I have vivid memories of sitting in school, reciting times tables over and over again. We would do this regularly until everyone, or almost everyone, had grasped them. It seemed like such a waste of time. Of course, rote learning does work for some children, but a more greatly varied approach is needed for others. Here are five fun times tables games to play that are perfect for use with elementary/ primary school age students… and there’s not a hint of rote learning in sight!
For even more times tables games, be sure to check out our Multiplication Games Printable Pack.
5 Fun Times Tables Games
Who doesn’t like engaging in a game of Bingo? Especially exciting when there is a prize on offer at the end. Bubbles, a pencil or even a sticker all make the game worth playing. Instead of calling out the numbers, use times tables questions instead.
We make times tables bingo super simple with these printable Time Table Bingo boards. Print and play!
Bingo works well with large groups of pupils, however, for pairs or smaller groups, you can easily focus on the times tables they need to consolidate.
Be sure to include related division facts as well, as these are often neglected, meaning that recall isn’t as quick as it could be. If you wish to push your pupils, vary the language you use and don’t forget to include square numbers and square roots too.
2. Rock, Paper, Times Tables
This was one of my Year 6 maths class’ favourite activities: the Rock, Paper, Times Tables championship.
Two pupils would be picked to go head to head. Just like rock, paper, scissors except on the third lowering of your fist, you reveal a number with your fingers. For example, one player may hold up 7 fingers and the other may hold up 2. The calculation that needs to be solved is 7 x 2. The first player to get the correct answer remains on their chair and faces another opponent.
This game works best if the children have had sufficient opportunities to practise in advance, so working in pairs for a few minutes each day can be fun. Alternatively, if it is an adult working with a child and you are aware that they need to work on their 6x, 7x and 9x tables, you can restrict the game to those multiplication tables by only holding up fingers representing those numbers.
3. Playing Cards
Remove all of the picture cards from a pack of playing cards and deal the remaining cards equally between two children. They should each turn over a card simultaneously and place it facing upward. Using the two revealed numbers, the children should mentally multiply them and say the answer as quickly as possible. The child who says the correct answer first, can keep the two cards and add then to the bottom of their pile.
Alternatively, if you would rather not endure the volume of many pairs of children shouting out two-digit numbers around the classroom, they could be encouraged to write down their answers on a mini whiteboard. If you have any groups of three rather than pairs, the third person could have a multiplication square in front of them, ready to check the answers given and adjudicate who got it correct first.
Want more math games using just a deck of cards? Check out this big list of Math Card Games.
4. Number Run
This game works best with small groups, not the whole class, as it might result in chaos! However, it is so much fun and can be incorporated into PE lessons if you take a circuit-style, station based approach. Prior to play, display numbers around the classroom or playground, which are the answers to specific times tables questions. When you call out a times table question students must run to the correct number as quickly as they can.
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5. Pick and Colour
Have two sets of 1-10 cards prepared. Each set should be a different colour to prevent them getting muddled up. Provide each child with a hundred grid. Choose a child to pick one card from each number card set, e.g. a 5 and a 7. All children within that group/pair should work out the product, find it on their hundred grid and colour it in. Continue this by taking turns to choose the pair of numbers to multiply.
Need a Hundreds Chart? Download this free Printable Hundreds Chart.
Tip: This also offers a fantastic opportunity to discuss prime numbers as students can look at the hundred grid to see which numbers haven’t been coloured in.