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Multiplication Rhymes & Tricks for Kids

Instructor: Jessica Keys
Tackling times tables can be a real stew. There's so much to remember and so much to review. If you find yourself stuck in this bubbling pot, read on for some tricks to improve your lot. You'll learn some patterns and rhymes to try; they make it fun to multiply!

For learners who are really stuck trying to remember a multiplication fact, one thing that may get the ball rolling is to work it into a little rhyme.

Time to Rhyme

Here are a few examples of multiplication rhymes:

  • Two and four want to celebrate; they're turning eight (2 x 4 = 8)
  • Six and five watched the birdie; the number of times she chirped was thirty (6 x 5 = 30)
  • Six and six had a bag of tricks; inside the bag was thirty-six (6 x 6 = 36)
  • Six and seven live in a shoe; it must be size forty-two (6 x 7 = 42)
  • Six and eight are running late! How many minutes? Forty-eight! (6 x 8 = 48)
  • When multiplying ones, don't forget: What you see is what you get!

While a student may not be able to remember a rhyme for every multiplication problem, this method can really help with recalling those facts that just don't stick. For extra practice, encourage learners to make up their own rhymes! Study.com's chapter on multiplication can get kids started with the basics.

Pattern Power

While studying times tables, students may notice patterns or similarities between each fact in the family. These patterns can be turned into shortcuts and tricks that make it easy to ace the entire table.

For example, mastering the fours table is as easy as doubling numbers. Just take the number being multiplied by four and double it twice.

  • With 4 x 8, double 8 once: 8 + 8 = 16.
  • Now double that answer: 16 + 16 = 32.
  • And voilà! 4 x 8 = 32.

The nines table may be very daunting for a beginner but there are also a couple tricks to it. To begin, have students write out the first ten multiples of nine:

9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90

Now it's plain to see:

  • They have a pattern! 9 and 90. 18 and 81. 27 and 72. 36 and 63. 45 and 54.
  • The first number in each multiple is the number you would multiply by nine to get that answer, minus one: 9 x 2 = 18 (2 - 1 = 1). 9 x 3 = 27 (3 - 1 = 2), and so on.

This pattern can be applied to a nifty nines table hand trick. Have students hold up their hands and think of each finger as a number, from one to ten, in order from left to right.

  • When multiplying a number by nine, the student folds down the finger that corresponds to that number.
  • The number of fingers held up on the left side of the folded finger is the first digit in the answer.
  • The number of fingers held up on the right side of the folded finger is the second digit in the answer.

For the other tables, here are some more helpful tricks:

  • Any number multiplied by zero is zero. This rule is always true, no matter what!
  • Any number multiplied by one is itself. It may help to depict the number one as a mirror.
  • Any number multiplied by two will be an even number. For students who prefer addition, they can always double the number that's being multiplied: 2 x 12 = (12 + 12) = 24.
  • For those who are really comfortable with addition, one can multiply by eight by doubling the other factor three times: 8 x 12 = ( 12 + 12 = 24; then 24 + 24 = 48; then 48 + 48) = 96. A little advanced, but it works!
  • Any number multiplied by five will always end in zero or five.
  • To multiply a number by ten, simply add a zero to the end!

Whether one is breezing through the times tables with ease or having a little trouble, it never hurts to try new ways to practice multiplication. Check out Study.com's multiplication skills practice chapter for more ideas, tricks and even quizzes so your students can put their skills to the test!

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