Multiplication is a core skill for your child’s maths education, as well as proving useful in daily life! In this article:
Discover top tips to introduce your child to times tables
Watch how-to videos for the key multiplication methods for primary school maths
Download free multiplication worksheets to help them get confident with their tables in no time!
Multiplication is the calculation we use to express repeated additions of equal groups. As we'll see in this video, using repeated addition will always reveal the answer to a multiplication problem, but it is much quicker to multiply – particularly when we learn times tables by heart.
Multiplication is also an important foundation for maths topics that your child will encounter during their later years at primary school: division and algebra. Knowing times tables makes these problems a lot easier to tackle and avoids a lot of unnecessary complication.
Multiplication facts are simply the answers to multiplication problems. For example:
6 x 3 = 18 (the multiplication fact is 18)
23 x 4 = 92 (the multiplication fact is 92)
62 x 5 = 310 (the multiplication fact is 310)
Here are our top tips for how to help your child understand and build confidence with the concept of multiplication.
Objects from around your home can come in handy when introducing your child to multiplication. Everyday items such as counting blocks, beads or biscuits, can help your child understand how multiplication works – and why it’s quicker to remember times tables than to count.
A good time to do this is after the weekly shop. Sit down with your child with some of your purchases in front of you. Group items into equal sets and then ask your child to count the total number of items. If you’ve bought three bunches of bananas, each with five bananas, how many do you have in total?
Skip counting is multiplying by repeated addition. For example, skip counting by 3 would go: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, etc. – the same as the 3 times table. Practising skip counting will help children to learn their times tables and build up speed of recall.
Make it a challenge for your child – how quickly can they count to a certain number by twos, fives and tens? Once they’re confident with that, try threes, fours and eights.
Multiplication times table charts are a way to visualise the 1–12 times tables. Print this poster out and stick it on the fridge to help your child keep the multiplication facts fresh in their mind!
Encourage your child to say their times tables out loud, chant or even sing them. Making a catchy rap or song will aid their recall. Repeating times tables while they are doing other activities will help build confidence and speed. Above all, practise practise practise!
These 12 questions demonstrate the national curriculum learning objectives for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 across:
Mental multiplication and division
Answers are included at the end!
In Years 1–2, children learn their 2, 5, and 10 times tables. By the end of Key Stage 1 (age 7), they are taught to solve multiplication problems using materials, arrays, repeated addition, mental methods and recall of multiplication facts. This includes solving 'problems in contexts' (multi-step and worded problems).
In Key Stage 2 (age 7–11), children learn how to use formal written methods. By the end of Year 4, children should recall their times tables up to 12 × 12. In Year 5 they are introduced to long multiplication. By the end of Year 6, children are expected to multiply numbers up to four digits by a two-digit whole number using long multiplication.
Here are some of the key multiplication methods your child will be taught at primary school, along with free downloadable worksheets and tutorial videos.
Arrays are visual representations of multiplication sums. For example, to visualise 5 x 2, your child can draw five groups of two items each.
Encouraging your child to draw and count arrays is a great way to introduce them to multiplication. Arrays are also helpful to learn about the relationship between multiplication and division.
Also known as the grid method or box method, the area model is a way to multiply two numbers together. It's often used by teachers to introduce children to multiplication with larger numbers.
It's so named because it represents the relationship between the sides and the area of a rectangle, and involves writing numbers into boxes arranged in a grid.
Addition and multiplication are commutative, meaning the order in which we write the numbers is not important. Some calculations look too tricky to be done mentally, but turn out to be doable when we swap the numbers around.
It's important to remember that subtraction and division are not commutative.
Here are some tricks for mental multiplication and division – although the most efficient trick of all is learning times tables by heart!
Short multiplication is a method using columns to set out and calculate a multiplication. It will build on your child's times tables skills. To use the short multiplication method, children need to be familiar with times tables up to 9 x 9 and be confident in adding carried digits.
Introduced in Years 5 and 6, long multiplication (also known as column multiplication) is a method of multiplying larger numbers. It involves breaking the sum down into parts that are easier to answer and then adding the parts back together to get the answer.
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