multiplication times table

How to Learn Multiplication Tables

Why are multiplication tables important?

Kids start learning multiplication in 3rd grade and need to master it quickly.

Every other subsequent year in math and science rely on using multiplication skills without error or taking lots of time to think about  it. Even in my high school Honors math courses, the kids who struggled often were those who were slower to compute these basic math facts. It was not that they did not know them, but they had to use more mental energy and time to come up with the answers. If a kid has to think about what 5 x 8 is, he or she is behind.

Timed tests throughout K-12th grade will overtake and overwhelm a student who is slow calculate their multiplication facts.


What is multiplication actually?

Kids can spend hours memorizing their times tables, but if they do not understand what it is, this can lead to:

– confusion
– frustration
– reduced motivation (i.e. “why do I even need to do this?”)
– decreased self-confidence in math abilities

Easy Definition: Multiplication is “a fast way to add.”


1) 2 x 3

This is the same as saying 2 groups of 3 things.

Group #1:   😎   😎   😎
Group #2:   😎   😎   😎

The total number of smily faces in all the groups is 6.  Therefore, 2 x 3 = 6!

2) 4 x 2

Now there are 4 groups of 2 things.

Group #1:   😎   😎
Group #2:   😎   😎
Group #3:   😎   😎
Group #4:   😎   😎  

The total number of smily faces in all the groups is 8.  Therefore, 4 x 2 = 8!

3) 12 x 12

Now there are 12 groups of 12 things.

…I do not want to draw out that many smily faces! Now is where my memorization of the times tables comes in handy.   12 x 12 = 144!


How to Learn Multiplication Tables

Now that you know what multiplication is and how remembering the facts quickly is important, it is time to memorize them! Here are some helpful and fun ways to memorize your multiplication tables:

times table

– Flash Cards!

Practice makes perfect, so review, review, review!

– The Times 2 Trick!

This is easy. You just double (or add something to itself).

So 6 x 2 = 6 + 6 = 12

– The Times 4 Trick!

If you know how to double a number, this is easy. Just double a number and then double it again!

6 x 4 = (6 x 2) x 2 = (12) x 2 = 24

double #1       double #2

– The Times 9 Trick!

Here are the easy and fun steps:

1. Hold out your hands with your fingers spread out wide
2. For 9 x 3 bend your 3rd finger down. (9 x 4 = the 4th finger, 9 x 5 = the 5th finger, and so on)
3. You have 2 fingers in front of the bent finger and 7 after the bent finger
4. Thus 9 x 3 = 27
5. This works for 9 times anything up to 10!

– The Times 11 Rules:

#1: For any number up to 9

– Take number and just write it twice
Example: 11 x 3 = 33
Example: 11 x 4 = 44
Example: 11 x 5 = 55

#2: For any two digit number

– Take number and write it with a space between the digits  (Example: 11 x 15)
1 _ 5

– Add the digits together and put that number in the middle
1 + 5 = 6,

So, 1 _ 5 becomes 165.

11 x 15 = 165


– Play Games!

Multiplication War Game

1. Use a deck of playing cards
2. Divide the cards in half, facing down
3. Each player flips over one card at the same time
4. The first player to say the fact based on the cards turned over (e.g. a four and an eight = Say “28”) gets the cards
5. The player who gets all the cards, wins!

* Allow kids to “cheat” off times table in beginning, if they need it
* Be amazed at how quickly kids learn their facts when playing this game on a regular basis. And they’ll have fun too!


– Look for Patterns!

1. Use a multiplication table (or better yet, have your kids create one)
2. Look carefully for patterns, duplications, repeats, and other interesting facts (for example: the diagonal down the middle shows perfect squares and 7X8 and 8X7 both = 56)
3. Cover up boxes with small piece of paper and quiz kids for what is beneath
4. Have kids count by 3s, 4s, 5s 6s, etc. and only look back at the table if they need a hint


So, to answer the challenge of “how to learn multiplication tables,” we say: Keep reviewing and make it fun!  😀

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Laura earned a Master's degree in Secondary Education plus Teaching Certification for Mathematics and Psychology in both AZ and CA. Her undergraduate work was in Psychology with a minor in German from UCLA where she graduated magna cum laude. She has been tutoring since the 90's, was a high school teacher 2006-2011, and still teaches for a local college. Laura is passionate about teaching, learning, entrepreneurship, and traveling the world with her husband, their dog Tuck, and her Macbook Pro. -- Join Laura on Linkedin & Twitter!
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Amihai Shapira
Amihai Shapira
3 years ago

My daughter had a hard time learning the times table.
So I wrote an android application to assist her 🙂

Each exercise kids solve helps them to feed the cute panda.
You can get daily reminders to feed the panda (solve exercises) and kids get rewarded with trophies upon goals completion.

Using this application my daughter learned the whole times table without noticing 🙂

* Currently the application is only for Android phones *

Bob Juckov
Bob Juckov
3 years ago

Hello! To learn the times table it is often difficult to teach!
My daughter (8) teaches the multiplication table, and I attended the creation of a good
learning game motiviruschey for this:

– what do you think about this?

Todd VanDuzer
Todd VanDuzer
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Juckov

Bob, thanks for sharing such a helpful resource!

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