Learning times tables is an important math skill that creates the foundation for higher math. Your child will probably begin working on multiplication tables in third or fourth grade. Since learning times tables requires a lot of memorization, you will probably need to work with your child on this skill at home. With some thought and planning, you can help your child learn her times tables and have fun together at the same time.
Explain the Concept of Multiplication
If your child understands that multiplication is simply repeated addition, she will have an easier time learning their times tables because she understands the concept behind the number. Use objects, such as crayons, to illustrate a simple multiplication problem, such as 3 X 2. Have your child make two groups of three crayons each and have your child count the crayons. Explain that this illustrates the problem 3 X 2 and that another way to solve the problem is 3 + 3. Have your child use crayons to illustrate other multiplication problems until she understands the concept.
Teach Your Child a Few Tricks
Explain to your child that any number multiplied by zero is always zero, and that any number multiplied by 1 is always itself. You can use crayons to illustrate why these tricks work if necessary. You can also explain to your child that an easy way to figure out any number multiplied by 10 is to add a zero to the end of the number, such as 5 X 10 = 50. Don’t forget to explain that a single digit multiplied by 11 is always the number twice, such as 4 X 11 = 44.
Help Your Child Memorize the Facts
Consider the type of learner that your child is when deciding how to help your child learn his multiplication tables. If your child is an auditory learner, you can purchase a Multiplication Table CD so that your child can learn the times tables through songs. “Multiplication Unplugged” by Sara Jordon is a popular CD that includes 12 songs to teach your child. If your child is a visual learner, purchase or make flashcards to help your child. You may want to make the flash cards self correcting so that your child can practice by himself. Some creative ways to use flash cards include keeping score of how many your child gets right or playing a game of war using the answers.
Reinforce the Multiplication Facts
After you child has memorized the majority of the times tables, it is important to make sure that he can quickly recall the correct facts. You can purchase a board game, such as Multiplication Bingo or Math Whiz, to play with your child. If your child enjoys the computer, you may want to get a multiplication computer game for him to practice. Another idea is to print off worksheets from Multiplication.com or Enchanted Learning to practice the multiplication facts. Multiplication.com also provides a lot of resources such as games, worksheets and videos on multiplication.