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The Easy Way to Memorize Multiplication Tables

The Secret Your Kids Need You to Know About Their Math
Photo Courtesy of Poppies & Posies Photography, Lehi UT

Each week, three of my children bring home something from school that they are to memorize by Friday. We get the obvious sight words and spelling lists. Then, as they get older, they work into vocabulary and poetry.  That being said, the Mount Everest of elementary school memorization at our house, is multiplication tables.

What it is about memorizing multiplication tables that make my kids throw their pencil across the room and shout, “I hate math?” It is because, unlike spelling or vocabulary, numbers don’t create pictures for us.  Multiplication tables are strings of seemingly random numbers that our children are expected to not only remember, but keep in order and in context with the numbers they are multiplying by.

I have seen a lot of kids quickly pass off their 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. These tables have an obvious pattern and are much easier to learn.  Then there is a serious slow down as kids hit the 3’s, 4’s, and 6’s. By the time they get to the 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s they’ve decided that multiplication is way too hard, and math isn’t their thing.

Fortunately for me, a wonderful 3rd grade teacher gave us the solution. It helped that he was male, and my 8-year-old daughter had a major crush on him. She ate up every word that man said, so when he taught her to skip count to some familiar tunes she came home singing her math just for fun.

Simple trick for memorizing mupliplication tables - The best math hack you might have missed.


What is Skip Counting?

Skip counting is counting at intervals of whichever number you choose. For example, if I was to skip count by 7 I would count, 7, 14, 21… and so on. Using this method you can do single digit multiplication with ease. Say the teacher asks you to multiply 4 x 7 = __. You simply skip count 7’s, 4 times, 7, 14, 21, 28. The answer to 4 x 7 = 28.

That still leaves the problem of memorizing a string of numbers, and here’s where the magic is. Teach children to skip count to the tune of a simple song. Have you ever wondered why children can learn the lyrics to songs so easily? It is because music can be used as a Mnemonic device, that is a strategy to assist with memorization. If you can associate the numbers with the sounds in a song, the children will not only learn them faster, but retain them much longer than they would memorizing them exclusively through repetition.

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Super easy trick for learning multiplication tables. You'll want to pin this.

While there are several options out there for skip counting songs, my favorite are the skip counting songs to familiar children’s tunes.  That way your child doesn’t have to worry about learning a tune, and can focus immediately on the numbers.  My 8-year-old daughter was asked to learn her 8’s this week. After singing the song just 4 times she was already starting to skip count by herself and complete her homework on her own. I absolutely love it when my kids do homework on their own!!

So I’m sharing my secret, the one that will save you and your children many frustrating hours of memorization math homework. Here are the skip counting videos to music your kids already know. May your children become multiplication masters very soon!!

*Printable sheet music now available for home use or to copy and send home with students.  **Videos Now Available for Download Ad FREE.

 Print your FREE SAMPLE sheet here.

Photo Credit for the Head Photo goes to Poppies & Posies Photography!  Check them out.  They’re amazing!!

48 Responses

  1. Math terrifies me, I was horrible at it as a kid and am no better as an adult. Lucky for me, my husband is awesome at math, so he will be able to coach our kids along. Maybe tools like this would have helped me when I was younger, because I struggled big time!

      1. I just saw this on pinterest, went through the songs on youtube with my kids and also shared the idea with a few other moms! AWESOME tip- THANK YOU! I’m curious if you have or ever considered making mp3 songs for them? I don’t let my kids go on youtube alone but they have simple mp3 players that I’ve loaded up with safe music and audio books. This would be the next thing I’m loading up! And if you haven’t, do you have any recommendations or know of other educators that have them?

        1. Great question! That is actually in the works, and we hope to have a download of audio files available soon. We are also working on a new set of awesome educational songs you will want to add to that playlist, so stay tuned.

  2. I was always a real talent when it comes to math, so I hope my daughter will pick up that from me. She is still too little to tell, but I will definitely save this for later, really helpful 🙂

  3. Multiplying by nines (at least up to 10) is extremely simple. You can count it on your hands. Just hold both hands up in front of you, where your left pinky is 1 and your right pinky is 10. Then whatever you want to multiply by, put that finger down. So if you want to multiply by 3, you’d put your left middle finger (or the third finger from the left) down. On the left side of the space are 2 fingers and on the right side are 7. 9×3=27 This works for every finger, up to ten.

      1. Clever. I use a pattern myself- a little more complicated, however I learned them about 70 years ago and do not really need these other methods. As a teacher of many decades ago, however I recognize that all children and people do not learn in the same way and an alternative method may be just what some need.

  4. Love the songs! Do you happen to have a printout of each song? I’d love to show the videos along with having the printout for students to take home.

  5. This is really awesome. This will save me making charts and sticking them on doors,cupboards and places where my second grader can see and learn. I am sure this will be fun too. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I wish I had found this website 5 hours ago! We tried every trick and tip I knew of and even the ones I had never heard of. Then I stumbled across your pin and praise the lord. My daughter learned your song quickly and mastered her flash cards in under 25sec. Thank you so much!

  7. We sing the alphabet to remember it. When I taught our 3 kid the Multiplication tables I wrote all the tables on paper and had the kids cross off all the ones that they knew; (the easy ones). After they eliminated all the easy ones; I also eliminated the ones that cold be recited either way like 3×7 & 7×3. After I did that there were very few tables left to remember. Those few that were left… I told my kids to make a song for each of those to remember them. Like sing 6×8 = 48. Kids are good at making up songs! It only took about a week and they had Aced it!

    1. Love it! Songs are such an amazing way to memorize things, and I appreciate that we use them so much with little kids. I wish we could use them more often in the upper grades too. My daughter’s 6th grade science teacher did that last year, and it was awesome!

  8. We used the schoolhouse rock songs to help our son memorize his multiplication tables. Same concept, just different songs. I’ll have to listen to these and compare them. Thanks.

    1. Those sound fun too. I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but they seem to have some great songs. One of my favorite things about these songs is that all of the kids already know the tunes. It’s a simple matter of putting the number sequences to them, and they’re done. I love that we have so many great options for learning. Very cool!

  9. I love the videos you made! I was wondering if you could email me the videos so I can create a DVD with them for my class.

  10. You are handicapping your children. I teach middle school math and when they have to skip count before being able to get every answer it just slows them way down. Turn the facts into a game and they will be better prepared for Alg I and on up. It is the same as letting kids count on three hands. Many of my slowest students use their hand while they skip count. It is a bad method.

    1. Hi Jeanette,

      I have wondered if it would affect their speed, because they are going through the sequence to get to the answer. I think it did have a small impact for the first year or possibly two. However, with 2 kids three and five years out from learning the songs, they are doing fantastic in math. They do not have to skip count the sequence out anymore. They haven’t for years. The multiplication tables are all committed to memory now, and it happened very naturally.

      I can’t say that it would work like that for everyone, because I simply don’t know that. I do know that it has been an amazing help to my children in their math journey.

      Thank you for stopping by and taking time to share your concerns.

      Amy N.

  11. Do you have the sheets posted anywhere that are in the videos? Would love to post those in my classroom. I saw the sheet music, but was just looking for the numbers & song printed that you show in the video. Thank you!

  12. Our third grade teachers teach these songs and the kids sing them every day. we still hear our fifth grade students using them!

  13. I use these songs all the time with my class but recently they stopped playing. Is this a problem on my end? I click on the play button and the video disappears.

    1. Hi Katie,

      You might need to clear your browsing history for a “fresh” view.
      We’ve double checked and the links appear to be working correctly on Youtube.

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