Some of you will read this and want to close the page as it doesn't sound very interesting and you may or may not have already tried times table learning. Please don't close the page, please take the time to read what I say, it will really help your child.

When I mention times tables I know people can experience a whole range of emotions. Some people love them and get quite excited when this subject is brought up because it's one place they can shine at maths. Other people, however, start to feel absolute dread and fear when times tables are brought up because of the pressure they feel at needing to come up with answers straight away. Then there are the teachers who all have their own opinions on times tables and where they fit within maths teaching!

Back in the day, when I taught full time, I did teach times tables but I taught them as a sequence of numbers rather than a list of multiplications. The reason behind this is I feel very strongly that students gain much more confidence within maths and therefore improve their ability when they have a very good number agility. If they can play with numbers then they have the number knowledge to build on when learning new concepts.

In all my years of teaching maths I found that the children that found maths difficult were the ones that were really unsure of their number skills. The problem they have then is that when learning a new concept they are so busy trying to do the simple number manipulations that they are unable to keep up with learning how the new concept works. When tutoring these children I would initially focus on their number skills and it was amazing to watch them grow in confidence and ability.

So, back to the number sequences, if your child can mentally count in 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's etc. then they have the ability to work almost anything out.

When teaching these number sequences I would ask the child to work out the sequence with me and write it out on the white board or piece of paper etc.

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24

Then we would play games that involved reciting the sequence of numbers. I would always do this with the correct sequence in front of the child. This is so they learnt the correct sequence. It takes the pressure off the child and their ability while they are learning and it means the correct pattern is absorbed by the brain. If they are constantly reciting a sequence incorrectly then it will take much longer to learn.

Once the sequence was learnt then we would play with those numbers and look at the patterns that happen as we go through the sequence and really learn about how this sequence works and then take the sequence further mentally. For example when looking at counting in 7's we would break up how the addition is done. Most times instead of adding 7 we would then add two numbers: 7 to 14 we would do the sum 7 + 3 + 4 = 14, then to 21 we would do 14 + 6 + 1 etc. to really look at how those numbers work. When looking at counting in 3's we would look at how the number sequence repeats itself 3, 6, 9 ........33, 36, 39.

For those people that do like to have the times tables known we would link it back. I would encourage the child to use their fingers and for every number they said in the sequence put another finger up. For example if I wanted the child to tell me 4 x 5 I would ask them to count in 5's and for each number hold a finger up so when 4 fingers were up they knew they had the answer to 4 x 5.

There you have the gist of how I teach times tables and some of my reasons for this method. Below I have listed some games and activities to do to help learn the sequences and below that I have differentiated for each group as normal.

Please, have a go. This is great for number confidence for weaker mathematicians and also a fab activity for extending the knowledge and understanding for those stronger mathematicians. I guarantee your child will have better number knowledge if you start learning a new number sequence each week and spend 5/ 10 minutes each day playing with it.

Enjoy!!

**Throwing a ball**

Play catch with your child and as you throw the ball say the first number in the sequence and then your child will say the next number when he / she throws it back (have the sequence written somewhere you both can see it - mirror, window)

**Marching**

March around a space and every time you put a foot down say the next number in the sequence (you could get your child to do this on their own but it's much more fun to both do it)(have the sequence written somewhere you both can see it)

**Marching up and down the stairs**

Like just marching but up and down the stairs and when you step on a new step you say the next number in the sequence.(have the sequence written somewhere you both can see it)

Hand tapping

Hand tapping

Tap hands on a table or another surface that makes a noise and every time you tap say a number in the sequence.(have the sequence written somewhere you both can see it)

**Writing**

Get your child to write the sequence on something they are not normally allowed to write on. For example: a white board (with a white board pen), a mirror (with a whiteboard pen), a glass table top if you have one or anything else that can be written on and cleaned off but gives a feeling of fun and excitement while doing it.

**Saying numbers in a funny way**

Encourage your child to say the sequence in different voices. You could say the first number in a loud voice and child has to copy with the next number. Then you could use a quiet voice, a squeaky voice, low pitched voice, growly voice.........

**Talking to a teddy (or any other stuffed animal)**

Ask your child to teach teddy a particular sequence. Or you could just get child to count with teddy - to make this even more fun you could join in too.

**Pre-school**

The best number sequences to work on with these little people are:

Basic counting up as far as you can go

Counting backwards from 10 and then maybe 20

Counting in 2's to 20

Counting in 10's to 100

**5, 6 and 7 year olds**

Counting forwards - always worth practicing

Counting backwards - from any number below 100

Counting in 2's - as far as they can

Counting in 2's - but odd numbers

Counting in 5's - can they get to 50 or 100?

Counting in 10's - how far can they get?

Counting in 3's - up to 36 initially

Counting in 4's - up to 48 initially

**7, 8 and 9 year olds**

Counting forwards - always worth practicing

Counting backwards - from any number below 300

Counting in 2's - as far as they can

Counting in 2's - but odd numbers

Counting in 5's - can they get beyond 100?

Counting in 10's - how far can they get?

Counting in 3's - up to 36 initially

Counting in 4's - up to 48 initially

Counting in 6's - up to 72 initially

Counting in 7's - up to 84 initially

Counting in 8's - up to 96 initially

Counting in 9's - up to 108 initially

Counting in 11's - up to 132 initially

Counting in 12's - up to 144 initially

**9, 10 and 11 year olds**

Counting forwards - always worth practicing

Counting backwards - from any number

Counting in 2's - as far as they can

Counting in 2's - but odd numbers

Counting in 5's - can they get beyond 100?

Counting in 10's - how far can they get?

Counting in 3's - how far can they get?

Counting in 4's - how far can they get?

Counting in 6's - how far can they get?

Counting in 7's - how far can they get?

Counting in 8's - how far can they get?

Counting in 9's - how far can they get?

Counting in 11's - how far can they get?

Counting in 12's - how far can they get?

Can they start counting in any of the numbers above but starting from a different starting number eg. count in 6's starting on 2.

Counting in 13's

Counting in 15's

Counting in 25's

Counting in square numbers

Counting in triangular numbers

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