Many parents worry about their child's learning going backwards over the summer holidays. Honestly, from a teacher's perspective, this does happen to most children and it is fine as the summer holidays are all about having fun. But there are simple games that you can play with your child that are lots of fun, will fill an empty half an hour when they are proclaiming boredom and can help keep their times tables ticking over.
These games can be played with any of the times tables (often now referred to as multiplication tables) that children are meant to know off by heart (x 2 up to x 12) so are suitable for children from Year 1 up to Year 6.
Game 1 - Multiplication Chase
Choose one of the times tables your child is learning and write the answers onto post it notes or small pieces of cut up card/paper and place them around the garden or living room/kitchen on a rainy day. Ask your child one of the times tables e.g. 4 x 6 and they have to run and find the answer and bring the card back to you. You then repeat for the the next times table e.g. 9 x 6. You keep going until your child has collected all 12 cards.
Top Tip: If your child if very competitive, like mine, time how long it takes them to complete the challenge. My son will keep wanting to do this game again and again so he can improve the time he is doing it in.
I have managed to sit on a garden chair in the sunshine and enjoy a whole cup of hot coffee while playing with game - I hope you manage to too!
Game 2 - Hit the Target
Write the answers of the times table your child is learning and stick them onto a target board or any objects you have placed on to a table or floor. Give your a child a couple of small soft balls. You call out the times tables e.g. 7 x 8 and they have to shout out the answer and try and throw the ball at the target with the correct answer on e.g 56. Repeat for all the other times table calculations.
Top Tip: If they get bored of hitting the answer get them to hit the question. Write down all the times tables questions onto cards e.g 3 x 6 / 8 x 6 and attach these to your targets. You then say the answer to your child e.g 18 and they have to hit the question.
Game 3 - Lego Multiplication Walls
This is more of an activity than a game and is great for children who are visual and/or practical learners and who are struggling to learn their multiplication tables. Set yourself and your child a challenge to build some Lego multiplication walls together. All you need is a selection of Lego bricks that are the same size. The idea of this is that your child can see and feel what a multiplication is and this can help embed it in their long term memory. For example if the multiplication table is 4 x 6 you build a wall that is 4 columns by 6 rows, a total of 24 bricks. Get your child to count the number of bricks overall and tell you the answer to the multiplication table. Repeat this for other multiplication tables.
Top Tip: When saying the multiplication table say it in lots of different ways e.g 5 multiplied by 6, 5 times 6 or 5 lots of 6 as this helps develop your child's mathematical vocabulary.
Game 4 - Roll the Dice
This game is great to help your child revise a number of different times tables and it works particularly well if you play it with a number of children at the same time. Throw two dice and ask the children to write down the multiplication. They then race to work out the answer. Repeat this many times. To go above the 6 times table you can either use stickers to alter the numbers on the dice or you can buy 10 and 12 sided dice.
Top Tip: Remember to explain to your child that they can make two different multiplications when two dice are rolled. E.g. if you roll a 6 and a 2 they can make 6 x 2 = and 2 x 6 =.
We really hope your child finds these games lots of fun and motivates them to want to practise their multiplication tables.
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Also look out for our next Phonics and Reading Workshop and Key Stage 1 Maths Workshop coming to areas in Surrey and Hampshire very soon.