Many of us grew up memorizing the multiplications times table.
So we pull out the flashcards and train our kids to repeat until they have them memorized.
This tedious process paints a negative picture. It complicates multiplication, when it should be fun!
Incorporate techniques that make it easier to teach multiplication to your kids. You want your kids not only to master the tables, but also understand the underlying principles.
Why is it important to learn how to teach multiplication facts to children?
Multiplication facts are also called multiplication times tables. It refers to all the multiplication tables from 1 x 1 to 10 x 10.
Multiplication facts help towards learning how to tackle more complex mathematics. This includes division, fractions, finding common denominators, and lots more.
When your kids learn multiplication facts, they save time making simple calculations.
How do I know when to teach multiplication to children?
The best time to start teaching your kids multiplication is when they get to the third grade.
This helps them prepare for third and fourth-grade math topics like division and multi-digit multiplication. The following steps will show you how to teach multiplication to your kids.
Steps to follow on how to teach multiplication facts to children
Step 1: Slow down
Avoid overwhelming your kids (and yourself) by trying to teach them all the multiplication facts at once.
Break them into manageable chunks to make them feel much more doable. That way, you should focus on one timetable at a time.
Step 2: Help your kids understand what multiplication problems mean
Mindless repetition makes the multiplication facts look like sequences of abstract symbols. This makes them a lot harder to memorize.
It’s a lot better to use systems that help them understand what the multiplication problems mean.
For instance, we don’t recommend using grouped objects. Having your kids count out 7 groups of 9 objects won’t get them closer to understanding what 7 x 9 truly means.
Figure 1 Multiplication dot array (Pinterest)
Instead of doing this, we recommend using a multiplication dot array and an L-shaped cover. The dot array allows you to slide the L-shaped cover over the top of the array to show multiplication facts from 1 X 1 to 10 X10.
Let’s say you wish to help your child understand 7 x 9.
7 X 9 means 7 groups of 9.
Using the dot array, you can slide the L-shaped cover over the top so that the 7 rows have 9 dots. This way, you’ll get 7 groups of 9 dots, which means 7 x 9.
Now ask your child to count the dots to get the answer.
Step 3: Introduce skip-counting
Another fun way to teach multiplication to your children is by teaching them skip-counting.
For instance, when skip-counting by 2, you count 2, add another 2 and count 4. Hence, skip counting by 2s gives you 2,4,6,8,10.
Skip counting by 4 gives you 4,8,12,16,20,24,28,32.
Also, this multiplication strategy shows the importance of teaching your kids addition. Hence, learning multiplication facts is also a great way to practice mental addition.
Step 4: Discuss patterns in the whole chart
Help your kids discover clues and hints to answer any multiplication question in a snap. Using a multiplication chart, you can point out patterns such as:
- All multiples of 10 end in zero
- All multiples of 5 end in either 0 or 5, and are half as large as the multiples of ten
- Any number multiplied by zero equals zero.
Step 5: Help them gain insights on the commutative property
The commutative property means reversing an expression and getting the same result. For instance, 4 X 5 and 5 X 4 equals 20.
Understanding this will also help them handle their multiplication tasks with more flexibility.
The facts that they learn on one multiplication table will help them solve problems in another. This will make solving problems much easier.
Step 6: Mix multiplication facts with other timetables
Once your child masters a new table, you should mix that table with previously learned tables.
Mixing them helps your child view all the facts from the bigger picture. This further helps them keep that information in their long-term memory.
Step 7: Practice each timetable on its own until it’s mastered
Another important step on how to teach multiplication is to make them focus on a specific timetable for several days. This helps them become accustomed to the technique.
You can also add other techniques to bring variety to the table and make learning multiplication fun. Here are some methods to try:
- Recitation: Recitation is still a great technique to teach multiplication to children. This is because recitation helps improve their retention. Using a musical tune and turning it into a song does wonders as well.
- Games: Invest in diverse multiplication games to help your kids enjoy the fun and social aspects of learning. Playing games will also help you better monitor your child’s learning progress. You can also fix mistakes early before they become ingrained.
- Worksheets: Practice is also an essential aspect of learning. It is necessary to get your child worksheets to help them practice what they’ve learned. However, keep your worksheets short to help improve their focus and alertness.
Step 8: Make learning positive and rewarding
Make it a point to reward little wins even when it seems like your child isn’t making much progress. Praise your child and reward them with little things. This will boost their love for learning.
On the other hand, yelling at them or using harsh words will put them under pressure and make them shut down.
You don’t have to use money or material things as rewards. A little candy here and there, or extra TV time would do the trick.
Now that you know how to teach multiplication to kids, you can incorporate these techniques to make learning fun and easy.
Be sure to avoid focusing on mindless recitation of multiplication facts. It never does the job of teaching kids to understand the multiplications table.
Instead, it would be helpful to teach them how to tackle multiplication problems and see the bigger picture.
That said, you should spend time planning out lessons. Invest in creating worksheets and selecting games applicable to your child’s age. Your child will thank you for it!