Yesterday I shared our favorite math curriculum, now let me share one of our favorite supplemental math products: Times Tales. Something about trying to learn Times Tables is daunting and frustrating for both parent and child. Perhaps it is simply because there is so much to remember. Perhaps it’s because the most common way to learn the Multiplication Table is through reciting – which is great for kids who primarily learn through auditory means but is frustrating for others. Whichever the case, many kids struggle with remembering and recalling multiplication facts.
Times Tales Makes Times Tables Fun
So what is Times Tales? Times Tales is a unique approach to learning the upper times tables by Trigger Memory Systems in which a little one or two sentence “tale” is told for each multiplication pair (for sixes and above.) Each numeral is given a character, such as Mrs. Snowman for the numeral “8” because, well, it looks like a snowman. The two characters in each tale represent the multiplicand and multipier, and the number of items in the tale represent the product for each pair. It sounds simple if you’re a right brained person (and possibly confusing if you’re an analytical lefty) but it makes sense to kids and they love it.
While watching and repeating these simple tales, the kids drill the stories, and then the multiplication facts, and then taking it a step farther, practice the division facts, too! The kids enjoy it, it doesn’t FEEL like math practice, and it’s simple enough that my seven year old is picking up on it, too.
Inside the Times Tales DVD
The Times Tales DVD set comes with two discs that have everything you’re going to need. The video disc contains the teaching, practicing and quizzing of the tales, multiplication pairs and division pairs. It is divided into two halves for the kids to learn and practice half of the upper times table and then learn and practice the rest. The second DVD contains a variety of printables for further practice and quizzing.
As I mentioned, this only covers the upper times tables. That means 5’s and down are not covered. If I had any complaint at all about Times Tales, which I don’t really, it would my brain wishes there were stories for the lower numbers as well, because they’re so fun. However, the lower numbers are a bit easier to pick up on and kids don’t really seem to struggle too much, after they grasp the initial concept of multiples, until they get to the higher numbers. Once your child has grasped the lower times tables, Times Tales can be used to teach the higher numbers in a really fun and easy way.
A Closer Look at the Times Tales Printables
Pop the second disc into your computer and you’ll find a set of printables for each of the two sessions on the DVD. There are worksheets and flash cards with the character numbers, then worksheets and flash cards to practice the multiplication and division facts without the character aids.
In addition to the worksheets and quizzes you’ll also find a couple of fun activities – a crossword puzzle and a dice game. The cut-out dice are really fun!
Using Times Tales for Supplemental Multiplication Practice
Obviously, Times Tales isn’t an entire math curriculum in itself, so when do you work it in for some supplemental practice? At this point, Princess knows her facts pretty well but she’s never been very “quick on the draw” so to speak. Drama Queen knows her facts fairly well, also, but after a long school break will regress a little. When we come back from a break, or when we have one of those “I suddenly forgot all my multiplication facts” days, we pull it out. We either run through it a little bit before completing our normal math, or, depending on what kind of math day we’re having, we might only focus on the Times Tales for the day. I usually have the kids practice it together as a group so that Princess can practice her recall speed, Drama Queen can get comfortable with her facts, and Little Prince can have fun learning, too.
**I received compensation for this review but that isn’t going to sway our opinion about Times Tales. We’ve loved it ever since a friend said “You need this!” and sent it to us in the mail! A big thanks to Trigger Memory Systems who gave away a copy of Times Tales to one of my readers. Read more about my Disclosure Statement and my Review Policy. You can find Trigger Memory Systems on Facebook, Twitter and their website.