How to make learning Times Tables FUN!

Games and activities to help learn and cement those pesky Times Tables - all you need is some paper or card, and some dice! Not a screen in sight.

I have always advocated a little bit of learning through holidays, as children do tend to forget everything VERY quickly ðŸ˜†(ask them what they had for supper last night, for example, or what lessons they had at school today - can they remember!?)

BUT, learning does not have to be ðŸ˜Ą onerous and tantrum-inducing.

Times Tables can be fun, believe it or not. Here are a few of my favourite games and suggestions for how to weave Times Tables into your holidays without the children even noticing (ok, they might notice they are tables, but they might even enjoy them!).

My TOP TIP for learning tables, is NOT just to count up in multiples, eg, 6, 12, 18, 24 etc, as this just teaches children to count in 6s. They need to know that 1 x 6 is 6, 2 x 6 is 12 etc, and then mix them up and know them inside out and back to front. Knowing your Times Tables is not being able to count up on your fingers until you get to the right one 😉 BUT, if children are struggling, it is really helpful to have a few that ARE committed to memory, and use these as a "LAUNCH PAD" to work out the others. For example, if you are struggling with 12 x 6, then you know 10 x 6 and 2 x 6 so do those and add them together. Or, if you know 5 x 7 then you can easily work out 6 x 7.

In the words of one of my lovely (observant) tutees, "Tables are the backbone ðŸĶī of all Maths!" I couldn't have put it better myself!

So, here are the games you might want to try this half term:

⭐ïļ Bingo

You need: A couple of bits of A4 paper (or a whiteboard) and pens.

A firm favourite with all my online tutees at the end of a lesson! We both draw out a grid of 6 squares and fill each square with a number in the 6 Times Table, or whichever tables needs some work. I then pull out numbers that I keep in my desk drawer, just on scraps of paper, 1 - 12. I pull out a 4 and ask "Have you got 4 x 6?" They give me the Yes/No answer, but also have to tell me the answer to the sum. Then we cross it off if we have it in our grid. So it continues until someone yells "Bingo"!

🌈 The Memory Game.

You need: A pack of Times Tables question and answer matching cards (soon to be available from The Homework Helpline!) or make your own - questions must be on some, and answers on the others.

Just like the memory game, put a set of cards face down on the table. Players pick up 2 cards and see if the question and answer match. If they do, you keep the pair. If they don't match, put them back face down, but try to remember what they are so you can find them easily next time! Keep going until all the pairs are found.

⭐ïļ Snap.

You need: A set of Times Tables cards, as above, or make your own.

Just like the original game of Snap, but one person has questions and the other has answers. You each place a card down, face-up, at the same time. If the question matches the answer, you shout "SNAP!" and take both piles. The winner is the one with all the cards.

🌈 Find my pair.

You need: A set of Times Tables cards, as above, or make your own.

Shuffle the answer cards and split them into piles of 4 or 5 cards. Put a small pile in various corners of the house or garden. You then sit in a comfy chair and hand the child(ren) a question card. They then have to hurtle around the house/garden to find the matching answer and bring the pair back to you, at which point, you give them another question. The winner is the one with the most pairs. (This is actually a take on a party game my mother used to organise for us, but as my birthday party was in February, she used all the Christmas cards and cut them in half - we had to rush around finding the matching other half!)

⭐ïļ Stand up, sit down.

You need: a kitchen chair and a table that you don't mind children standing on!

Another favourite in the classroom, the children start sitting on the floor. You fire Times Tables questions at them. If they get it right, they stand up, if they don't, they stay on the floor. Then round two, they get to move up to a standing position, then standing on the chair, then standing on the table, they have to work their way back down to a sitting position on the floor. Any incorrect answers mean they move back down a step. The winner is the first to go all the way up, then all the way down to the floor again.

🌈 Times Tables Tennis.

You need: nothing at all to do it verbally, or a ball to throw and catch, or a bat and ball.

Simply count out your tables, taking it in turns to say each one, so like tennis or ping pong, you bounce alternate numbers between you as you throw or bat the ball (or use just voices in the car).

⭐ïļ Rock, Paper, Times Tables.

You need: Just your hands.

This works well for KS2 children and with only 2 players. Both players make a fist with both hands and 1, 2, 3... on the third count, each player holds out a number of fingers, eg. a 5 and a 6. The first player to shout out the answer to 5 x 6 is the winner.

🌈 Dice Games.

You need: 2 dice (6 sided is fine, but you can get dice with 10 or 12 sides, which really helps - I use these ones in my lessons. 

Along the same lines as the Rock Paper game above, two people roll a dice each, and the fastest to multiply the numbers wins a point.

⭐ïļ Card Games.

You need: A pack of normal playing cards, royal cards removed.

Again, along the same lines as above, 2 players split the cards and put down one each, at the same time. The first to call out the answer to the two cards multiplied together, wins both cards. The winner is the first to get all the cards!

And finally, if you want to use a screen, here are my faves:

Hit the Button 

Tommy's Trek  

Maths Fishing  

Fishy Times Tables 

Try Top Marks Maths, or Mathsframe... they have LOADS of free games for multiplying, dividing, adding and subtracting.

ALSO - remember to practise the division rules too, so turn tables into division sums, and do square numbers, square roots and cube numbers as an extension if they want a bit of a challenge!

Let me know how you get on - I would love to hear if you try any and enjoy them!

Marion x

PS. Those Times Tables cards are coming soon - along with Growth Mindset cards... watch this space! (Is there anything else you would like me to make in the card department?!)