I am really disappointed in the level of teaching at our school. My eldest started Year 3 knowing almost all of her times tables due to a lot of hard work over the summer holidays in 2016, by the time she finished the school year in 2017 she barely knew half of them. Times tables are one of those things that you need to keep on top of yes it’s not just up to the school but we do these and other other work at home and with tutors and I also understand the importance of them having rest and relaxation time too. Learning times tables is not just about teaching children parrot fashion. Showing children the patterns that occur can improve their ability to learn their times tables and also help them solve related maths problems and this is best done in school using visual methods to ensure a good basic understanding on which to develop.
I am at it again with the times tables but this time I am trying working with both of my daughters.
Earlier this year I was selected to be a Rainbow Toy Tester!!!! OMG I know what an amazing opportunity and I must say I was super excited. By sheer luck they contacted me and said that they wanted me to review their Times Table Tray. Honestly it couldn’t have been better timing and naturally I welcomed the assignment happily.
The Times Table Tray arrived and it was beautiful. The brightly coloured blocks which have the times tables printed on one side and the answer printed on the other look fun and inviting for children not at all intimidating as one might expect from times tables. The blocks were all in a tray in order and colour coded by times table.
The block and tray are sturdy and a draw string bag is supplied to keep the squares in. The only adaption I would make to this product is for the bag to be sealable with a cord stopper on the string so you don’t need to tie it – I’m not the best at untying knots that the kids make. This is something we will get a lot of use from and I will also be able to use when my son is a little older.
We were not given usage instructions as it’s pretty obvious how to use it. You read out the the times table question using the blocks, the child tells you the answer and they can check if they are correct by turning over the sum. It’s set up in a way that children can also test themselves easily.
Now being me and having what one might term Peter Pan Syndrome I wanted to try and make using this fabulous educational tool as fun as possible so I thought up a few games for us to play.
The first game involved taking it in turns to choose a time table, say the answer and if we got it right we would keep the square if not it would be the next persons turn. This would continue with each taking turns until no squares where left. The person with the most squares was the winner.
The second game involved placing the squares in the bag and mixing them up. Then each player takes it in turns to take a square out of the bag and ask the player to the left of them what the answer to the times table was. If they get it right they keep the square and again the player with the most wins.
These sort of games can make learning fun and can also help create a little healthy competition which can help motivate children and speed up learning. Our school has incorporated a new teaching system for maths this year and I am hoping by the end of the year between us we will have taught both my daughters most if not all of their times tables.
Do you use teaching tools / games to help your children learn their times tables?
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I had not been asked to write about this product but to simply review it for Rainbow Toys and report back – which I did. I thought this was a great product and wanted to spread the word hence the blog post.