Multiplication facts are an important building block for so many math skills, but many students struggle to learn their facts. How can we help? We can teach them vocabulary and strategies, but we also need to make time for hands-on learning and games. Here are some fun ways to practice multiplication.
Fun Ways to Practice Multiplication
Build Arrays with Manipulatives
Once students understand the relationship between repeated addition and multiplication, you’ll want to give some hands-on practice using manipulatives. This is a concrete visual that really helps students. Before you pass out the manipulatives, remind students that they are tools, not toys.
Some of my favorite manipulatives for multiplication arrays include cubes, counters, and mini erasers. To help students keep their columns and rows organized, students might use a pencil to straighten or line them up. You might also consider using Bingo daubers for a touch of color or allow students to have fun with food (Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, pretzels, etc.).
You can also use printable mats to help students keep things more organized. Students use a repeated addition sentence to build an array and then record a matching multiplication sentence.
Find even more arrays activities and practice pages here.
Multiplication Dice Games
In my experience, adding dice to an activity boosts engagement. That’s why I love using math dice games with students. Whether your students need practice with basic multiplication facts, repeated addition, or building arrays, this set of games will help. To save on paper, place the pages inside dry erase sleeves and students can reuse the activities with different results.
Are you a paperless classroom? Use the digital option for Google Slides that animates the dice directly on the slides as students play.
You can find these Multiplication Dice Games here.
For this 2-player game, you will need a deck of cards and two players. Students shuffle and deal the cards out evenly. At the same time, players turn over two cards each and determine their product and compare to their opponent. The player with the highest product takes all four cards. If there is a tie, students can either repeat the steps in a winner-takes-all format, or each player may keep his own two cards.
Variation: Students shuffle and deal the cards out evenly. Each player keeps their stack of cards facedown. At the same time, each player reveals the top card from their own stack. The first to correctly multiply and name the product gets to keep both cards.
Another fun way to practice multiplication facts is with mazes. These provide a fun challenge that will keep students engaged from start to finish! Choose between printable and digital options.
You can find these Multiplication Mazes here.
Circles and Stars
This is a very low-prep, high interest activity. This activity can be done individually or with a partner.
To play, students need a paper and pencil (or whiteboard and marker) and 1-2 dice. Students roll the dice and draw that many circles on their paper or whiteboard. Students roll the dice again and draw that many stars inside each circle. Then students record a multiplication sentence or repeated addition sentence to match.
When played with a partner, students complete the steps individually, but the player with the highest product wins the round. The first to win 3 rounds wins the game.
If students draw their circles too small, they can use dots instead of stars inside the circles.
This is a game that can be played with the whole class or with a small group who needs more support. Here’s a set that can be played with up to 36 students.
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Multiplication is all around us in the real world. Take your students on a scavenger hunt through the school (or in their own homes) to find examples. Have students take photos of these arrays and combine them into a class book where students label each photo with the multiplication fact it represents.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some examples:
- ice cube tray
- egg carton
- donut box
- soda 6-pack
- spider legs
- ten frame
- side of a Rubik’s cube
- muffin tin
- Lego bricks
There are many songs and videos to help students practice their multiplication facts. This Multiplication Mash Up video came highly recommended from one of my teacher friends.
You know how much I love to share books! Here are some of my favorite multiplication books for kids.
Don’t forget that it’s also okay to have students work with flash cards from time to time. What are some of your favorite ways to practice multiplication?
You might also enjoy:
- Math Dice Games
- Dominoes Activities
- Fun Ways to Practice Doubles
- Hundreds Chart Activities
- Making 10 Games & Activities
- Counting Coins Games & Activities
- Telling Time Games and Activities
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