Six Tried and True Methods to Teach Multiplication to Children

Teach Multiplication

Many parents find it daunting to think of teaching their children multiplication. Most of us learned multiplication by memorizing multiplication tables, and then being repeatedly drilled with multiple problems. It’s not surprising that the idea of teaching multiplication to children can be nerve-wracking. How to teach multiplication to children is something you might be worried about. Let’s first take a look at how it works today, then we’ll discuss engaging activities and games that your child can use to master this important milestone in math.

Multiplication skills acquired- Teach Multiplication

As it was mentioned above, math learning is very different today than when our parents were there. Most notable, educators have shifted from traditional methods of teaching math to more conceptual teaching techniques since the Common Core Standards Initiative was launched in 2010.

Instead of memorizing operations and then “drilling, killing”, which was once the practice in math classes, children learn not only “the how” but also “the why” when solving math problems. 

Today’s classrooms teach kids how to build number sense and understand math operations. This includes starting counting and placing value. They are able to skip counting and add doubles by the time they understand multiplication. This helps students to master multiplication long before they can see the problem on a worksheet. Here are some ideas for teaching your child this higher-level operation, both for single and multidigit multiplication.

Multiplication with Single Digits

Use Real Life Examples and Photos to Illustrate

It is a great way to teach multiplication to kids. Start by giving real-life examples and then drawing pictures. It’s crucial that children can relate math problems to real-life situations and see the concepts in action, since they are learning math conceptually.

Get some crayons and a piece paper. Ask your child to draw three ice-cream cones, each one having three scoops. Next, ask your child to read the following word problem. “Little Bobby bought 3 ice cream cones. There are three scoops of ice-cream in each cone. How many scoops are there in all?” Ask your child to count the ice cream cones. Then, write down the answer. Explain that this is a multiplication problem and then write the equation at the top: 3×3=9.

Continue to use the same strategy but with simple images your child can draw and count. Draw slices of pizza with pepperoni or kites with ribbons or cars with tires. Continue practicing until your child grasps the concept.

Run Over Adding Doubles and Solve Writing Problems!

In the first grade, children learn how to add doubles. This concept is so familiar to children, that it makes sense to begin multiplication with it in the third grade. Write multiplication problems that only focus on multiplying by 2. Tell students that multiplying a number twice will double it. Ask them to recall what they know about adding doubles. Third grade multiplication worksheets is a great way to nail down children’s achievements.

Word problems can also help children to identify the numbers and create multiplication sentences by themselves. Encourage your child’s ability to continue drawing the problems that they are able to solve. Help your child to draw the problem first and then count if they are having trouble solving it. Take as much time as your kid needs to solidify multiplying by 2, then don’t forget about learning multiplication facts or multiplying by other numbers. If your child appears to be proficient in multiplying by 2, you can move on!

Word Problems make Multiplication More Sense

It doesn’t make any sense to give a child a worksheet with problems when they are just starting multiplication without deep understanding of how it works. Word problems help children understand early multiplication concepts.

Print out a worksheet that contains simple one-digit word problems and carefully read the whole problem to your kid. You can use colored pencils to highlight key words and circle the numbers. Next, write the multiplication problem as a multiplication sentence and then solve it.

Do not Forget the Zero Rule!

Multiplication product of zero is a universal math rule which states that if one factor in a multiplication problem has zero, then the product also has zero. Even for struggling students this concept is as easy as pie. To help your child remember the rule, you can listen to a catchy song “Multiply By 0” on Jack Hartmann Kid’s Music Channel YouTube and sing along!

After children have mastered the concept of multiplication it is time to learn the rules and facts that will allow them to move on to multidigit multiplication.

Multi-Digit Multiplication

Once your child feels that they have mastered multiplication and are able to solve simple one-digit problems, then it is time to learn multi-digit multiplication. There are some strategies that you can use to help your child overcome these seemingly difficult problems.

Splitting Partial Factors

Mental math is a tool that every adult uses to solve real-world problems. Breaking down factors is one strategy most people use. Let’s take an example: The problem on the paper is 12×20. Let’s take the factors and break them down into numbers we can work with. The number 10 is something that most of us can use.

Multiply each 10 times 20 individually before multiplying 2×20 and adding the two products. It would look like this on paper:


This is much simpler to solve!

The Adding Zeros Trick

Multiplying numbers by 10, 100, 1000 or more can be done with zeros. Multiplying 35×100 by two zeros will result in a product of 3500. The answer to this question is plain to see: simply add the number of zeros within 100 factor.

However, it is important for children to have a good understanding of place values before they can tackle this concept. Once you are confident that your child understands the math behind adding zeros, introduce the trick to simplify multiplication when dealing with factors that contain multiple zeros. You can reinforce the concept by going online to YouTube, searching for “My Hero, Zero”, a familiar Schoolhouse Rock song to sing along!

There are many other strategies that can be used to help your child master multiplication. These strategies will help you get started if you are struggling to teach multiplication to children. When your child is familiar with the basics of math, it will be easier to solve more complex problems.


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