As the creator and co-author of Times Tales, I was confident that my wacky, right-brained, mnemonic, multiplication program would work like a charm for young children. But soon after I created the program, I wondered, what is the youngest age a child could master multiplication tables with this visual learning method? The answer to this question is something that took a few years to discover.
Times Tables Mastery for the 5-Year Old
A few years into selling our multiplication program, we began to get testimonials from parents telling us their own stories about how Times Tales worked within their family. Much to our surprise, many of those testimonials contained stories of preschool age children being able to recite their upper times tables with no problem. Keep in mind, these are children that don’t yet even know the concept of multiplication, but can rattle off the answers to 8×9 or 7×6 without skipping a beat.
The testimonies of these “young multiplication experts” came about in very organic way, simply by watching the Times Tales video with their older siblings. Much to many of the moms’ sheer surprise, their young children would be shouting out the answers along with their older siblings during the Game Show Quiz part of the video.
Of course my partner (who also happens to be my sister) and I were delighted and equally surprised to hear how children as young as 5 can effortlessly memorize the upper times tables. To date, the youngest official age for a “Times Tales multiplication expert” is four years old. Although a four year old knowing the upper times tables is very rare (even for our program), we have continuously heard throughout the years of many 5 and 6 year olds that have mastered their upper times tables with our program.
What is the Benefit of a 5-Year-Old Mastering the Upper Times Tables?
While little Johnny reciting the most difficult times tables to grandma is impressive, you might be thinking there is no real benefit for a child that young to have this particular math skill. After all, if they haven’t yet learned the concept of multiplication (and how to apply it) what is the point? That would have been my initial response as well. However, a few years later, we began to hear another story from the moms of these preschool multiplication smarty-pants kids. When these same children were older and ready to learn multiplication, we heard from the moms that mastering the times tables was a breeze for them. Since the Times Tales stories are not something most children forget (even years later) these now 3rd graders had already conquered the hardest step, which is memorizing the upper times tables.
The Traditional Way of Teaching Multiplication
Another important discovery we have learned from these young test subjects is that learning multiplication doesn’t have to be a struggle, IF it’s taught in a different order. The standard way most children learn multiplication is a two-step process. First learn the concept, and then start memorizing the whole multiplication chart. But to give ALL the math facts equal billing (that fall into the memorization category) is the flaw in the current system of how the times tables are taught to children.
A Better System for Teaching Multiplication
- Step#1 Learn the Concept of Multiplication: The first step for a student to master multiplication is to learn the concept.
- Step#2 Conquer ONLY the Easy, Lower Facts First!
Most children, simply from their knowledge base of addition, can easily compute the majority of the lower math facts. The 5s and 10s usually fall into the “easy math fact” category as well. If these lower facts are focused on, right from the start, children can begin their multiplication learning process with something they can understand and are able to compute. They can jump right in with the confidence of knowing the concept and application of multiplication. Once the student is proficient in the lower, easy times tables, they can move on to the last step….the dreaded upper times tables.
Moms & Teachers Would Agree, Kids Don’t Cry Over Two Times Three!
The upper times tables are the culprits that bring fear, frustration and yes, even tears to many children. That’s because mastery of these particular math facts require pure memorization. Try adding up 7 groups of 8 in your head – most adults couldn’t do that, much less 3rd grade students.
- Step #3 – Use a Mnemonic Memory Aid to Easily Memorize the Upper Times Tables
Hands down, utilizing mnemonics is the most efficient and powerful way to memorize anything…and the times tables are no exception. When children get to this last step of mastering the upper times tables, the incorporation of mnemonics as a memorization tool makes this a quick and easy transition to complete multiplication chart mastery.
Here are some testimonial reviews from parents telling about how their 5 year olds learned the upper times tables alongside their older siblings…just by watching the Times Tales video.
Great price & Value! I bought Time Tales on the recommendation of a friend and have been pleasantly surprised at the results. My 8 year old was struggling with 6, 7, and 8 times tables and Times Tales has really helped. Even my 5 year old, who watched the DVDs with her, can tell most of the stories and is learning the times tables.
The Best Multiplication Program! Kids love the stories and the characters, they really enjoy learning Times tables with them! My 5 year old learned even faster than 7 year old.
Absolutely AMAZING! My 8 year old was having difficulty memorizing his multiplication table. In the morning all three of my boys 8,6,5 watch the videos while eating breakfast before school! My eight year old loved the videos and now understands multiplication!! Even my 5 year old yells out the answers!
Do you have a young multiplication expert? Share your story in the comments.
Free PDF Practice Printables for the 1-10 Times Tables!
Times_Tables_Chart_Drills_Printables (multiplication math facts 1-10)