drill them continuously until they are completely comfortable with all their times tables and can answer a thrown out 9 x 9 in an instant.
Drilling should be done once the child is familiar with their tables or at least a set of numbers. Drilling should be started in order and once you feel they are getting there you can mix it all up. They may hesitate at the beginning but the more you drill the more the times tables will be embedded into their memories.
Drill sessions should be quite short, no more than about five to ten minutes, depending on the attention span of your child. But you should aim to have at least two to three drilling sessions per day to really maximise the effect and speed up the learning process.
Learning the times tables takes time, dedication and patience. Introducing them in a fun and interactive way is by far the best way to start. Encourage your child to learn their times tables by being as involved as possible and checking their progress often. Little tips and tricks can make a huge difference in instilling the times tables into their memories and help build their confidence. If you are struggling with helping your child learn their tables it may be worth seeking the help of a private tutor to get them started. Good luck!
Post By: Anna Michaelidou
Anna has been a private tutor of both English Literature and English Language for fifteen years having taught all levels from nursery school right through to university level. She has a BA (Hons) Degree in English Literature & Modern Languages, is a writer, content marketing executive and a busy mother of four lovely children.