Simple Multiplication: Understanding the Basics

Simple multiplication is an important math skill that kids typically learn in 3rd grade. Once your child learns simple multiplication, he or she will use it in almost every math class in the future. Read on for ways to introduce your child to the basics.

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How Do I Demonstrate Simple Multiplication to My Child?

Introduce Multiplication

When you review multiplication with your child, you want to whet his curiosity and interest. It helps to show him how multiplication is used in the real world. He may be more receptive to learning it if he understands why it's useful. For example, you can show him that you have five boxes of cupcakes to take to the bake sale, and each box contains six cupcakes. Use addition to help him figure out how many cupcakes you have total, then show him how it's done for multiplication.

Start by writing 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 on a piece of paper. Tell your child that you're going to add six to itself five times, and ask him to add the numbers up and write the answer. Then tell him that 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 can also be written as 6 x 5.

Encourage Hands-on Practice

Before your child can memorize facts, she must be able to demonstrate her understanding of what multiplication means. She can do this by working problems with objects that can be grouped and counted, such as cubes, beans, buttons, paper clips and egg cartons. You can also use graph paper and color in squares to demonstrate multiplication. Teach her that the times symbol can also be read as 'groups of.' Once you're sure she understands the concept, she's ready to learn the facts.

Move on to the Facts

Once your child understands how multiplication works, he can start learning multiplication tables. Flashcards and worksheets aid retention and speed of recall. You can find these resources online for free. However, many websites also offer games that allow your child to have some fun while practicing multiplication tables.

Use Songs and Stories

Help learn the facts by singing with Hap Palmer's Multiplication Mountain CD. You can also use the Multiplication activity book and CD set by Twin Sisters Productions. You might read The Best of Times by Greg Tang, an illustrated book that uses clever, silly rhymes to help your child learn the multiplication table. Encourage your child to make up her own songs, stories, puzzles and games.

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