There has been debate in recent years about whether kids should learn their times tables. Some educators feel that rote memorization is no good if kids don’t understand. Others argue that knowing times tables helps build confidence and gives students the ability to do higher level math. I don’t think the two positions are mutually exclusive, and I believe in teaching times tables and helping kids “get” them.

The good news is teaching times tables doesn’t have to be all flashcards and drilling.

**Two Fun Ways to Teach Times Tables**

Today I’m sharing a times tables booklet that your students can use to review or quiz themselves and an easy card game for practicing times tables facts.

**Make a Times Table Booklet**

**Step 1**

Have enough strips of paper for each student. The strips should measure 60cm long and 5cm wide. Fold over a rectangle about 4cm wide at the left side of the strip.

**Step 2**

Continue to fold the strip of paper over on itself for the length of the strip. Cut off any leftover paper.

**Step 3**

Choose the multiplier for the booklet, e.g. 6. Write: Tables Booklet x 6 on the front of the booklet.

**Step 4**

Turn back the front page of the booklet. On the left side write 1 x 6 and on the right side make a pattern of the answer (6 dots). Then write the number 6 in the top right hand corner.

**Step 5**

Open the strip of paper one more page. Then write 2 x 6 on the left side, make another pattern of 6 dots and then write the number 12 in the top right hand corner.

**Step 6**

Continue to open up the strip of paper and each time add one more multiple of 6, until the booklet is completed. You can then get your students to pair up and test each other on the various table facts.

You can make books for all of the times tables or just the ones students struggle with.

**Card Turnover**

This simple card game for 2 players to practice times tables facts. You need a deck of cards with the picture cards (King, Queen, Jack, Joker) removed.

- Shuffle the cards and divide them into two equal piles, face down on the playing surface.
- Each player flips a card.
- Students multiply the two numbers that are revealed. The first one to say the correct answer wins both cards.
- If both players say the answer at the same time, then they keep one card each.
- If the answer is incorrect, then both cards are placed back at the bottom of the piles.

- The winner is the player with the most cards at the end.

**Adaptation**

The general game helps students practice all times tables, but you can adapt it to focus on an individual times table, for example the 7 times tables.

- Shuffle the cards and place 7 on the playing surface face up. Place all the other cards face down next to the 7.
- Players take turns flipping over the top card from the pile.
- As in the original game, players multiply the two numbers, and the first player to call out the correct answer is the winner. That player gets to keep the card turned over, but the 7 stays on the table.
- If both players say the answer at the same time, then the card is placed back at the bottom of the pile.
- If the answer is incorrect, then the card is placed back at the bottom of the pile.

- The winner is the player with the most cards at the end.

**Tips and extension**

- Have a calculator handy for students to settle any disputes.
- The Ace card can be used as the number 11 or the number 1. If you haven’t taught the 11 times table yet, specify that it is 1.
- Include more sets of cards and have up to 4 students playing.
- Use jumbo playing cards and place a magnetic strip on the back. Stick two cards on the whiteboard and get your students to call out the answer.
- The rules can be changed so that players can add the numbers, or subtract the lower number from the higher number.
- To make the game more challenging get your students to make their own sets of cards to include numbers up to 100. For example: 20, 30, 15, 37. They can then use these with an individual times tables, so when these cards are turned over they’re multiplied by the selected multiplier, e.g. 20 x 7.
- Alternatively change the multiplier to be 70, rather than 7. So for the example above the problem would become, 6 x 70.

Using games like this instead of drilling can keep student frustration and boredom lower, which can keep their interest in math up. You can teach the times tables and keep it fun!

For more games and activities to keep math lessons fun and to help you teach times tables and so many other math skills, check out** The Bumper Book of Fun Math Games and Activities.**

With more than 138 pages, this is your ‘go to’ book of maths strategies, games and activities. It’s suitable for students in grades 1 – 4, contains easy to follow information and instructions, and can be used with individuals, small groups, or your whole class.

To get more details including the wide range of topics covered, **click here.**

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