Multiplication concepts through play – Multiplication Islands

All my kids learned reading through engaging activities and play, when they were very young, and they cant stop thanking me for giving them the gift of reading. Taking kids natural curiously and love for play into consideration, it is not difficult to realize that math would be not different if presented in engaging, positive and naturally appealing fashion.

Today we played Multiplication game with two of my kids ages 6 and 5 ( just turned 5 ), who never multiplied before. At the end of the game they very pretty confident with 2 and 3 multiplication facts, they understood principle behind multiplication and they were excited about a few math discoveries along the way.

We wanted to share with you our Multiplication Islands Game.

There was an imaginary math ocean. A number of Islands were formed in a distant corner of the ocean around the resident Volcano. Islands had all diferent shapes and sizes.

We recently learned about volcanic activity in Pacific and how islands are formed, so kids were all excited to discover new islands that “just appeared on the map”

Here is our play field

Multiplication Island 00


You will need 3 sets of cards.

Multiplication Island 6

First set will be cards with numbers that kids will be multiplying (one for each Island), you will hold it like a fan and let your child to pick any number.


Multiplication Island 1


Second set are the “answer cards” or “tickets” — we just put them numbers up along one of the sides of the play field. You will need a card with an answer to every equation.

Multiplication Island 2


And here is the 3rd set of cards. These were “action cards”. they were telling the player what he or she needed to do with the number she picked. Since we were doing just 2 and 3 times multiplication, we only needed 2 cards for that, but just to make it more exciting for choice making we had two of each cards, like this

Multiplication Island 3

.We also had Bears and Dinosaurs, who kids used to make the game fun.

They would take turns pulling one of the number cards and one “action” card. They will chose one of the dinosaurs going for an adventure. Then they will look for an Island they need to go to….

When they will get to an Island, they will build a house for a dinosaur using the blocks symbolizing their equation.

Multiplication Island 9

That will help them to figure out the answer.

Multiplication Island 4

But even when the house is built, they needed to get a key to get their bear or a dinosaur inside, and the key will be a number — the answer to an equation.

Multiplication Island 7

It helped them to figure out all the 2 and 3 multiplication problems on their own, but also helped them to correspond correct written numbers with the quantities.

Multiplication Island 5

All those bears needed the keys to their newly built Island Villas :-)…  Having the visual answers to all multiplication equations is also a good multiplication memorization aid.

And that is where they are getting them

Multiplication Island 11

Sometimes we play math for just a few minutes, other days, we have longer math play times, today’s game was too fun to stop. Kids were making funny stories to go with each Island and each traveling creature. There were mommies, babies, families, friends, you name it!

Multiplication Island 8


And when all the Islands got populated, kids asked if we can play it again tomorrow. Try it!