Patterned Multiplication Circles

Have your kids ever tried to learn their multiplication facts or skip counting and it all seems like a garbly-goop? Do numbers get mixed up in their heads? A few months ago, I found this awesome visual way to teach multiplication for any age! Even my 7 year old can do these simple patterned multiplication circles!

Multiplication Circles A Simple way to teach Multiplication

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What are Multiplication Circles?

Multiplication circles are a tool used to create a visual representation of the pattern created when you multiply numbers by the same factor. Often times you might find them made on paper, with chalk, or on a wood board. They are used in Waldorf and other hands-on trainings, but can be helpful for all ages.

While it is not developmentally appropriate to teach multiplication to young children, they can still do these patterns, because they are simple and can be done in a modified format! You can use them as skip counting, counting sets, or multiplying fact families.

The basic idea is that you start with a 10 point circle and connect the dots around the circle for the last digit of each product of a multiplication problem. Example: Counting by 3’s would connect these numbers 3,6,9,2,5,8,1,4,7,0 {3,6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27,30) you can keep going and children will start to notice that the pattern just repeats itself.

Multiplication circles

What You Need to Make Multiplication Circles

Embroidery Circles
Small Nails
Thin Yarn or String

Materials for Multiplication Wheels

How to Make Multiplication Circles

The most difficult part about creating multiplication circles is dividing your circle by 10 equal parts. The easiest way we found to do this was to make marks with a marker at 12 and 6 o’clock. Then we evenly placed 4 marks between each of those lines.

After you have all your marks made. Use tiny nails to hammer in your posts. Be careful not to split the wood.

Choose any string or yarn to tie to the top peg (this will be “zero”). Now you are ready to multiply or skip count.

Creating Multiplication Circles

 How to Use Your Multiplication Circles

Starting at zero, count forward the number of spaces you are multiplying by. In this example we multiplied by 4.

Count forward 4 spaces and wrap your yard around the nail.
Count 4 more spaces and wrap your yarn around the next nail. {repeat until you are back to the beginning.

This can be done with any age child. Younger children can simply count 1,2,3,4. Slightly older children can count 4, 8, 12, 16, 20…

Finally, older children can multiply… 1×4=4, 2×4=8, 3×4=12, 3×4=16, etc. Remember, you are wrapping your yarn around the last digit.

Multiplication Facts Circle

Once your children get the hang of it, they might even like to create art pieces using what they have learned. Like this piece of art that was done using X1, X2, and X3 on the same loop.

Multiplication Art

We did all of this out loud without any written work to learn the concept. My 9 year old actually said “wow, I had no clue math could be so fun!” Gotta love that! This was a win in our home for sure!

We’ve been making them all week, and the kids keep grabbing them and practicing their times tables and their skip counting.

Math Wheels
Do you have a visual way of learning multiplication? I would love to see!

Steam Activities for Kids

I am excited to be taking part in a month long series focused on STEAM activities for kids! I am honored to be joining some of my favorite blogs that encourage critical thinking and problem solving in young children. This week all of our projects have the theme of “Compute”.

If Then Backyard Coding Game for Kids from Left Brain Craft Brain

Secret Code Activity from What Do We Do All Day?

Spring Garden Glyph from Meri Cherry

Easy Math Trick for Kids from All for the Boys

PVC Pipe Xylophone from Frugal Fun for Boys



Discover how to get siblings to get along even when all they do is annoy each other with the Sibling “Get Along” Poster Pack!

49 thoughts on “Patterned Multiplication Circles”

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  3. Math made gorgeous! I would love to have a few of these to hang on my wall in between math sessions.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Aren’t they awesome! We can’t stop making them with different mediums. 🙂

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  5. This is just about the most beautiful math project ever! I love this visual method of learning multiplication!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you so much! That means so much to me!

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  7. Michelle

    Where did you get the wooden circles? I would love to do this with my class! Looks amazing!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We got ours at a thrift store. However you can get them in the needlepoint section of any hobby store.

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  41. deepti

    loved this idea…very creative

    1. If you are looking for a more inexpensive approach to this project you can also go to your local carpet store and ask for their large cardboard tubes which are approximately 4.5 inches in diameter. You can then cut these down using a miter saw. You can even paint them with fun colors and cool designs. They work great!

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