How to Teach Multiplication to Kids

Use food to explain multiplication.
••• plus or multiplication sign image by Stepanov from

Multiplication--and math in general--can be especially tough for kids. When kids don’t always show the desire to learn, it’s difficult to think of effective strategies to teach multiplication. Teachers may not always do a thorough job and ensure the children understand multiplication; sometimes this task falls on you as a parent. Using food to help explain math topics or playing math games can really help you to teach multiplication. If you can get your kids to pay attention for a few minutes, following a few steps will help you teach them multiplication.

    Explain multiplication. Show them you have five pieces of candy, and that if you have three groups, each with five pieces of candy, then you have 15 pieces of candy. Let the children count the candy, and then explain the process of arriving at 15: 15 pieces of candy is 5+5+5 or 5x3. You may try something a bit simpler than a 5 times table, but a few helpful examples make it much easier to teach multiplication.

    Teach the tricks. Tricks make multiplication easier and more enjoyable. For example, 10 times tables are simple because you just add a zero to whatever number you multiply by 10. Times tables for 11 have a similar trick, in that you just repeat the number twice.

    Play games. Use flashcards and play games with multiplication tables for prizes. Many websites have games that allow kids to practice multiplication, too. Games allow kids to learn at a more comfortable pace, and the practice speeds up the process of solving problems and helps children understand.

    Review for a few minutes each day for a few weeks. Do this until the children's multiplication is fairly solid.

    Review multiplication occasionally. This will ensure the kids don't forget what they learned.

    Things You'll Need

    • 15 pieces of candy (optional)
    • Flashcards
    • Multiplication games


    • Be patient. Multiplication can be difficult to learn at first.

      Find items the kids will take interest in. Food is always a good motivator, is something kids can relate to and holds their interest, but some children might find other items more interesting.

      The best way to learn is with practice, and games are a good way to practice.

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