Finger multiplication 

The use of finger multiplication has been widespread through the years. It is not the traditional way of doing multiplication in school today.

However, if your kid has trouble remembering the whole multiplication table, multiplication with fingers is a good alternative!

To multiply with fingers, you are only required to remember the multiplication table up to 5 × 5. After that, all multiplication can be performed with your fingers.

Here is the technique

  • The two numbers to be multiplied are each represented on a different hand
  • Each hand may have some raised fingers and some closed fingers at the same time
  • Number of fingers to raise = Factor − 5. Remember that a factor is a number in a multiplication problem
  • The sum of the raised fingers is the number of tens
  • The product of the closed fingers is the number of ones

A few examples showing how to do finger multiplication

Example #1:


7 × 8

For 7, use your left hand and raise 2 fingers (Factor − 5 = 7 − 5 = 2) .
This means there are 3 closed fingers


For 8, use your right hand and raise 3 fingers.
This means that there are 2 closed fingers


Sum of raised fingers = 2 + 3 = 5. This means we have 5 tens or 50


Product of closed fingers = 3 × 2 = 6.
This means that we have 6 ones


50 + 6 = 56


Example #2:


9 × 6

For 9, use your right hand and raise 4 fingers.
This means there is 1 closed finger


For 6, use your left hand and raise 1 finger.
This means that there are 4 closed fingers


Sum of raised fingers = 4 + 1 = 5. This means we have 5 tens or 50


Product of closed fingers = 1 × 4 = 4.
This means that we have 4 ones


50 + 4 = 54


Example #3:


8 × 5

For 8, use your left hand and raise 3 fingers.
This means there are 2 closed fingers


For 5, use your left hand and raise no finger.
This means that there are 5 closed fingers


Sum of raised fingers = 3 + 0 = 3.
This means we have 3 tens or 30


Product of closed fingers = 2 × 5 = 10.
This means that we have 10 ones or 1 ten or 10


30 + 10 = 40

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