Times tables and handwriting

(27 Posts)
twooomuch Thu 05-Jul-18 07:31:21

These are the two main things we've been told DD should work on...

I'm looking for ideas of things to do over the summer that are not too much like work, but will support her a bit in these areas.

So far I've thought of...

- Keeping a holiday diary
- Shopping lists
- Holiday packing lists
- Postcards to friends

Times tables
- CD for the car - any good ones?
- Putting them up around the house and hope they subliminally enter into her head?

OP’s posts: |
spanieleyes Thu 05-Jul-18 08:02:32

TT Rock stars or Percy Parker for multiplication tables.
"special paper and pens" seem to work miracles for handwriting. You can print off paper with pretty borders for her to use, perhaps with a pen in her favourite colour!

PitterPatterOfBigFeet Thu 05-Jul-18 10:56:05

For times tables I think it helps 1000 x more to be active rather than passive (just listening or seeing them round the house won't help much). TT rock stars as PP mentioned is good. just do it in little bits 10 minutes a day is fine.

Definitely use her interests to motivate with the writing. Maybe she could describe a special day out she'd like to go on. Write down the shopping list for the cookies you're going to bake. Postcards is a great idea - does she have an aunt or grandma or cousin who could act as a penpal? I think again little and often is the key. If she keeps a holiday diary could there be a set time (after dinner?) when she jots down a few lines about what she did today. Complete with special pens (glittery? Smelly?) where she can also draw a picture etc.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Thu 05-Jul-18 12:37:46

Scrapbook for holidays?

twooomuch Thu 05-Jul-18 12:39:59

Thank you, those are some excellent tips. My parents live far away so they could be DD's pen pals and would love that.

I might have to get some more exciting stationary.

Times tables are harder. I'll look into the products suggested. Does 'active' include just saying them out loud as well? DD's writing stamina is limited as per the above so I'll struggle to get her to sit and write them down on top of writing letters etc..

OP’s posts: |
drspouse Thu 05-Jul-18 12:40:01

What are we talking about for handwriting, can she form legible letters, or not really?
If it's at the level where she needs to actually get a circle round and not fill an entire page with a single letter (my DS' level) then the books Write from the Start are great - they are very back to basics with lots of tracing and repetition but also quite a bit of colouring and fun pictures.

StrugglingMumma Thu 05-Jul-18 12:41:20

Bought these for my niece £3.00 in The Works (I think, but will double check)

We swap them for Other costume jewellery when she does well


StrugglingMumma Thu 05-Jul-18 12:43:13

Sorry, they weren't from The Works, I got them from the book man who comes into work. The exact same ones can be bought online though. Good luck!

QuinquiremeOfNineveh Thu 05-Jul-18 12:52:21

Don't just have her recite them. Do quickfire mental arithmetic for 5-10 minutes a day, maybe when you're in the car. 3x8, 7x6, 4x9, etc.

Also practical ways of using them - if there are four people for tea, and you need three fish fingers for each person, how many do you need?

twooomuch Thu 05-Jul-18 13:45:10

I love those StrugglingMumma. Off to google and order them.

She's going into Year 2, can write perfectly legibly if she takes the time but tends to rush which results in poorly formed letters / different letter sizes etc.

Everything with DD is always quick quick quick just like me

OP’s posts: |
PitterPatterOfBigFeet Thu 05-Jul-18 14:06:14

My DS is very good at maths but really struggles with his writing so loves apps - probably best not to combine with writing already isn't keen. I would look online and try to find one that would appeal to her (lots of them have different "levels" you can achieve which really motivates some kids).

If she's going into Y2 I'm surprised the school are worrying about times tables already - lots don't know many times tables at all off by heart at that age! But not at all a bad idea to practise over the holidays!

twooomuch Thu 05-Jul-18 16:53:42

Yes I don't think we need to cover all the times tables as yet, focus has been on 2, 5 and 10 so that's all I'm proposing to 'repeat' this summer.

OP’s posts: |
needinspirationagain Thu 05-Jul-18 16:55:59

I love those bands too!

Tomorrowillbeachicken Thu 05-Jul-18 20:01:04

You can also get times table bingo iirc

drspouse Fri 06-Jul-18 09:37:02

Ah now my DS is also going into Y2 but we are doing counting in 2/5/10 not times tables as such.

Nuffaluff Fri 06-Jul-18 09:43:24

I made matching cards for my DS. For example 2x5 on one card and 10 on the other. He had to match them up as quick as possible, then we’d time him and try to get quicker. This was very effective.
The next stage was write them out for him and he would answer them as quickly as possible.
He’s pretty good on them. They’re really key to so many maths concepts: using the inverse to solve problems, fractions, multiplying and dividing large numbers.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Fri 06-Jul-18 10:36:10

Surely with tens you just add a zero to the end of the number

drspouse Fri 06-Jul-18 19:02:00

Only if you know that 2 0 is 20 without thinking.

HelenaJustina Fri 06-Jul-18 19:06:43

There are some great handwriting books. It’s really about practice and repetition. A book will allow you to set her the task of completing 2 pages a day and she can look back over the weeks to see how much she has improved.

The car is a great place for practising timetables, although it’s not as ‘fun’ as other methods, chanting them rote fashion from 1 times x equals y, up to 12 times x, does mean that they learn the individual sums better. They need instant recall of 7x8 or 6x6 for it to be useful.

Alanamackree Fri 06-Jul-18 19:22:55


Put a sheet of tissue paper (the kind you wrap stuff in, not the kind you blow your nose with) in a frame or embroidery hoop and have her write a motto or her name on it. You have to use a much lighter touch than usual to avoid tearing the paper. It will give her something slightly different to concentrate on and feel more like an art project.

Get a quill or a dip pen, or make one from a feather, and practice writing in ink. It’s quite difficult and requires a lot of concentration, but again it will feel very different than school writing.

Encourage some creativity with letter forms and flourishes. Practicing standard forms over and over is very dull, but adding little touches and encouraging a bit of calligraphy will make her more conscious of the appearance of her school writing when she gets back to it.


Movement really helps. I chant them so the dc just have to chant along with me and bounce them on my knee (dropping through my legs when we get to the last one), or we make a chain and stomp along, or we do a clapping game, or skipping, etc. Just saying them over and over without actually putting them on the spot or doing any real thinking about it, is massively beneficial.

Singing tables to various tunes is great too.

And then also find reasons to use them in real life or play.

twooomuch Fri 06-Jul-18 22:27:31

Thank you very much! These are some great tips.

Times tables is listed as a "development area" for her even though she had no problem counting in 2s, 5s and 10s and in actual fact some random testing over the past few days suggests she knows 2 and 10 times tables "out of order" as well. Five might need a little work though but I'm sure this is but too bad for the start of year 2 confused

Handwriting we definitely have a bigger journey ahead. First letter to granny posted today.. hope she can read it grin

OP’s posts: |
Tomorrowillbeachicken Fri 06-Jul-18 23:12:21

No times tables are on targets for end of year one tbh... skip counting, yes, timestables, not so much.
My son is just ending year one though and can do 2s and 10s and from what I work out tonight he’s just taught himself 5s.

HaringeyNatalie Mon 16-Jul-18 21:37:11

I agree with QuinquiremeOfNineveh:
Don't just have her recite them. Do quickfire mental arithmetic for 5-10 minutes a day, maybe when you're in the car. 3x8, 7x6, 4x9, etc.

Obviously, once your child has recited them in order and backwards a bit. I'm a years 3 - 6 teacher and I think reading and times tables are the two most useful things you can do with all children in the summer. Read to your DD and get her to read to you. Maybe a paragraph each etc. Handwriting practice through real life writing is nice if they're keen.

My mum (a retired maths teacher) developed this card game for times tables and you can pick out say the cards for the 3 and 4 times tables and focus on them. It comes with different ways to play - either an adult and child, a group of children together or a child alone.

It uses rhyme, image, colour and patterns to help children of all learning styles.

RavenWings Mon 16-Jul-18 21:48:00

Tables - songs, online games (Great Tables Challenge is good). Little and often imo. Choose a table and focus on that one for a while before moving on to another.

Handwriting - yes to fancy writing equipment and paper. Lots of reasons to write - postcards, diaries, shopping lists, thank you cards, invitations as mentioned. A penpal would be great if you can find someone.

Be sure to have plenty of activities to build muscle in her hands, that will help writing. Plenty of arts and crafts, sticking, cutting, finger exercises. Loads of ideas available online and can be lots of fun.

FiTrix Tue 17-Jul-18 18:06:35

Could try this!

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