When you’re introducing the concept of multiplication to kids, it helps a ton to get their attention with an engaging hands-on game! Explore the concept of multiplication by grouping objects. The recording sheet is available to print at the bottom of the post!

We love playing all kinds of multiplication games – you’ll also want to check out our multiplication football game and LEGO candy store multiplication activity.

We recently discovered the packs of mini erasers at the dollar spot at Target. Have you seen them? They have all kinds of cute designs, and you get 60 of them for only a buck! These little rockets are my favorite.

Owen is brand new to multiplication, so here’s how we did this activity. First I explained to him that multiplication is adding groups of numbers. He is already familiar with grouping through his math book (Making Math Meaningful 2nd grade from Cornerstone Curriculum). In his book, he has been using grouping notation. For example, 38 = 3(10) + 8 and 24 = 3(8) or 2(10) + 4.

I explained that we know three 10’s equal 30, so 3 x 10 = 30. Two groups of 4 equals 8, and so on.

Rockets and Planets Multiplication Game

Then I got out our rockets and planets (felt circles), a die, a dry erase pen, and a multiplication mat.

Hands-on Math with Printable Multiplication Mats

Here’s how to play!

Roll the die once. That number tells you how many planets to lay out.

Roll the die a second time. That number tells you how many rockets to put on each planet.

Count up the rockets to help you write your math sentence and then record your answer!

For example: 1st roll = 3, 2nd roll = 5. Set up 3 planets with 5 rockets on each one. 3 x 5 = 15 total rockets!

Printable Multiplication Mats - Hands-On Math!

I chose to laminate our mat so that we can use it over and over again.

Printable Multiplication Mats

Aren’t the rockets the cutest?

Printable Multiplication Mats

Make it harder!

For beginners, use 1 die. Later you can change to two dice, or use a 12 sided math dice (Amazon affiliate link).

Keep multiplication practice interesting by changing up the objects!

An egg carton also works well for grouping. We used colorful marbles with an egg carton and played the multiplication game the same way.

Other ideas for fun multiplication games with dice:

  • Donut erasers (Target dollar spot) and paper circles. Roll the dice once to tell you how many “plates” to set out. Roll again to tell you how many donuts to put on each plate.
  • Paper cookies and real chocolate chips – Cut cookies out of tan construction paper. Roll once to tell you how many cookies to put out, and roll again to tell you how many chocolate chips to put on each cookie.
  • Egg carton and buttons
  • Plastic condiment cups and Lego bricks
  • Circles and stickers – use tiny star stickers or other small stickers. Roll the dice once to tell you how many circles to draw. Roll again to tell you how many stickers to put in each circle.

Print your own multiplication mats! Click the link below. The file will open immediately and you can print from there.

CLICK HERE: Printable Multiplication Mats

Need more multiplication games?


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  1. Phyllis Paterson Feb 15, 2017

    Thanks Sarah! This activity looks very useful.

  2. Rhonda Franz Feb 17, 2017

    Love these recording sheets! Perfect to add to the summer folder I stock for my three boys, and as an activity when a child needs to be kept busy (and sometimes out of trouble) I kept a couple old mini muffin tins that work similar to the egg carton idea.

  3. Jo Nov 15, 2017

    Rockets and planets! Genius!! Have been trying to figure out a clever way to introduce multiplication... Thanks so much.

  4. Jan Jan 19, 2018

    Thank you heaps for some great ideas for independent math centres. I am going to give them a go this term.

  5. Holly Nov 20, 2019

    At my third-grader's parent-teacher conference this week, his teacher recommended we help him practice his multiplication facts. I knew exactly where to look for games, and went straight to your website. You have such great ideas! I am very excited to offer my son several of your fun games over the next few weeks. Thank you!!!


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