# How to Explain Multiplication to a Child

Here are 4 great ways to explain multiplication to a child. This can be made simple and fun by using examples the child can relate to such as visuals and hands-on activities.

If the child already knows addition, explain that 4 × 5 is like adding 5 four times:

5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 20

Then, say that multiplication is a quicker way to do repeated addition.

Activity: Create a chart showing repeated addition and the multiplication version side by side.

### Use arrays to explain multiplication

Say to the child that multiplication is like arranging objects in rows and columns.

Draw a rectangle made of dots with 2 rows and 3 columns.

Count the total number of dots to show that 2 rows of 3 dots equal 6 dots.

Then, tell the child that this represents 2 × 3 = 6

Activity: Create more arrays by using a graph paper or LEGO bricks.

### Make groups of objects to explain multiplication

If you have 3 groups of 4 pencils each, you can add 4 three times: 4 + 4 + 4 = 12.

Use 12 pencils to draw 3 groups with 4 pencils in each group, and then show how you can count all the pencils together to get 12.

You could also say to the child that 3 groups of 4 means the same thing as 3 × 4.

Activity: Allow the child to make groups of objects and count them. For example, “Let’s make 4 groups of 3 blocks and see how many blocks we have in total.”

“Let’s make 5 groups of 6 marbles and see how many marbles we have in total.”

## Use skip counting to explain multiplication

Skip count by 2s: 2, 4, 6, 8. Explain that this is the same as multiplying 2 by the number of times you skip (2 × 4 = 10).

Skip count by 3s: 3, 6, 9. Explain that this is the same as multiplying 3 by the number of times you skip (3 × 3 = 9).

Skip count by 5s: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30. Explain that this is the same as multiplying 5 by the number of times you skip (5 × 6 = 30).

Activity: Practice skip counting with the child using a number line or your fingers.

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