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Best way to teach times tables over holidays

(60 Posts)
neveronsunday Fri 26-Jul-13 09:53:51

DS needs to work on his tables.

We have Squeebles on my phone which is great for practice, but not so good for teaching them in the first place.

I don't want him to feel like he's in boot camp over the holidays so need a fun way for him to learn them.

He can already do 2,5,10 & 12.

All suggestions welcome.

LadyLech Fri 26-Jul-13 10:21:11

Have you got one of the times tables songs, like Percy Parker? My daughter used to sing a long to that. She also had a poster with the tables on in her room, so she could recite them in the morning when she woke up.

neveronsunday Fri 26-Jul-13 10:34:58

I'll look into the songs - they sound good.

Thanks grin

Elibean Fri 26-Jul-13 12:33:52

Percy Parker is a star. We luffs him hugely.

Bribery and corruption also works.

And I used to bounce on our trampoline with the dds, singing out tables - link learning with physical activity, it makes it far less tedious!

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 12:49:28

Ime you just need to learn by route. Big poster on the kitchen wall. Write them down, test and then write down each one that is wrong 3x.

Writing down makes it stick in the brain!

Ferguson Fri 26-Jul-13 23:20:47

I don't think you said which Yr?

Seems impressive he can do 12x!

I always advise grouping similar tables that have a direct relationship, thus:

2x, 4x, 8x

3x, 6x, 12x

5x, 10x are pretty easy, and as you say, he knows already.

9x, starts off with the two digits adding up to 9.

11x, starts off repeating the first digit.

7x, is probably harder, and I don't know a method for that (someone else may advise us!)

If he has a calculator (solar powered, so no battery to run out) he can do it by "repeated addition". So, for 2x table, put 2+2 in calculator, then KEEP PRESSING = which should add on 2 each time. There might be something suitable built in to your computer, to achieve the same thing.

(Very old computers - particularly Acorn RiscOS - could easily be PROGRAMMED by the user [and Gove wants a return to learning programming] so a child could write their own to create tables. The £25 Raspberry Pi would achieve the same thing, but expensive way to learn tables! However, if he's into 'tech' he could end up being ahead of the game! )

BlackeyedSusan Fri 26-Jul-13 23:47:29


MrButtercat Sat 27-Jul-13 08:06:26

2 of mine just seemed to learn them by doing very little but with dd I used a variety of things.

Times table sticker book of TBP,then t table colouring book somebody mentioned on here,then Squeebles for each table.I made flash cards for those that end up in "tricky tables" and finally the harder mixed up thing on Sqeebles. Have also used 5 min sheets online before a test.

alanyoung Sun 28-Jul-13 14:29:06

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JugglingNStruggling Sun 28-Jul-13 23:38:19

I don't agree with using calculators at all or computers for this

I got mine to write them out by hand
to 12x4 etc..
then write them out backwards on the next page
I make sure that they don't write out
then fill in 4,8,12 etc...
same as I make sure they don't say 4,8,12,16 etc...
(as the school at one point were doing)
although connections as suggested by one of the previous posters are obviously useful I think rote is the best way
learning that the digits 18, 27... all add up to 9 may be useful but won't tell you how many 9s are in 45
once they have learnt them, I get them to recite them forwards, then backwards and then in random order
I also avoid the times table grids unless they are random grids because they just get filled in, in sequence eg 5,10,15 etc....

good luck

PS I think most kids are capable of learning all their tables by end of year 4 certainly by year 5 and that the schools are failing kids who don't know them by then

I wish schools would use the rote method

richmal Mon 29-Jul-13 07:25:13

learning that the digits 18, 27... all add up to 9 may be useful but won't tell you how many 9s are in 45
It's one more than the digit in the tens column.

alanyoung Mon 29-Jul-13 07:41:20

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SheerWill Mon 29-Jul-13 09:59:50

With my class we play a game with a pack of cards, and they love it - we call it clear the pack. Could take picture cards out to begin with otherwise J=11, Q=12, K=13. Make sure they understand that A=1.

We time the children and record it, so there's an element of competition, although it's against themselves. Really helps develop confidence as they see the seconds being shaved off each time they play. Adult/another child acts as a dealer, putting a card down each time the 'learner' gets the answer right. They simply multiply their target number e.g. 2, 3, 4, 5x by the card that's put down.

When they get really good (pack cleared/all the cards put down in under 3 minutes) they move onto a new x table until eventually you can put two cards down at a time and complete mixed x tables.

I have two parents come in two afternoons a week so we can get through all 29 children a week. Parents have commented at parents evening how much the children enjoy it and even how much their own tables have improved ;-)

burstingbaboon Mon 29-Jul-13 14:30:28


burstingbaboon Mon 29-Jul-13 14:31:07

Sorry ^ don't know how to link!!!

PastSellByDate Mon 29-Jul-13 15:23:53

First off I'm impressed he's learned 12x before 3 & 6 tables.

Sounds like he's got ability but needs practice and to build up speed.

my suggestions for free multiplication games would be:

Maths Champ:

games ages 7 to 9 here:
this will give 3-9 times tables practice, which basically means he's only missing 11s.

which he can get practice from from the 9 to 11 bit of maths champs here:

Table Trees:
this is from Ambleside primary school (which someone else linked to above) - very gentle practice specific to individual tables - good for starting to learn.

Timez Attack:
there is a free two platform version or you can pay for different versions with more platforms - we found the free version was enough

When you start it will test your DC to work out where they're at and go from there.

Warning this can be pretty stressful - you're a little ogre racing through a dungeon or a castle. You will come across multiplication problems - the game will show you the problem vertically with domino type blocks alongside showing multiple additions: so 4 x 5 will appear as 4 dominoes with 5 blue dots. These dominoes jump off the wall and turn into snails which you catch. You then throw your caught snails at the wall - as you do the computer counts up by whatever you're multiplying - so in this case 5 - 10 - 15 - 20). You then type in the answer on the old fashioned vertical multiplication problem. At which point a medium-sized ogre comes out and quizzes you on this problem and two others. (that's the stressful bit - because he will crush you if you get it wrong too often). Every so often the Big Ogre comes along and quizzes you on everything you've done so far - he's scarier. The programme gives you the ones you aren't good at again and let's you know what you are getting consistently right.

DDs loved it - but youngest (age 8) finds it pretty stressful. There is an inverse multiplication facts (simple division) version to go onto once you've mastered this.


Mumsnet has a grid multiplication game which is good once you've mastered all tables but need practice with things mixed up a bit:


Wodland Junior School's mathszone has a ton of links to games to support any area of maths - just click multiplication and go from there:


Finally you can play multiplication snap.

Take Ace (=1), 2 -9, Jack (=10), Queen (=11) and King (=12) or chose a number of the day - say 4.

Shuffle deck (agreeing cards as above). Place face down.

Flip card over - first person to give correct answer keeps to cards. Carry on until you're through the deck (use half deck) if just starting out. Try and lose a bit to give them confidence.

person with most cards wins!

Well that should be a start...


valiumredhead Mon 29-Jul-13 15:27:05

Alan-you can still 'cherry pick' if you learn by route confused

alanyoung Tue 30-Jul-13 11:51:06

Don't forget - if you begin now, your children will be well ahead by the beginning of next term.

3birthdaybunnies Tue 30-Jul-13 12:25:47

These sound like great ideas.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 01-Aug-13 00:18:03

I have started using Alan Young's method with my DS2 (7). It's really easy. DS2 has spent the past year supposedly learning the 2, 5 and 10 times tables at school and still doesn't know them confused, so I hope this will help him.

alanyoung Thu 01-Aug-13 22:06:47

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ToffeeWhirl Thu 01-Aug-13 22:17:06

Sorry to ruin your healthy eating plan, Alan wink.

I have read the workbook and am doing one fact with Ds every day. I forgot to cover the commutative laws, but will get round to those shortly. I have told him that, for example, 2 x 7 is the same as 7 x 2, but I know I need to sit down and show him the picture in your workbook. So far, DS2 is finding it really easy to learn one fact each day and just revise the ones he's done already. He really lost confidence in Maths this year, after loving it in Year 1, and I'm hoping this will give him a confidence boost as he goes into Year 3.

As an added bonus, it looks as if I may learn some of the table facts that I never learned at school myself.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 01-Aug-13 22:17:53

Sorry, I mean I read the handbook first before starting on the workbook.

3birthdaybunnies Thu 01-Aug-13 23:11:50

alanyoung how do you go about introducing times tables at the beginning - do you say introduce 2x in its entirety, one fact a day? I can really see this working with my girls who already have some understanding of times tables - just curious when it is ds's turn - he will be one of the oldest in his year - already ahead in terms of numeracy compared with where my girls were when they started and he still has over a year to go. I imagine I will end up teaching him.

Dd2 started teaching herself times tables from a wall chart before covered in class and I think he will too. Dd2 is wanting to know more but they don't go beyond 2, 5 & 10 in yr 1. Think will start her on the first level and dd1 on the 1-6, 10. I think it is really encouraging thinking that there are only 6 facts for her to learn for 7, 8 &9 tables - she'll like that idea - though she has been taught by rote learning so think it will take a while to get her faster to that stage.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 01-Aug-13 23:23:26

At school my children are expected to be working towards instant recall of all multiplication & division facts up to 12x12. DS1 had this by the middle of Y4, and DS2 earlier, but DD and DS3 have now finished Y4 and still too slow. DS3 is averaging 40% on the weekly speed drills. He knows nearly all of the multiplication & division facts but is just too slow.

I have been using alanyoung's grids for DD and DS3 for a few months. It has improved their speed and confidence but if they stop practising the grids, then the speed starts to slip. I am giving them a break for the first three weeks of the holiday, then for the second half of the holiday it's back to four grids (and one page of triangle questions) per week.

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