Math Monday: Magic Multiples!

It’s time for Math Monday again! Can you stand it? This time, I’ll show you our favorite way to find multiples. All you need is some markers (we use old, stale gumdrops leftover from our Christmas Gingerbread house making…), a pair of dice, and a 99 number board.

rainbow of gumdrops.

With Fun Factors, the point was to role a number on the dice, and cover that number plus all the factors (numbers that go evenly into the number rolled) of that number on the 24 board. For this game, we roll a number and then find the multiples of that number on the 99 board. We started out playing this on the 24 board from Fun Factors, but that quickly became not as challenging so we kicked it up a notch.

multiple magic game

So, to illustrate, the day we played this game, Golfer started out rolling a 2. This meant that he covered up 2, and then 4,6,8,10, etc. etc. until he covered all the numbers when counting by 2′s. “I just covered up half the board with one roll!” he shouted. Math excitement is very contagious. Good to know when dealing with two mathphobes like Naturalist and me.

multiples of 2

From here, you just keep rolling the dice until you fill in every number. Which actually isn’t possible, because of prime numbers, so you’re left with prime numbers uncovered, which is also fun to see.

spot the prime number(s)

I love playing this game because it serves to highlight so many math concepts that get lost in the world of worksheets and memorizations. In fact, looking back, I wish I would have done this with Naturalist back when she was in 3rd grade, instead of all those worksheets she brought home for homework. With dyscalculia, number concepts are harder for her to connect to, especially when learning them out of a textbook. Counting by anything other than one leaves her in tears, so asking her to multiply or count by 3 or 7 or 8 completely shuts her down cold. Anxiety, panic and frustration, which is nothing new to an old mathphobe like me but it’s sad to see in such a little girl! But when she can actually see and create patterns, something clicks and it’s smiles and fun.

Interestingly, while Golfer is a math whiz at computation, when he fills in his chart, he counts methodically up by the number. He can answer math questions faster than either Naturalist or I can, but he fills his chart in much slower because Naturalist and I can spot the pattern the numbers create and just fill it in much faster. For instance, Naturalist figured out right away there was a pattern for 8:

multiples of 8

and 11 (it’s going diagonal, can you see it?)

finding 11 pattern

And actually, she pointed out that the multiples are exactly like the moves in chess. The 1′s are the pawns, the 2′s, 5′s and 10′s move like the castles (going back and forth), The 11′s and 9′s move like the Bishops, going diagonal, and most astounding to me was that 7 & 8′s move like the Knights in that down-1-over-3 move. Trace it out on her card to see for yourself:

Behold, the patterns!

When we finish this game, it’s one of the few times Naturalist wants to stay and do MORE math. Finding those patterns is addictive!


Click through the link for a printable pdf 99 chart with a short paragraph on how to use it to help form solid number sense.

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8 Responses

  1. I LOVE this! Do you think a four year old is too young for this? Thanks for sharing!

  2. It depends on the 4 year old and their own number sense if they’d be too young or not. Understanding multiples comes with multiplication skills – which means a good grasp on repeated addition. However, that can all be learned together. Just be willing to let it go if its too much for them. Play yourself or with a spouse! LOL.

    I love games like this. My new favorite thing is “stumbling” thru cool math sites. Like the number spiral, or “what’s special about this number.” I’m a number lover though. :)

  3. Hey Leah! I have Sassy play along with us, using her 24 square. She isn’t
    finding multiples yet, but she does roll the dice and count up what number
    she can fill in. E. may be ready to start counting by 2′s, 3′,s 4′s, and
    he’d probably have fun with it! Try it on the 24 square and see if he gets
    bored. :)

  4. Oh, I am so doing that today. Maybe with M & M’s : )
    I just printed it off!

  5. I forgot to say – THANK YOU for sharing!

  6. [...] this year it is problems and also division.If I had not found this post on Tiffany’s Child’s play I dont know what I would have done. With the help of this board and with the help of the patterns I [...]

  7. That’s fab, can’t wait to try it with my son!

  8. [...] First, we use them as markers for board games or other math monday games (especially the Magic Multiple stuff!). [...]

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