Multiplication strategies make it faster and easier for kids to learn the times tables. Learn tried-and-true multiplication strategies (as well as the best order for teaching the multiplication facts) that will help your kids master multiplication.
In math, it’s usually best to move from one topic to the next sequentially.
The addition facts come before the subtraction facts.
Multiplying whole numbers comes before multiplying decimals.
Dividing by 1-digit numbers comes before 2-digit numbers.
And so on.
But when it comes to memorizing the multiplication facts, your kids will find it faster and easier to memorize the times tables out of order. In my years of helping kids learn the multiplication tables, here’s the best order that I’ve found for memorizing the times tables, along with multiplication strategies for learning each table.
(Psst…I use a visual called a multiplication array to demonstrate the strategies in this article. Click here to learn more about multiplication arrays and to download your own printable dot array.)
Strategy: Any number times 1 equals the original number.
The ×1 facts are very easy for kids to memorize, and they’re the best place to start. Since 1 group of any size equals the original group, 1 times any number equals the original number. Done!
Strategy: Double the other number.
Next, come the ×2 facts. Since 2 × 8 means “2 groups of 8,” your child can simply double 8 to find that 2 × 8 = 16.
Strategy: Use the ×2 facts as stepping stones.
The ×3 facts build on the ×2 facts. For example, your child can use 2 × 7 to help memorize 3 × 7. Since 2 × 7 is 2 groups of 7, he can add one more group of 7 to find that 3 × 7 is 21.
- Related: Learn more about using easier multiplication facts as stepping stones.
Strategy: Double the related ×2 facts.
Just like with the ×3 facts, your child can use the ×2 facts as a stepping stone to mastering the ×4 facts. In this case, she can find the answers to the ×4 facts by doubling the related ×2 facts. For example, she can use 2 × 6 to find 4 × 6: since 2 × 6 is 2 groups of 6, she can double 12 to find that 4 ×6 equals 24.
Strategy: Use place-value.
Time to skip ahead a little! Learning the ×10 facts make the ×5 facts easier, so we’ll take a quick detour. Your child can use her understanding of place-value to memorize the ×10 facts. For example, 7 × 10 means 7 groups of 10. Place-value tells us that 70 equals 7 tens, so 7 × 10 equals 70.
Strategy: Put groups of 5 together to make 10s.
Now that your child has learned the ×10 facts, she can build on that knowledge to memorize the ×5 facts. She can find the answers by putting together 2 groups of 5 to make a 10, and then use place-value knowledge to find the total. For example, to find 6 × 5, she can think, “Every 2 groups of 5 makes 10. Since I have 6 groups of 5, I can make 3 tens. 3 tens is 30, so 6 × 5 is 30.”
Strategy: Use the ×5 facts as a stepping stone to mastering the ×6 facts.
Just your child can use the ×2 facts to figure out the ×3 facts, he can also use the same idea with the ×5 and ×6 facts. For example, 5 × 7 will help him memorize 6 × 7.
6 × 7 is just one more group of 7 than 5 × 7. So, he can add one more group of 7 to 35 to find that 6 × 7 is 42.
Strategy: Use the ×10 facts as stepping stones.
It may seem like your child has 10 new facts to learn this week: 1×9 up to 10×9. But, thanks to the commutative property, she has already learned most of the ×9 facts. (For example, she learned 3 × 9 along with 9 × 3, and she learned 5 × 9 along with 9 × 5 .) That means she only has three new ×9 facts to learn: 7 × 9, 8 × 9, and 9 × 9.
For these facts, she can use the ×10 facts as stepping stones. But, instead of adding (as she did with the ×3 and ×6 facts), she can subtract. For example, she can use 10 × 8 to find 9 × 8. Since 9 × 8 is just one less group of 8 than 10 × 8, she can subtract one group of 8 from 80 to find that 9 × 8 is 72.
×7 and ×8 Tables
Strategy: More stepping-stones (and lots of practice!)
At this point, your child has just 3 multiplication facts left to learn: 7 × 7, 7 × 8, and 8 × 8. Many children find these 3 facts the most difficult to memorize. He can use the other ×7 and ×8 facts that he has already learned as stepping stones to these facts. (For example, he can add 7 to 6 × 7 to figure out 7 × 7.)
Even with stepping-stone facts, most children will need a lot of practice with these difficult multiplication facts to cement them in long-term memory. Make sure to give your child lots of practice with them to make sure these last few facts really stick!
6 thoughts on “Multiplication Strategies That Will Help Your Child Master the Times Tables”
I am looking for the dot array and cover up I saw on your video. Would I be able to get a copy of this?
Thanks so much! Very helpful!!
Glad you found it helpful! All you need to do is click the green link above and you’ll be able to enter your email to receive your own copy. If that doesn’t work for some reason, feel free to email me at the contact link above and I can send it to you directly.
Hi Kate. I’m a teen who is about to start tutoring a third grader who doesn’t know his multiplication facts very well. He learns best through games and hands- on work, but because of coronavirus I’ll be tutoring him over Zoom. Do you have any tips for how to teach him and keep him engaged?
Tutoring online will definitely be a challenge! Take a look at this article and this article for some thoughts on how to make math fun, but you’ll need to modify some of them for the online format.
Best wishes in your tutoring, and happy math!
I’ve tried to access the multiplication tips and games, but nothing is coming to my email. I’ve checked spam as well. The contact is not available, either.
Sorry that it’s not working for you, Lisa! Here’s the link to my contact page. Please shoot me a message there with your email address and the downloads you’re looking for, and I’ll get those out to you.