Top times tables games

Abacus
Help your children enjoy learning their times tables with a few easy games. Education writer Phoebe Doyle suggests five ideas for you to try.

1. Speed tables

Your child can race against a friend or play alone (even racing against the clock can be a challenge that really gets competitive-types going!). As they write down their tables, make it a sport and encourage them to aim for ‘personal bests’. They can write them down either as 8 x 6 = 48 or by filling in a tables grid.

2. Bingo!

Make this ultra-authentic by buying some proper bingo dabbers, just for fun. This is best played with at least two children, or drag in your other half or a grandparent if there isn’t an extra child around. Make simple bingo cards with multiples of, for example, nine on them. Then you, as the caller, call out “nine nines”, and whoever has 81 dabs it. The person who gets a full house is the caller on the next round.

3. Throw the dice

Again, this is best played with two or more children. Throw two dice and ask the children to write down the multiplication. If you want to work on tables higher than one to six, use small stickers to change the numbers, or buy twelve-sided dice. The winner is the child with the most correct calculations written down in a given time frame.

4. Memory game

Buy or make some number cards, and write down the corresponding tables calculations onto cut-out card. Make sure the number cards and the tables calculation cards are different shapes so your child can distinguish a calculation from a potential answer. Lay all cards upside-down on the floor or desk. First your child has to turn over one of the table calculation cards, and then they need to find the number card that is the answer to the calculation. The winner is the player with the most cards once all the overturned cards are gone.

5. Keep fit challenge

Getting children active is proven to help learning, so instead of just asking your child to recite their tables, encourage them to jog on the spot and do different aerobic moves in time to chanting them. As exercise helps mood and concentration, it should make the sessions more fun and effective.

You could also try our teachers' tricks for learning times tables, or look through all our free times tables worksheets to get practising today!