It is extremely important that your child begins to learn their times tables as soon as possible, as it affects a lot of other maths work they do.
A secure knowledge of times tables facts is essential before your child can do the following maths topics:
Division (From Year 2)
Measures (from Year 2)
Short multiplication (from Year 3)
Fractions (from Year 2)
Area (from Year 5)
Volume (from Year 5)
Long multiplication (from Year 5)
Ratio and proportion (from Year 6)
Long division (from Year 6)
Algebra (from Year 6)
You can see then, the impact times tables knowledge has on the rest of the curriculum. Knowing your times tables saves time and allows children to become more confident mathematicians. In exams, time will be important – children who don’t know their times tables can often run out of time in tests and exams, which means they can lose lots of marks from unanswered questions. Having to do an extra calculation whilst solving a mathematical problem can be frustrating for children, and makes problem solving a lot more difficult and time consuming for them. Children’s confidence with maths grows when they know their times tables.
Times tables are usually taught in the following order, with the easiest and most useful times tables being taught first: (You can click on each of these to go to a step by step guide to learn each times table).
11 times table
12 times table
Children are expected to know all their times tables facts (up to 12×12) by the end of Year 4.
In Year 1, they will learn to count in 2s, 5s and 10s. This is the first step in learning these times tables.
In Year 2, they will be expected to know all the facts in the 2, 5 and 10 times tables and use them to solve mathematical problems.
In Year 3 they will learn the facts in the 3, 4 and 8 times tables.
In Year 4 they will learn the facts in the 6, 7, 9, 11 and 12 times tables.
By Year 5, children will be expected to be able to do mathematical problems with a secure knowledge of times tables facts. They will be expected to know all their times tables facts (up to 12×12) by heart, and be able to recall these facts swiftly in order to be able to solve problems involving area, volume, fractions, etc.
Teaching the Times Tables
Ok, so how to teach the times tables? There are many ways these times tables can be taught, and I recommend teaching them using a variety of approaches.
When learning anything, it is always good to involve all the senses. Children learn best when they receive information through many channels, including aurally (through listening), visually, and physically (touching and manipulating learning materials).
You can sing or chant the times tables – there are some times tables song videos here.
You can write and draw the times tables. Visual aids sheets for learning times tables can be found here.
Or you can use blocks or items to represent the times tables. Details on how to do this can be found below.
The most important things to remember when learning the times tables are consistency and repetition. You will need to practise at least once a week with your child for the times tables facts to be properly embedded in their memory.
You can learn times table facts by thinking of them as exactly that – FACTS.
The problem with this method is that it does not encourage a deeper understanding of number, or allow children to check their answers. However, once the underlying understanding is there, there is no harm in learning times tables purely as facts.
For every times table, you should follow this procedure:
Step One: Counting in steps
Chant the answers to the times table up to the 12th multiple.
e.g. for the 2 times table, you would chant:
Here are all the chants for the rest of the tables up to 12, in numerical order:
STEP TWO – SEEING THE PATTERN
For the next step, you need a 100 square – you can print one here.
For which ever times table your child is learning, ask them to colour all the multiples of that number.
For example, the 2 times table will look like this:
For times tables for 9 and above, you will obviously need a number square that goes beyond 100. You can print this here.
At this stage, you might want to also provide your child with the number of blocks (or any small item will do) that appear at the end of the times table (i.e. for the 9 times table you will need 108 items because 12 x 9=108) and ask them to arrange the items into the number of whichever times table you are learning (i.e. if you are learning the 3 times table, they will arrange them in piles of 3).
Doing this provides your child with ‘proof’ that the numbers that are listed in the table are correct, and will aid the learning process.
If you don’t have enough small items, you can print visual representations of the times tables HERE.
Step Three: Writing and Saying the Times Tables in Full
The next stage is to chant and write the time tables in full, e.g. for the 2 times table, chant:
They will write this like this:
You should test your child at this point by giving them a blank times table and asking them to fill in the answers. Times tables questions with the answers missing, for each times table can be found here.
If they have remembered the chant, then they should be able to do this easily. Tell them to add 2 (or whichever times table you are learning) to each number to find the next if they struggle to remember any of the numbers.
They will soon get to know key facts about times tables such as the first one is always the number of the times table you are learning, and 10 times is always that number with a zero after it.
Step Four: Recalling the Facts in Any Order
Once your child can recall all the facts for the times table they are learning in order, they are ready to learn to recall any of these facts when asked.
Start by asking them various questions from the times table they are learning. e.g. ‘What is 8 times 2?’
Or you could print these times table cards, lay one question out at a time and ask your child to find the matching answer. This works well if you time your child and get them to try to beat their time each time they try it.
Encourage them to work out the answer by counting up in multiples of the number, but bear in mind that the goal here is for them to eventually be able to recall these facts without having to do any working out.
To embed these facts in your child’s memory you need to practise them as often as possible, every day if you can.
Step Five: Repeated Practice
A good way to practise the facts is to play games. Here are some that are easy to make (your child will enjoy helping you make them!).
Pelmanism: Create some cards (go to this page to find some ready to print) which contain all the facts for the times table you are learning, separated into questions and answers (i.e. 2×2 on one card and 4 on another). Place all the cards face down on a table. Player 1 turns over two cards, if the question and the answer match, then they win that pair and get to turn over another 2 cards.
Snap: As for the Pelmanism game, create some cards (print them here) which contain all the facts for the times table you are learning, separated into questions and answers (i.e. 2×2 on one card and 4 on another). The parent holds all the question cards and the child holds all the answer cards.
Parent lays a question card down and the child lays down the first card from the top of their pile (give them chance to work out what the answer is before they lay their card down). If the question and answer match, the child wins the pile of cards. The object of the game is for the child to win all the cards from the parent.
Bingo: Print out these bingo cards and ‘balls’. Put the balls in small bag or box. Give your child a bingo card and take one for yourself. Involve other members of the family too – this game is more fun the more people that play.
Draw out one of the question ‘balls’. Whoever has the answer to that question can cross it out. The first person to cross out all their numbers wins.
Once your child has learnt all their times tables in this manner, they will need to practise them regularly.
You can play the games above incorporating all the times tables. Children learn best when they are relaxed, so playing these games can be a really fun way to engage a reluctant learner.
For worksheets to test and practise the times tables, please follow this link.
For a great online game to practise times tables (as well as other number facts), please follow