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

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.

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

**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!

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

Aren’t the rockets the cutest?

**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 manipulatives:**

- Donut erasers (Target dollar spot) and paper circles. Roll 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 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

**Print your own multiplication mats!**

**CLICK HERE:** Printable Multiplication Mats

Phyllis Paterson says

Thanks Sarah! This activity looks very useful.

Rhonda Franz says

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.

Jo says

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

Jan says

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