Whether your child is addled by addition or mad for multiplication, making math interesting and fun to learn can present a challenge. Luckily, GreatSchools has a community of parents ready and willing to share their amazing arithmetic games and memorization techniques that helped their kids nail their numbers. These quick tips are sure to boost your child’s math expertise (if not yours):
Hop to it
Grasshopper Math is great for all ages, especially for kids who need to move to learn. The best part of this game is that you can make it up as you go:
Do you have a child who likes to move? Try Grasshopper Math! You can play this one outside on a sunny day or take it inside if it’s raining. All you need is a pen, index cards (or paper), and a hopping, jumping kid.
On each card write a number from zero to 15, and spread them out over the floor or ground. Start the game by giving directions such as “Be a grasshopper and hop to the number seven,” and then take it from there. Feel free to use the following sample directions or improvise your own:
- Now hop to the number that is one less than seven.
- Skip to the number that is one more than 12.
- Twirl to 15.
- Count backward from 15, hopping to each number as you go.
This game could also be adapted for older kids. Use more or bigger numbers, say 50 to 100, or try harder math problems (“Can you hop to the number that equals 17 minus 4?”). Either way it’s a jumping good time. — by cheriet
Retrain their brains
Memorizing multiplication tables is a major event in any child’s education, but these moms have ideas that really work:
For me, it was watching Schoolhouse Rock! with my son. He was in first grade, and suddenly he could recite all the multiples and was understanding the multiplication behind the songs. I pulled out flash cards, and surely he got it. So the songs transcend entertainment. — by MagnetMom
My child is [a] visual and auditory [learner]. Memorize in Minutes: The Times Tables is the absolute best. In one night my fifth-grader not only remembered [the multiples] but could also recall the stories and facts. We began in the third grade with flash cards, games on the computer, drills, and a host of other methods, but it seems this is the only thing sticking. I wish I had learned of it sooner. Also, oswego.org is a good one. — by laurie35
If you have students or children who require a more engaging, fun, and different technique to learn their times tables, look into Memorize in Minutes: The Times Tables, which features mnemonic devices (pictures and rhymes that [aid memory and] tickle a funny bone) to help kids remember and enjoy the times tables. They plug in the wrenched rhymes from the pictures to remember the answer — and laugh while solving multiplication. What could be better? For example:
A door represents 4
a hive represents 5
a chick represents 6 or
a skate represents 8
8 x 8 = skate x skate = sticky floor (64)
6 x 6 = chicks x chicks = dirty chicks (36)
4 x 5 = door x hive = honey (20)
If you have kids who aren’t getting their times tables but love jokes and riddles, then you’ll have to get this book to learn more. — by kimjergen