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Teaching Multiplication Lesson Ideas

When your child is first learning multiplication he/she needs to first understand the concept of multiplication and its properties. They also need to practice their facts in a variety of ways to gain fluency and to be able to use it quickly for problem solving and estimation in their own world.

Memorizing the facts is an important part of the learning process where creativity by the parent or teacher can really help to keep your child excited about drills. Eventually you can move on to teaching place values, 2 digit multiplication, and algebra.

This article presents some ideas with sample lessons and worksheets for you to help your child understand the principle of multiplication and to memorize the times tables facts.


Parents you can practice more multiplication with your children by using counters - small items that are easy and fun for kids to arrange into hands-on versions of equations. Keep a collection of blocks, paper clips or coins (or beans, cheerios or peas) handy for math practice sessions. Have your child create their own math equations. Look at our sample lesson for more ideas.


An array is an arrangement of objects into rows and columns. You can make up some of your own arrays by using square tiles or graph paper and color them in. Take a look at our sample lesson on arrays.

Skip Counting, Patterns and Music

Skip counting is good addition practice and a great introduction to multiplication. Start off counting by twos, fives and tens and then try other challenging numbers where they can identify repeating patterns. Discover together things that come in groups - pairs of socks, wheels on cars, fingers on hands etc…. Have your child fill in the blanks on El Mundo's Skip Counting Worksheets. As your child progresses, look for patterns, write them out and even make up your own song. The repetitive beat in music is a great way to help children memorize the facts.

Play multiplication songs in the car as background music during activities. Then try singing the songs without the music. See our article on Ideas for Success with your Multiplication Vacation CD for more ideas.

Print out a 100's chart and have your child color in numbers that go by 3's, 4,s etc. Help your child to identify the pattern. Look for relationships between the multiples of one number and the other (for example 3 and 6)

Fun Worksheets

Worksheets can be a great way to practice and review your math facts. There are many different styles of worksheets, including equation practices, arrays, sequencing, times table charts, 100's chart, coloring games and word problems. Here are some suggestions to help your child:

  • Encourage your child to look for patterns and color in the pictures. Shading in or coloring numbers on the times table chart or sequences on the 100's chart is a great way to discover relationships among the numbers.
  • Be ready to help when your child doesn't know an answer
  • Have counters on hand to help figure out the answers
  • Teach your child how to check the answers with a calculator or times table chart
  • Put worksheets together in a booklet so your child can see his or her progress
  • Keep track of the learned times tables on a checklist
  • Reward your child at the end with a certificate or small prize

Problem Solving

Children need to see how math can be used in real life activities. Look for examples in your day when you use multiplication- like doubling a recipe, adding up coins etc. Try using multiplication when shopping for groceries. Bring a calculator. For example, how many potatoes should we get if everyone in the family eats two? How much does 2 kilograms of apples cost?

Try looking for arrays around the house or when you are out (i.e., cans of drinks, carton of eggs, rows of houses). You can make up math problems during dinner or in the car. Look at the problem solving worksheets we've created to get some ideas of your own. My kids love calculating how many treats are needed for different numbers of children at a party. For example, how many cupcakes would you need for a party with 6 friends if everyone had 2 cupcakes? Show relationships and difference between other math operations. Make sure your child understands that 8+8 is different than 8x8. (See Crash and Echo's worksheet) Don't forget to demonstrate how multiplication is related to addition. (See our early multiplication worksheets).

When your child is ready, you can also show how division is the reverse of multiplication. Begin with simple examples to demonstrate the principle. Use both word problems and equations together. Triangle Cards you make up together are a great way to show the relationship between multiplication and division.

Other ways to practice your times tables

  • Flash Cards - It's easy to make flashcards entertaining. Keep score, make up funny voices, use a puppet, have a little treat for each answer, make up an activity circuit, play "go fish" or line them up as a trail to a treasure.
  • Multiplication Games - With a simple deck of playing cards, your child can pull a number, multiply and then add up points or move around a game board. Roll dice and multiply the two numbers that come up. Use four dice for higher numbers. Children who are extra creative can make up their own BINGO or game board with multiplication questions on cards or on the board. There are many commercial games are available, too.
  • Pop quizzes in the car (don't forget to have the kids quiz you, too!)
  • Practice with a calculator

Having fun is the key to good learning. Keep your practice sessions interesting and entertaining. Bring in a puppet, toy or funny character to role play with and keep it exciting. Don't push your child if they seem frustrated or uninterested. The level of math should be easy enough so that they can be successful, but still have enough challenges to inspire further learning. Offer lots of praise and encouragement. Your positive examples will show them that math is important in their lives. And most importantly have fun together.

Susan Jarema is the founder of Googol Learning, the Crazy 4 Math Contest,, New Earth Marketing and Kidzinfo. The Googol Learning Website has many free resources to inspire mathematics and family learning in your home through music, games, stories and layered learning.

This article may be reprinted with the above author credit and website link.

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