Sunday 21 April 2013

Dino Multiplications!

Now I have been scratching my head on how I am going to teach Honi multiplications.  I know she is ready for it and I have a few ideas and I think it is going to take trying several fun tactile methods to keep it fun enough for her to learn.  So here is my first idea...

To play Dinosaur Multiplications you will need:

  • An A2 size piece of paper
  • A pencil
  • A pen
  • Colouring pens (optional)
  • 12 counters (we used buttons)
  • A stack of cards with multiplications on.  We used index cards and used these multiplications (any with an answer 70 or less)...

What to do:
First draw a snake like dinosaur like this...

Photo: Making maths fun on a Sunday morning!

Then write in all the numbers and colour it in whatever way you like.

This was Honi's version...

How to play: pick the top card up and read out the multiplication. Say it is 3x4explain that is 3 lots of 4 so you will need 3 counters as there are 3 lots.Count four put your counter on the 4 square then explain this is one lot of 4or 1x4. Count on four more, you land on number 8, put a second counter on number eight - point out that there are now 2 counters on your dinosaur,explain that there are 2 lots of 4 now and 2x4=8. Finally count on 4more and with your third count, the last of them, you will land on 12. Put the last counter on the 12. Point out that there are now 3 counters on your dinosaur and that is because there are 3 lots of 4, say that this is said as3x4 in maths and 3x4=12.
If your child is good at multiplication and you want to introduce division you can also explain if you have 12 of something and divide it by 4 you will have 3, the three counters.
It doesn't matter if the child does get it at first, all that matters is that it is fun. If your child wants to pick another card and do it again, repeat the steps from above with the new multiplication. Do this for as long as the child is happy too. 
When you've been playing this for a while you might want to make it a 2-4 player game. Each player should take it in turn to have a go. If you get it right you win a small dinosaur toy. Have 10 dinosaurs and the one with the most toy dinosaurs at the end is the winner! If you have no dinosaurs maybe use stickers, perhaps stars but it can be anything you like.

Other things you can try is adding on.  You could roll a die (say you roll a 4) and then count along the dinosaur and then roll again (say you roll a 2) and count on the number on the die.  Talk about how the first number plus the new number rolled on the dice adds up too (so in this case 4+2=6).  You could do this all the way to the end of the snake or even play two players and see who gets to the end first.
Things that we learn from this:
·Writing numbers
·What multiplication is
If you liked this you might like my other maths resources that you can find here.


  1. You do such brilliant stuff Lisa! The sad thing is - these are all the kinds of activities I used to do in the little village school where I taught all those years ago to make learning fun and happy for the kids instead of learning in boring rote ways - it was such a nice time. No time for 'nice' nowadays! :( Your site is such a great resource for HEors - well done! xx

    1. Thank you so much for saying, that means a lot coming from you Ross. It is sad that teachers are pushed so much more towards ticking boxes and paperwork these days, hoorah for Home Education indeed! I do love to share my ideas and it's so nice when I hear such positive feedback. x

  2. Thank you Lisa - Love it!!! Lots of A2 pads on order, as there were so cheap ( thank you for that!). So as soon as they come we will make him and use him for lots of maths things :D xx

    1. Brilliant! So pleased you liked this idea Sue. Honi is looking forawrd to getting him out tomorrow I have a feeling he will be well used in our house :)

  3. This is great Lisa. Thanks for this. I agree with Ross - I was (until very recently) a primary school teacher and there is just no time or inclination to do things like this in school. It's such a shame because learning should be fun. This is a great visual way to help children understand what multiplication means rather than just being able to rattle off times tables. I'm definitely going to try this with Jasper! Thanks again

    1. That is sad, I do feel blessed that we HE :) I'm pleased to hear you find this one a useful resource, it's a lot of fun to make and play so enjoy! :)