This is starting to turn into a series! I tried to write a long post about the different steps to learning times tables with ideas for each stage – but it ended up being really dull! So instead I’m sharing a game we’ve been playing.
Times Table Stack
(I didn’t invent this game – if you search for ‘bump game’ in pinterest you will find hundreds of versions. We prefer to ‘stack’ rather than ‘bump’ but the process is the same.)
- 1 piece of paper with 12 circles on
- A 12 sided dice or 2 ordinary dice
Yes we actually have a 12 sided dice (my husband was/is a proper nerd) Also I am aware that 1 dice is a die but it looks weird to me!
- Two sets of around 15 counters
We used 1ps and 5ps – you could use drought game pieces or ‘connect four’ pieces etc. If you don’t have exactly 15 it doesn’t matter as long as you have the same number each.
- Ask the child to write the answers to which ever times table you are practising randomly in the circles
You can skip this stage if you want and print out a game board but it’s quite nice for the child to make their own plus it is a good way to ‘warm up’
- Take it in turns to roll the dice and multiply the number on the dice by whatever times table you are practising. Place your counter on the answer.
- If the answer already has a counter on it stack it on top.
- When you have both used all of your counters the game is over
- Count up the number of circles with your counter on the top. (The winner is the one with the most – or the least, or whatever you want really 😉 )
Hints and Tips
- Currently in the UK children are expected to know by heart times tables up to 12×12 – check with your child’s teacher which ones to focus on. In general I would start with 2s,10s, 5s then the rest in order starting from 3s
- This game works best if the child at least knows some of the times table already – if they’re really struggling write out the times table so they can refer to it – it will still help their memory.
- As the ‘other player’ it’s good to describe out loud how you’ve got your answer – e.g. 7×2 – well I know 5×2 is 10, so 6×2 must be 12 so 7 x 2 must be 14. You can also pretend you can’t figure out the answer at all. (Don’t do this every time or the game is really dull!!)