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Fun ways to get DS (7) to really learn his times tables

(28 Posts)
clairedunphy Tue 12-Jul-16 18:51:20

DS is just coming to the end of Y2 and while there has always been mention of times tables being a priority, they don't actually seem to have done that much in school this year.

I was never great at them myself and it still frustrates me. I know how useful it can be for all future maths work to just "know" them. At the moment he can go through the lower numbers in order, but if I ask eg. 3x5 he wouldn't be able to instantly give the answer. There will always be a pause and often some counting on fingers before he answers.

The same applies for working out doubles and halves, which all ties into the same basic knowledge.

So without making it seem like a chore, does anyone have any tips for helping him to get to the instant recall stage? Some quick games, or maybe an app we can load on the tablet?

Memoires Tue 12-Jul-16 19:06:18

TImez Attack. DD hated maths and I thought she'd never learn her tables. I read of this game here, got it (paid - worth every penny). She played and played and played. I've just mentioned it to her, and at 16 she still hates maths but her face lit up and she said smilingly "yes! It was brilliant!"

Otherwise, I think it's down to repetition. You don't need to u derstand multiplication to learn your tables.

I learnt tables in school in the 60s and we recited them every day - they were written out on roller blind things fixed above the blackboard. When our teahcer thought we all knew the 2x then she'd roll down the 3x as well so by the end of Y1 we could go through the whole 12 without looking.

The most helpful thing was they were there in front of us. We didn't have to learn them, we just recited them every day for 2 years (started in Reception). There were no punishments and no tests, it was just reading what was in front of us, so NO pressure. It never took long, and because there was no pressure, most of use got interested in how the tables worked, and how the numbers related from table to table etc. How the 9x goes up one number in one column and down one in the other etc.

TBH, I still think the way we learnt is the best way but I know few agree with me.

user1468174458 Tue 12-Jul-16 19:39:17

There's an app called table toons. It's a cartoon of animals singing the times tables from 2 times tables up to 12 times tables. I used to give DD my phone when we were driving somewhere and we'd sing them together. It really helped DD.

clairedunphy Tue 12-Jul-16 21:22:38

Thanks Memoires, I've googled TImez Attack but it looks like it's only available for schools now (due to being acquired by another company). I'll have a further look and see if there are any other versions available.

Thanks user, I'll look up that app. It's not too awful to listen to is it?!

Agree that repetition is key, it's just finding a way to do that without it being too tedious.

PuraVida Tue 12-Jul-16 21:42:16


I still don't know mine. I think they were unfashionable when I was at school. Life would be easier if I did know them

irvineoneohone Tue 12-Jul-16 21:46:33

My ds learned the similar way as Memoires did. We bought times table poster from library, and hanged up on the wall. He was looking at it everyday.(He was/is a number geek.) That was it. He didn't recite or anything. Learned it without any effort.

junebirthdaygirl Tue 12-Jul-16 22:14:36

Top marks hit the button has a times tables section. He can focus on one until he has it. Beat his own record.

LittleReindeerwithcloggson Tue 12-Jul-16 22:18:10

Mine use Hit The Button app too. Fantastic for times tables and for number bonds too. They are getting quicker and quicker

cornflakegirl Tue 12-Jul-16 22:27:13

We bought two 12 sided dice and make a game of it

irvineoneohone Tue 12-Jul-16 22:28:36

ReallyTired Wed 13-Jul-16 11:38:47

Times attack is good, but there is no substitute for understanding.

It's worth looking for number patterns. Most children find the 2 times table easy. The four times table is the two times table doubled and similarly the six times table is the three times doubled. Both the nine times table and th eleven times tables have a definite pattern. You can work out the seven times table by adding the five and the two times tables together

Ie. 7x8= (2x8) + (5x8)

You can show this is the case for any multiplication table with an array of objects. (Ie counters, bits of Lego etc.) understanding that complicated multiplication sums can be broken down is the basis for understanding long multiplication.

Don't forget division.

clairedunphy Wed 13-Jul-16 13:52:33

Thank you all, lots to look at there. We do talk a lot about patterns Really and I think that makes the whole idea of "MATHS" less of a scary concept.

I definitely think though that if you can just know the simple tables then everything else that layers on top of that is a whole lot easier.

Division, yes, we were talking about that this morning (how to divide 25 by 2). Interesting how much I had to break it down - there's definitely work to be done there too!

Ferguson Wed 13-Jul-16 18:30:03

This might help:

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.

ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other
then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :

kennythekangaroo Wed 13-Jul-16 23:28:57

I always recommend squeebles times tables app combined with Percy Parker sings tables app.
We used to do 2 tables a night- first Percy then a squeebles test for each. DD had got them all off pat but is slower now as we don't do them each day.

catkind Thu 14-Jul-16 00:29:03

DS is loving SumDog at the moment, you can download an app or play online; lots of different and engaging games, they can practice any maths skill with any game they choose. Most of it is free though we get a few extra games by having a school logon. You can set it to just do tables, or they can learn maths generally which has tables levels in it, it automatically finds the right level for them.

I would say, I actually think it's fine to count on fingers as often as he needs to. I see it as the equivalent of sounding out words in reading. They'll click and he'll remember them at some point but being able to work them out and understand why the answer is what it is is more important.

ReallyTired Thu 14-Jul-16 01:42:50

I disagree that the nine times table is hard. With the nine times tables the digits always add up to nine.

18 1+8=9
27 2+7=9

Or you can take the ten times table and take way the multiple


I think the 12 times table and the sevens are the hardest, but once you have learnt the others tables you have done most of the work.

It's vital to understand 7x12=12x7 for any table. It halves the work of learning tables.

CrotchetQuaverMinim Thu 14-Jul-16 07:09:02

both the Clock Tables app, and the Times Table Rhyme cards/stories are good ways of learning them in random order, not just counting through, adding on, etc.

Squeebles also good for the actual testing and increasing speed aspect. I'd recommend the division one as well, as that is just as important.

CrotchetQuaverMinim Thu 14-Jul-16 07:22:52

It won't help you now that it's the holidays, but also worth noting that many of the apps are available with a half price education discount if schools are buying them (20 or more), if they have class sets of iPads etc. So if there's something that is only available for schools, it could be worth seeing in the autumn if there is an app version and if the school can purchase it.

I think it is also worth making sure that you do some games/activities that are not multiple choice - games like Sum Dog can be great in lots of ways, but I've had pupils who get very good at just guessing the right answer when it's a multiple choice format, either because the other answers are so far off, or because they can learn patterns such as looking for the number ending in 5, etc. (Both of which are useful things to know, but aren't so much help in actually then needing to come up with the right answer themselves, rather than just recognise it). Quite a number of games are designed this way, and some are better than others at giving suitable 'wrong' choices.

Autumnsky Thu 14-Jul-16 12:41:09

In DS2 school, they started to practice times table only from Y3.

PippaPeppermint Sun 17-Jul-16 07:53:49

I always struggled with my 12 times table because I just didn't learn it properly. Still today if I think 12x7 (I also never leant my 7s) I skip to 7x11 which is easy then increase it by 10+2.

I love the 9 times table being 10 minus the multiple. I can do my 9 times table but I have to go through in in order in a certain rhythm to get there so the trick for 10 minus the multiple is a great one.

Maths really is fun. Learning all the patterns and shortcuts is interesting and enlightening. I wish I'd seen that at school instead of being completely scared by it.

PippaPeppermint Sun 17-Jul-16 08:02:22

No, I don't add 10+2, I add the multiple again. Doh!

NotCitrus Sun 17-Jul-16 08:44:27

Ferguson's ideas are great. Ds's teacher also recommended getting a times tables square poster from the pound shop and putting it on your child's wall, so they start recognising numbers that appear.

clairedunphy Mon 18-Jul-16 16:21:24

Thank you all, some great tips here. We're decorating his room so I'll try to add a ton times table square in there!

Lots to try over the summer, hopefully while keeping it fun.

BlueChampagne Wed 20-Jul-16 21:52:34

Professor Mathmo times tables has been popular in our car. There is a more advanced sequel on factors, pi, prime numbers etc which is equestrian more often because the songs are better.

BlueChampagne Wed 20-Jul-16 21:53:51

Delete equestrian and insert even. How did that happen?

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