Using Games to Memorize the Timestables

Multiplication Games With Dice, Cards, and More

Dice games can be a terrific way to practice multiplication facts.
Dice games can be a terrific way to practice multiplication facts. Suleyman Orcun Guler / EyeEm, Getty Images

Learning times tables or multiplication facts is more effective when you make the learning process fun. There are a variety of games that require very little effort to play with children that will help them learn the multiplication facts and commit them to memory. Here are a few games you can use to assist committing the multiplication facts (times table facts) to memory.

Multiplication Snap Card Game
1.) Start with an ordinary deck of playing cards.

Remove the face cards from the deck, shuffle the remaining cards and distribute the cards between two players.
2.) Each player keeps their pile of cards face down. Together, each player turns over a card.
3.) The first player to multiply the two numbers together and state the answer is the winner and takes the cards.
4.) The player with the most cards in a specific amount of time is the winner OR when one player has all the cards.
This game should only be played when learners almost know their facts. Random facts are only helpful if a child has already mastered the 2's, 5's, 10's, and squares (2x2, 3x3, 4x4, 5x5...). If not, it is important to modify the game of Multiplication Snap. To do this, concentrate on a single fact family or squares. In this case, one child turns over a card and it is always multiplied by 4 or which ever fact is currently being worked on. For working on the squares, each time a card is turned over, the child that multiplies it by the same number wins.

When playing the modified version, the child takes turn turning over a card as only one card is needed. For instance, if a 4 is turned over, the first child to say 16 wins, if a 5 is turned over, the first child to say 25 wins.

Paper Plate Multiplication Facts
Take 10 or 12 paper plates and print one number on each paper plate.

Give each child a set of paper plates. Each child takes a turn holding up 2 plates, if the partner responds with the correct answer within 5 seconds, a point is given. Then it's that child's turn to hold up 2 plates and the opposite child's chance to answer within a specific time frame. Consider using smarties or a small candy for this game as it provides some incentive. A point system can also be use, the first person to 25 or 15 etc.

Roll the Dice Game
Using dice (number cubes) to commit the multiplication facts to memory uses a similar approach as multiplication snap and paper plate times tables uses. Players take turns rolling the two dice and the first one to multiply the dice by the specific number gains a point. Establish the number that the dice will be multiplied by. For instance, if working on the 9 times table, the dice are rolled and each time the dice are rolled, the number is multiplied by 9. Or if children are working on squares, each time the dice are rolled the number rolled is multiplied by itself. A variation of this game is for one child to roll the dice after the other child specifies the number used to multiply the roll of the dice. This gives each child an active part.

Two Hands Multiplication Game

This is another two player game than requires nothing but a method to keep points/score. It is a bit like rock-paper-scissors as each child says "three, two, one" and they hold up one or both hands to represent a number. The first child to multiply the two numbers together and say it out loud gets a point. The first child to 20 (or any number agreed upon) wins the game. This particular game is also a great car math game.

Edited by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.