I started out by introducing them to multiplication with drawings. I told them that the first number in a problem was the number of circles you draw. The second number was the number of Xs you put in each circle. Once you're done, you count the Xs and that is your answer. Here's my example (taken with an iPhone camera, so please excuse the quality) on the SMARTBoard.
5 circles times 2 stars in each circle equals 10 stars all together!
They seemed to catch on to this to a degree, so I decided to get them actively engaged in the activity. I brought hula hoops to school and had the kids all take off their shoes. I had them use the hula hoops in place of the circles and their shoes in place of the Xs. They usually LOVE weird stuff like this, and this game was no exception! So fun! One of my little darlings had it down to an art by the end of the lesson!
Here's the hula hoop match to the problem on the SMARTBoard.
I created a little exit slip to go along with this activity. If you are having trouble teaching multiplication, this is really fun! I am going to try to find bean bags to use, too. Since several of my babies wear Dafos, taking shoes off and putting them on is a challenge for my IAs and me! Bean bags might be faster and easier than shoes. Plus, I had one little guy who was totally grossed out by the shoes...it was too funny :) If you want the exit slip, you can grab it right HERE. Hope this will be useful to you! Please, please share other fun multiplication activities if you have them.
Have a great weekend!