Multiplication is one of those basic skills students have to master before they can move on to more advanced math. Memorization is one option, but it’s also vital to make sure kids understand exactly what it means to multiply. This list of ways to teach multiplication is full of a variety of fun and engaging approaches. You’re sure to find an idea or activity that will resonate with every one of your students!
1. Make multiplication pool noodles
Pick up some pool noodles and use our easy tutorial to turn them into the ultimate multiplication manipulatives! This is such a unique way for kids to practice their facts.
2. Match wits at Array Capture
You can use dice-in-dice or just a pair of dice for this game. Players roll the dice and use the numbers to block off space on the grid, writing in the math sentence too. At the end of the game, the player with the most spaces colored in wins.
Learn more: Teaching With Jillian Starr/Array Capture
3. Punch holes to make arrays
Arrays introduce multiplication in a way that kids can easily understand. This activity is great for active learners who will love punching holes as they create multiplication arrays for basic facts.
Learn more: Primary Theme Park
4. Fold a multiplication cootie catcher
We love finding new and clever ways to practice math facts! Get these free printables at the link, then let kids color and fold them up. Now they’ve got self-checking practice at their fingertips.
Learn more: Artsy-Fartsy Mama/Cootie Catchers
5. Visit the Multiplication Shop
How fun is this? Set up a “store” with small items for sale. Kids choose a number of items from each section to “buy” and write out the multiplication sentences as their receipt!
6. Ask a partner, “Do You Have?”
Got an old “Guess Who?” game lying around? Turn it into a multiplication game instead!
Learn more: @rainbowskycreations
7. Pull out the base 10 blocks
Base 10 blocks are one of our favorite manipulatives, and they’re a terrific tool to help you teach multiplication. Build arrays with them to let kids visualize the problems and their answers.
Learn more: Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources
8. Color in Emoji Mystery pages
Here’s a twist on color-by-number. First, kids have to answer the multiplication problems in each square. Then they get to color! Get a free set of these pages at the link.
Learn more: Artsy-Fartsy Mama/Emoji Mystery Pages
9. Multiply with dice-in-dice
Something about dice-in-dice just makes learning more fun! If you don’t have a set, you can use a pair of regular dice for this activity. Mix things up with polyhedral dice with higher numbers too.
Learn more: Life Over Cs
10. Pick sticks to play Kaboom!
So easy, and so fun! Write multiplication facts at the end of a variety of wood craft sticks. On a few, write Kaboom! instead. To play, kids draw sticks from a cup and answer the problem. If they get it right, they can keep pulling sticks. But if they get a Kaboom! stick, they have to put their whole collection back!
Learn more: Teaching With Jillian Starr/Kaboom!
11. Match Multiplication Memory cards
Practice facts with a memory game. Make your own cards by writing facts and answers, then lay them all face down. Turn over a card and try to find its matching answer or problem. Your turn continues as long as you’re able to make matches.
Learn more: This Reading Mama/Multiplication Memory
12. Find it first
Write a series of products on the whiteboard, and mix in a few random numbers too. Send two students up to the board and call out a multiplication problem. The first one to find and point to the correct answer wins a point.
Learn more: Who’s Who and Who’s New
13. Draw Waldorf multiplication flowers
This is a creative way to teach multiplication facts. Draw a flower with 12 petals and a circle in the center. In the circle, write the multiplicand; on the petals, the numbers one to twelve. Now, draw larger petals outside, and fill in the product of each fact. Add some color to make fun classroom decorations!
Learn more: Multicultural Motherhood
14. Play multiplication war
All you need for this is a deck of cards, plus a paper and pencil for each player. Split the deck between the players. Each player flips two cards, then writes out the multiplication sentence and the answer. The player with the higher product takes all the cards. Play until the deck is gone. The player with the most cards wins!
Learn more: Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
15. Compete at multiplication bingo
Grab these free printable bingo cards at the link and provide one to each student along with some chips or beans to use as counters. Call out multiplication facts and have students cover the answers if they have them. When they get 5 in a row, it’s a Bingo!
Learn more: Confessions of Parenthood
16. Put a twist on rock-paper-scissors
Chances are your students already know how to player rock-paper-scissors. This is similar, but instead, each player holds out a random number of fingers. The first one to correctly multiply them together and call out the answer wins a point. Play to 5, 10, or any number you choose.
17. Do some egg carton multiplication
Number the cups of an egg carton, 1 to 12. Drop in two marbles or beans, then close the carton and shake it up. Open it up and have students write out the multiplication number sentence based on where the marbles landed. This is an easy tool parents can make for kids at home, too.
18. Try interactive flashcards
These aren’t your ordinary flashcards! These free printables are a cool way to teach multiplication since the answer side includes a dot array to help kids visualize the solution. You can use sticky note flags to cover the answers while kids use the arrays for help, too.
Learn more: Research Parent
19. Teach multiplication facts with a paper plate wheel
All it takes is paper plates, glue, and a marker to help your students learn their multiplication tables. Let kids have fun decorating their plates, and this doubles as a math craft!
Learn more: Creative Family Fun
20. Practice with fact family triangles
Tie together multiplication and division facts with triangle flashcards. Learn how to use them and buy a printable set at the link. You can also have kids make their own.
Learn more: Primary Flourish
21. Make LEGO brick arrays
LEGO bricks are one of our favorite ways to teach math! You can use multiple bricks to make arrays or just look at the bumps on the top of a single brick as an array in itself.
Learn more: Math Geek Mama/Lego Multiplication
22. Try the finger trick
This cute craft also teaches kids a clever multiplication trick that can help them if they’re stuck with multiplication “times nine.” Learn the easy trick at the link.
Learn more: Create a Learning Environment/Finger Trick
23. Use the force to teach multiplication
Sometimes learning multiplication facts just takes practice. Worksheets may not be very exciting, but adding a theme that kids are interested in may motivate your students. This free download from Royal Baloo features homework sheets and practice papers with graphs, mazes puzzles, and more, all with a Star Wars theme.
24. Watch a multiplication video
From Schoolhouse Rock to Animaniacs and beyond, there are lots of fun videos to help you teach multiplication. Find our big list here.
25. Play multiplication checkers
Turn a thrift store checkerboard into a multiplication game with some stickers and a marker. The play is similar to traditional checkers, but you have to solve the problem before you can leave your checker on a new space.
Learn more: Teach Beside Me
26. Toss a multiplication soccer ball
Write random numbers in the white spots on a soccer ball. Toss the ball to a student and have them look at the numbers closest to their thumbs. Multiply the two numbers together and say the answer out loud.
27. Flip bottle caps
Here’s a cool alternative to flashcards. You can use metal bottle caps or plastic bottle lids, along with round stickers that fit the caps. It’s a great way to go green while you teach multiplication!
Learn more: Croft’s Classroom
28. Batter up to learn multiplication
Sports-loving kids will love this one! Get the free printables at the link, and use them along with a 10-sided die to get some multiplication facts practice.
Learn more: Line Upon Line Learning
29. Line up dominoes
Single dominoes turned sideways become multiplication number sentences! Grab a handful and have kids write out the sentences and their answers.
30. Roll to win
This works a bit like Yahtzee. Roll a die, then choose a number 1 to 6 to multiply it by. Each number can only be used once, so choose carefully to rack up the most points. If you have polyhedral dice, you can play with higher numbers too.
Learn more: What Do We Do All Day
31. Sculpt play dough arrays
What kid doesn’t love the chance to play with play dough? Use this activity for math centers, and kids will really enjoy practicing their multiplication facts.
Learn more: Miss Giraffe’s Class
32. Connect the dots with Multiplication Squares
This is a math spin on the old Dots and Boxes game. Kids roll two dice and multiply the numbers together. Then they find the answer on the board and connect two dots next to it. The goal is to complete a box, coloring it in with your own color marker. When the board is full, count the squares to see who wins.
33. Cut out and assemble array cities
Here’s another colorful math craft: multiplication array cities! Most high-rises have their windows arranged to make perfect arrays. Have kids make their own city skylines with buildings showing various multiplication arrays.
Learn more: Bright Concepts 4 Teachers
34. Stack math power towers
There’s a universal appeal about making stacks of cups, so don’t be surprised if kids clamor to play this game over and over again. Pull a cup, answer correctly, and stack. See who can get a stack of 10 first, or who can build the highest tower in 2 minutes, and so on.
Learn more: Fabulous in Fifth
35. Change your students’ names (temporarily)
Grab some name tags and write multiplication equations on each. Give a tag to each of your students. For the remainder of the day, everyone will refer to each other by the answer to the equation on their tag (e.g., the student with the name tag that says 7×6 would be referred to as “42”).
Learn more: Mr. Elementary Math
36. Take multiplication to the gridiron
All you need is poster board, 12-sided dice, and a couple of game pieces. Students move their game piece up the field by rolling the dice and multiplying the two numbers that face up. They get four chances to score a touchdown.
37. Roll and Bump!
Print the free game boards, each with a multiplier in the heading. Roll two die, add them together, then multiply by the multiplier. Then place your game piece over that answer. If another player also comes up with the same product, they can “bump” your game piece off and replace it with their own. The player with the most markers on the board at the end of the game wins.
Learn more: This Reading Mama/Multiplication Bump
38. Weave multiplication patterns
Skip counting provides an introduction to multiplication. We love this hands-on activity, where kids skip count and weave yarn into pretty patterns.
Learn: Lemon Lime Adventures
39. Challenge yourself with Multiplication Jenga
Grab an old Jenga game at the thrift store (or pick up the generic version at the dollar store). Write multiplication problems on each block, then stack ’em up. Player one pulls a block and tries to answer the problem. If they get it right, they keep the block. If they miss, their partner gets a chance. But if no one can answer it, the block gets stacked up on top. Keep playing until the tower collapses!
Learn more: Multiplication.com
40. Twist and learn
Your students will love this twisted version of an old favorite! The original Math Twister was designed for addition, but it works for multiplication too. Simply write products on sticky notes and add them to circles. Then call out math problems like “Left foot, 4 x 5!” The player must put their left foot on the number 20—if they can!
Source: Math Geek Mama/Twister
Looking for more? Try these Teacher-Tested Tips and Activities for Teaching the Area Model Multiplication Method.