“So…What’s All This ‘Times’ Stuff About?”

Em woke up unusually early this morning. It was barely 7 a.m., and she was up and awake. So my usual routine was a bit disrupted, since I’m used to her sleeping in until 9 a.m., when her alarm is set to wake her up.

She kindly filled her time with activity – a few learning games on her computer and then a rather intricate face paint.


She is getting better and better at them. I said to her, “Wow, you know you could have a little table and sell face and hand paints during the Urban Farm Tour this summer!” (Our home¬†will be on the tour for the first time ever and we are planning out our garden and land with great anticipation)

A few minutes later I remarked, “And if you keep practicing at this face painting, imagine how good you will be in a couple of years. Some people make good money doing face paints at local fairs and events.” I thought about it a moment and added, “Let’s see, say you can do six face paints an hour, and you are earning at least $5 per face paint, five times six is $30. Emily, that’s thirty dollars an hour!”

Emily nodded, “Wow, that is a lot of money, Mama. So…” she wrinkled her face, “what’s all this ‘times’ stuff about? How does it work?”

When a perfect learning/teaching opportunity lands in your lap, jump on it.

“Well, multiplication makes adding things quicker. Instead of saying ‘5+5+5+5=20’ you could say, ‘5×4=20’.”


“Here, let me show you.”

I started with zero…


Then I progressed to the 1s and 2s and early 3s…


She caught on quickly, especially after I showed her that she could turn them around…

“One times four is the same as four times one.”


We finally hit the spot where she had difficulty…


The 3×6…6×3 one got her. But she did something interesting. She stared at it and said, “Well, if I take 24…”

“What made you come up with 24?” I asked, interrupting her.

“Well, 24 is the sister of 12.”

“So, 24 is 12 doubled?”


Basically she was seeing the components of six or 12 (thank you chickens for helping her with this concept, collecting eggs every day has paid off) and she ended up counting back from 24 to arrive at 18.

At this point, I’m figuring that she will just need to memorize the numbers as they get too big to remember or easily calculate in her head. We will see.

Exciting leaps forward!


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