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Times Tables - Tricks/Tips

(47 Posts)
SlightlyJaded Sun 06-Jan-13 12:37:17

DD7 is bright and does well at school. Her concentration is pretty poor however and she finds her mind wanders if she is either finding the work too easy or conversely can't do it 'straight away'

We are really struggling with times tables. I have been trying to teach her 'prolly parrot' fashion as this how I learned as a child and it worked for me. It's not working. She can chant he way through them but I know she is 'adding' in her head because the minute I throw random tables at her, she crumbles.

Does anyone have any tips!ideas? I am wondering if there are any 'cool songs/rapsblush that might help? Websites/CDs?

Anything that worked for you


marmiteandhoney Sun 06-Jan-13 16:27:06

I still use my fingers for my 9x if I need fast recall.

Hold out your hands in front of you. For 1 x 9 fold down your 1st finger. Everything to the right of that finger is units; to the left is tens. So, 1 x 9 = 9.

For 2 x 9, fold down your 2nd finger. You'll see there is one finger to the left of your folded finger, and eight to the right of it. So, 2 x 9 = 18.

Fold your 3rd finger for 3x9, and you can read off 2 tens and 7 units, so 27.


Annoyingly of course it only works up to 10x9, but you can then just learn the other two answers.

vjg13 Sun 06-Jan-13 19:29:21

Carol Vorderman Maths Factor times tables school is excellent.

LingDiLongMerrilyonHigh Sun 06-Jan-13 20:06:47

SlightlyJaded, take a look on YouTube, I found a fair few songs on there. What we also did was make a giant hopscotch grid in the garden and I'd get her to hop down it while she chanted the timestables as she's very visual. Then I'd shout out random questions and she'd have to hop to the answer. She loved it!

Maybe ask the teacher too, they might have some methods they use in class that you could do at home?

SlightlyJaded Sun 06-Jan-13 20:13:55

oooh thanks. Will look at the Carol Vorderman thingy and try YouTube. She is a natural show off entertainer which is why I thought songs etc but the hop scotch idea is a good one too.

NeverQuiteSure Sun 06-Jan-13 20:18:52

This has some good ideas for visual learners that get bored with learning-by-rote approaches.

HappyTurquoise Sun 06-Jan-13 20:25:28

We had books with wipable pages and a marker pen and a CD which we it had on in the car for long journeys. DDs had to be quick to fill in the answers on the page, and they learned the songs.

Look at times tables squares, and fill in the patterns for each table. Go through them all in order. Play basic easy games, which make the whole thing visual, or incorporate an action (like throwing a ball) as well as saying and writing the numbers.

Then start with the easiers (10x, 2x, 5x) then go on to 3x and 4x, then 6x, 8x and 9x (using the tips/tricks) then 7x.

As well as good tests and quiz websites online, there are a few good DS games which help with mental maths.

DieWilde13 Sun 06-Jan-13 20:31:25

My dcs love the Percy Parker songs. We have also downloaded a few free ipad apps which they get to play "if they are good".

I think the apps are more effective than the songs.

alanyoung Tue 08-Jan-13 20:03:27

Don't teach them by rote, chanting or singing. Instead, go to where you can download a Parents' Manual and Student Workbook based on a much faster method which has been tried and tested in several schools. It's completely free, but please make sure you read the Parents Manual right through before you get your children working on the Student Workbook - that's very important. As a teacher of mathematics for over thirty years, I cannot over emphasise how important tables are.

If your children know the tables really well, they will be well ahead of other children of similar ability when they come to tackling more difficult work in upper primary and lower secondary schools. Good luck.

drzeus Tue 08-Jan-13 22:01:53

Percy Parker - love it. My DS1 (11) and DS2 (9) both love the songs and are now really confident at times tables and mental maths.

Elibean Tue 08-Jan-13 22:42:25

Percy Parker is wonderful, and my 6 year old adores the songs and knows most of them.

But my 9 year old dd really cracked her times tables when we loaded Squeebles on to the iPad....

mummyplonk Tue 08-Jan-13 23:53:23

Great tips here, ds7 is struggling as had to learn his 7 times table over Christmas. I was talking to a Mum at school today asking her how her son got on and she said he had to learn his 14! Times table over Christmas as he knows all the others. Judging by the above posts her son is g & t, I was beginning to think ds was really behind phew.

jomidmum Wed 09-Jan-13 08:04:29

I'd also recommend Carol Vordemanns material, it's helping DD so much. The on-line times table school is £20 and worth every penny.

carocaro Wed 09-Jan-13 20:09:26

Stand up, use and her use your arms and your legs, shout, waving your hands about, tap your feet, get into a rythm, large motor skills movement really help, beleive me, DS in Y6 all move and stomp about the classroom, shout loudly and hs is S**T HOT at times tables and it conly clicked for him when he could move as he learned them in Y3

pellshky Thu 10-Jan-13 08:08:19

For each table write the answers out on 12 pieces of card eg for 7 times table, 7,14,21,28 etc. Lay the pieces out on the table and call out eg 5x7, 7x7 and ask her to point at the correct answer - then turn over the card. This worked really well for my children and once they had learned them I periodically gave them speed tests.

I created a free android app that does the same thing as the cards
and when you are ready for speed tests I have an online app, also free.

PastSellByDate Thu 10-Jan-13 09:31:22

Hi slightlyjaded

agree with vjg13 that mathsfactor (link here: is a very visual way or learning mathematics. We use the arithmetic school - so are doing all calculations/ factions/ decimals/ etc.... but as vjg13 has said there is a multiplication school for just times tables.

One thing I would say is use the times tables families to your advantage when practicing at home.

Probably your DD has already mastered x1, x2, x5 and x10.

So try x3 next.

Then review the idea of doubling (x2). This will help with either doing the 2s family (2, 4 and 8) and will help with x6 (double x3).

x9 (finger method as marmiteandhoney suggested above) - or have her look at the pattern of answers:

1 x 9 = 09
2 x 9 = 18
3 x 9 = 27
4 x 9 = 36

Note two things - the tens column is always one less that whatever number you are multiplying 9 by. And the total of the digit in the tens columns + the digit in the units column always = 9. So if you are multiplying 7 x 9 - you know the answer starts with 6 and the units must be whatever number + 6 = 9 - so 3. Therefore 7 x 9 = 63.

Once you've learned all that: you basically know 7 x 1 through 7 x 6 and 7 x8 through 7x10. So you only need to learn 7 x 7 = 49 and you know your 7s table to x10.

It's up to you if you add 11 in 12. Frankly it's worth it. Especially if you ever work in dozens or with imperial measurements (inches).

11 is great fun because up to 9 you just write the number down twice. After 9 there is a trick:

With numbers > 10 - separate the ten from the unit - in the space between add the numbers and that's your answer (you may have to carry if number in middle >9)

examples: 23 x 11 = (2) (2 + 3) (3) = 253

39 x 11 = (3) (3+9) (9)
(3+ carried 1) (2) (9) = 429

Once you know times tables 1 - 11 then learning 12 is easy because it's only 2 more (11 x 12 - use number trick & 12 x 12). With twelves you can break it down - so 10 x whatever number + 2 x whatever number - to check/ work it out.

If your DD likes video games - we found that Timez Attack (link to games here: really helped. It works out where your child is at and starts from that point. The game has you go through a dungeons and dragons type platform with your child (as a little ogre) traveling through solving multiplication problems. These are presented as multiple additions and then reviewed as a straightforward multiplication problem. They're so busy playing the game they don't realise they're learning. They also have a division game (inverse multiplication) for the next step. There are several versions to buy - but you can just play a 2 platform free version which we found was fine.


PastSellByDate Thu 10-Jan-13 09:34:32

Sorry slightlyjaded:

forgot to explain doubling fully.

So once you know x2 and understand doubling - x4 is a doddle.

Instead of guessing x4 - try it as x2 and then double again.

So if it is 10 x 4 - try it as 10 x 2 = 20 and then double it - so 40.

Same thing with x8 - but you double twice.

7 x 8 - try it as 7 x 2 = 14 - double it = 28 and double again = 56.

It may help to have them add on paper, if mental arithmetic is tricky for them.

Same idea with 3 and 6 (with x6 effectively doubling x3).

So 6 x 8 = could be thought of as 3 x 8 = 24 and then doubled = 48.


Msbluebozooka Wed 16-Jan-13 12:44:46

KUMON. has anyone heard of Kumon and if so would you recommend it?

marcopront Wed 16-Jan-13 16:17:19

If you have an ipad or iphone there is an app called "PerfectTimes" which seems very good.

SlightlyJaded Wed 16-Jan-13 19:00:00

Sorry for not coming back sooner. Bit of a family drama last week. Thank you all so much for taking the time to explain your various methods - I really appreciate it.

We will start trying a few out and see what works best for her.

Honestly - I can't believe the level of detail some of you went in to. Thanks so much thanks

MammaMo Thu 17-Jan-13 14:03:18

How do you get hold of the Percy Parker songs smile

alanyoung Thu 17-Jan-13 15:50:03

A good target to aim for is by the age of eight to do a 10x10 tables square (with numbers randomly placed along top and side) in under five minutes. Not all children will achieve this, of course, but as long as they know all these tables they will be ahead of the majority of children of that age in the UK.

If they can do it faster, that's great! The ultimate aim, I suppose, is to work out the number bonds as fast as they can write down the answers.

Frizy Thu 17-Jan-13 15:56:43

As a child I was poor at maths...

I had a cassette tape nack in the day called 'Multiplication'... and for each one it sang a song..

I am now a chartered accountant and still can recall the songs when I'm sat in meetings trying to work out 9 times 6.

alanyoung Thu 17-Jan-13 19:50:14

It's important to know times tables really well since they are used in so many aspects of maths from multiplication sums right up to algebraic fractions. Any child that does not know them really well is at a real disadvantage compared to those that do.

SlightlyJaded Thu 17-Jan-13 23:54:34

FWIW. My opening post should have read DD2 (7). Not DD7. I am not super mumgrin

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