How to Teach Multiplication the Easy Way!

I didn’t think it would be so easy.  My daughter was only 5 at the time (now she’s 6).  She was loving math, so I went for it.  I started teaching her multiplication.  First, I taught her how to skip count by 10’s, then 5’s, then 2’s.  I didn’t do anything special; just repeated the numbers a few times a week with her and taught her a few songs.

how to teach multiplication

That’s when I stumbled across the best game I’ve seen to teach multiplication.  It’s called Speed.

The Easy Way is the Fun Way!

Although Speed is for older children, Audrey took to the game right away.  After a few months she has mastered her 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and 5’s times tables up to 10 and we just did it for fun; only 15 minutes once a week!  Now we’re working on 6’s.  She’s only in first grade, but she’ll learn almost all of her basic multiplication tables by the end of the year!

I’ve talked to a lot of parents whose children are in 4th & 5th grade and struggling with math because they haven’t memorized their times tables.  This game will definitely help with that, but it will also improve your children’s mental math skills.  The quick pace of the game has them making lots of repetitive computations that will become etched in their brain.  It might even improve your math skills :)

multiplication game for kids


Speed comes with 8 decks of cards.  Each deck covers one of the times tables from 2 to 9.  So, in the 2’s deck there are only multiples of 2 up to 20 and in the 3’s deck there are only multiples of 3 up to 30 and so on.

Before we play, I will review skip counting and the times tables for that deck up to 10.  The great thing about these cards is that they have visual representations of the multiplication factor in the middle of the card, so if my daughter is struggling on a problem, she can see it visually and figure out the right answer on her own.

how to play speed mhow to play speed multiplication card gameultiplication card game

This is a 2 player game only.  To play, you simply divide the deck in half and pick up 5 cards for your hand.  The object of the game is to get rid of your pile first.  Each player takes 5 cards from their pile and puts them in their hand.  They can only have up to 5 cards in their hand at a time.

easy way to teach multiplication

Next, each player places one card from their pile in the middle of the table.  These are the cards “in play”.  Both players begin to place cards from their hands onto the cards in play.  You can only place a card down if it comes before or after the cards in play.  You can draw from your pile anytime as long as you have less than 5 cards in your hand.

If the cards in play end up being the same, the first person to call speed makes the other player pick up all the cards in the middle of the table and put them in their pile.  This helps even up the game if one child is better at skip counting than the other.

If none of the players have cards in their hand that they can play, they each place a card from their pile on top of the cards in play.  Whoever gets rid of all their cards or the with the least amount of cards after both players’ piles are gone, wins.

how to teach multiplication game


There’s more than one way to play, so you can explore numbers in other ways.  We really like addition and subtraction war.

Addition War

Like in the regular game of War, you are trying to get all the cards by having the highest card value.  But in addition war you have two piles and flip over two cards at the same time.  You must add your cards together to see if you have the highest value.  To make it more challenging you could even have three piles and add three digits.  This mental math practice makes computations a lot easier, even for adults.

Obviously subtraction war is played the same way, except you use subtraction to find the value of your cards.  The great thing about using the speed cards is that you get to see the mathematical patterns that the 2’s cards make.  Your children will start to notice that the patterns are different from the 3’s, 4’s cards etc.

For an example on how to play Speed and Addition War with the Speed Cards, please watch the video below!

Isn’t this game simple?  Yes!  It is the easy way to teach multiplication and it’s so fun!

You can get Speed in my Educational Game Store Here!

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  1. Lise says

    I’m glad your child is responding to this, but I really hope she has a firm, deep understanding of what they mean. The real power of multiplication is being able to think flexibly and decompose to work with numbers. ( ie. 6×7=6x(5+2) or 6x(6+1) etc.). As a math coach and curriculum writer I’ve seen both sides, and flexible thinkers are more successful in the long run. I commend you for the dedication to your children’s education. I hope you rub off on others!

    • says

      Thank you Lise! Yes, that is exactly what I want to give her, a deep understanding so that all those equations will come a lot easier to her when we get there.

  2. says

    I am a certified teacher who tutors since I am unable to find a teaching job. I wanted to order the Speed game for multiplication tables but was unable to since I live in Canada. I looked at Indigo and scholars choice and they dont have it either. Is there any way I can order it and have it shipped to Ontario?


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