Mastering times tables with kitchen table games
In last week's post I talked about how "mastering times tables" means being able to recall them within one or two seconds and I explored how children climb this hurdle. In this article I'll suggest a few "kitchen table games" that will improve fluency with tables and help learners progress towards fast recall.
As a parent I've always been concerned about keeping children at the screen for too long - that's why we designed Komodo around short periods of regular use. Despite being an educational technology geek, at home I also play some traditional maths games with the kids. They're fun and a great way to speed up multiplication tables.
Times Tables with Playing Cards
Take a pack of playing cards and remove all the picture cards including the aces. Then shuffle the pack and split it into 2 piles - one for you and one for your child.
Like "Snap", each person deals a card and the learner shouts out the correct answer. If they get it right they keep the cards, wrong and the dealer gets them.
The idea is to speed up recall of times tables so introduce a speed requirement. You can gradually decrease the answer time when the learner is ready - so answer before 5, 3, 2 seconds or dealer wins!
You can also remove some "easier" cards like 2, 3, 5, 10 from the pack if you want to focus on the harder tables.
Times Tables with Dice
The usual cubic dice will only get you as far as 6 x 6 = 36 so ideally you'll get your hands on a pair of 10 sided dice.
The game works just like the playing card game. Roll the dice and the learner answers as fast as they can. Gradually reduce the time allowed so that the answers pop out almost instantly.
You can play the dice and card games with 2 learners but they need to be roughly at the same level. If not perhaps one learner can add the dice while the other has to multiply.
Fizz Buzz is more for car journeys than the kitchen table. Here's the idea - taking it in turns start counting at one but instead of saying any of the 3 times tables say "fizz" and for a five times tables you say "buzz". So it sounds like this:
1, 2, FIZZ, 4, BUZZ, FIZZ, 7, 8, FIZZ, BUZZ, 11, FIZZ, 13, 14, FIZZ BUZZ, 16
Once you've done the 3 and 5 times tables why not include the 4's - and call them say "KOZZ" or "SAZZ" or . . .
About Komodo - Komodo is a fun and effective way to to boost primary maths skills. Designed for 5 to 11 year olds to use in the home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning maths (10 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week) that fits into the busy routine. Komodo users develop fluency and confidence in maths - without keeping them at the screen for long.