Aside from my obsession with new recipes and saving money, my whole goal in life is to trick my second-grader into thinking learning is fun. His teachers have mastered the art of deception. I … on the other hand … well, I’m working on it. Here’s the proof.
I’m not sure if I could even pass one of those elementary
school math timed tests today. Math is just something my brain processes
slowly. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown caring. Unfortunately, I still remember the
feeling of anxiety and panic that those tests brought on. I hope my sons never feel that in
Even though my oldest son is a long way from mastering
multiplication (he just finished first grade), anything I can do to simply expose him to
the concept serves the purpose of easing the intimidation that he could otherwise feel later. Out of that
desire, this game was born.
Before we played, we read If You Were a Times Sign, which is an ideal book for kids who have just
been introduced to multiplication.
Multiplication is a fast way to add the same number over
again and again.
The answer is the product.
The order of the numbers being multiplied can be reversed
and the product is the same.
Multiplication is the opposite of division.
All of these little nuggets of math knowledge were
playfully explained in Trisha Speed Shaskan’s book. It’s awesome!
Now my son was ready to practice his multiplication facts.
What You Need
2 plastic bottle-cap rings
1 square of thick Styrofoam
Wooden popsicle-like sticks (I used nine)
Number scrapbooking stickers (I used the numbers one through nine.)
Hot glue/glue gun
Push the wooden sticks into the styrofoam, evenly spacing
them. Pull each one out and add a big glob of hot glue in the hole; replace
the stick and hold in place until the glue dries and its secure. Add number
stickers at the base of each stick on the styrofoam.
How to Play
Each player tosses the bottle-cap rings one at a time at
the board, which is placed about two to three feet away. If the rings don’t land around a stick, they try again. If it encircles two sticks, the ring is removed and
Once two rings have been ensnared around the sticks, the
player records the numbers and multiplies them for their Round 1 score.
My son used a multiplication table I made (download it
The next player does the same. Who won Round 1? Play
continues for four more rounds (five total), when each players’ rounds are
The number will be high so have a calculator ready. Whoever
has the highest number wins!