Learning multiplication often begins in Kindergarten and First Grade. While children in these classes aren't likely to be working out multiplication problems, they do start learning an important skill that builds up to later problem-solving. It's called skip counting.
Skip counting drills are a helpful way to learn multiplication tables. Instead of counting by ones, you count by multiples (such as twos, threes, fours, fives, etc...).
This activity will lead into the next natural step of memorizing the multiplication tables. For example, counting by twos:
2,4, 6, 8, 10
naturally progresses to:
Our son didn't begin solving multiplication problems until 3rd Grade. Earlier grades touched on it a little bit, but we never went into memorizing multiplication facts.
He has done pretty well learning his facts from 0 to 12 and I'd like to think that's partly due to the time we spent skip counting.
Counting by twos, fives, and tens can be done easily with common items. You can count the eggs in an egg carton by twos. Count fingers and toes by fives or count the entire family's digits by tens.
Other numbers can be a bit harder to come up with everyday items to count. You might find the worksheets below helpful for counting those numbers.
Click on the thumbnails below for skip counting activities and worksheets for that set of numbers.
If you feel that your child is ready to move on to more difficult multiplication problems, try the pages below.
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I've put together a list of educational resources that include links to more free work sheets, workbooks, home school curriculums, teacher resources, and learning toys.