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Multiplication Circles

Multiplication Circles are a tool used to create a visual representation of the pattern created when you multiply numbers by the same factor. Often times you might find them made on paper, with chalk, or on a wood board.

While it is not developmentally appropriate to teach multiplication to young children, they can still do these patterns, because they are simple and can be done in a modified format! You can use them as skip counting, counting sets, or multiplying fact families.

The basic idea is that you start with a 10 point circle and connect the dots around the circle for the last digit of each product of a multiplication problem. Example: Counting by 3’s would connect these numbers 3,6,9,2,5,8,1,4,7,0 {3,6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27,30) you can keep going and children will start to notice that the pattern just repeats itself.

What You Need to Make Multiplication Circles

Embroidery Circles

Small Nails

Thin Yarn or String

How to Make Multiplication Circles

The most difficult part about creating multiplication circles is dividing your circle by 10 equal parts. The easiest way we found to do this was to make marks with a marker at 12 and 6 o’clock. Then we evenly placed 4 marks between each of those lines.

After you have all your marks made. Use tiny nails to hammer in your posts. Be careful not to split the wood.

Choose any string or yarn to tie to the top peg (this will be “zero”). Now you are ready to multiply or skip count.

How to Use Your Multiplication Circles

Starting at zero, count forward the number of spaces you are multiplying by. In this example we multiplied by 4.

Count forward 4 spaces and wrap your yard around the nail.

Count 4 more spaces and wrap your yarn around the next nail. {repeat until you are back to the beginning.

This can be done with any age child. Younger children can simply count 1,2,3,4. Slightly older children can count 4, 8, 12, 16, 20…

Finally, older children can multiply… 1×4=4, 2×4=8, 3×4=12, 3×4=16, etc. Remember, you are wrapping your yarn around the last digit.

Once your children get the hang of it, they might even like to create art pieces using what they have learned. Like this piece of art that was done using X1, X2, and X3 on the same loop.

Warning! These can be habit forming!

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