Multiplication is always a challenging subject for students to learn. You begin learning multiplication by making ‘groups of’ numbers (or counters). Counters can be beans, beads, anything of a uniform size and shape. Previous to teaching multiplication, the child should be familiar with adding and subtracting using counters. A beginning question you might ask for multiplication could be “If you make 3 groups with 4 beans in each group, how many beans do you have totalled?” Once the child has mastered making groups of equal numbers, then you can start asking the question something like “if you have 3 groups of 4, how many do you have total?”
In Montessori, there are many different ways to teach multiplication. One interesting way that works for children of all ages is using the Multiplication Bead Board. Here is a video of a student demonstrating how she is using the board to solve multiplication problems.
Here is one more link to someone’s blog where it describes how you would use the board.
I think this would be a great tool to use at home. Imagine all the different activities you could do using this board beyond multiplication! You and your child could make up games, do addition, division, subtraction and maybe even some variation on Tic-tac-toe or S.O.S!!
Here is a link to a bead board you can make using paper, foam core and push pins!
And, another creative solution is using an old bathmat!! And, of course you could make your own if you are skilled with a saw and drill.