When do kids learn multiplication

When Do Kids Learn Multiplication and Division [And How to Help Them]

Multiplication and division are among the most complicated parts of math that kids have to learn. Therefore setting proper foundation is essential. To do that, parents need to know when do kids learn multiplication and division so that they can provide some assistance to their children.

In this blog, I’ll explain when kids learn multiplication and division, and how to help them understand the concepts.

When Do Kids Learn Multiplication?

To put it simply, kids learn multiplication in 2nd grade and division in 3rd.

In order to prepare for multiplication, teachers and parents first need to make the concept tangible to kids. Multiplication is all about repetition, i.e. how many times an object is repeated to deliver a number. For example, the number 5 repeated 5 times will equal 25. This is what it looks like in numbers 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 25. To skip the repeated addition, students can just multiply 5 x 5 to equal 25.

To make the learning simpler and more tangible, you can use cut out squares, or apples for example, and practice adding them then multiplying them.

Stairs with multiplication examples
Learn multiplication through visualization/ Source: Unsplash

When Do Kids Learn Division?

As I already said, children start learning division in 3rd grade. This is because multiplication is easier to understand. Once the children overcome multiplication and start seeing the connection between multiplying and dividing numbers, they can easily grasp the concept.

To learn division you can practice in a similar way but in reverse order. So, if we divide 25 by 5 times what would be the outcome? If you put it like this children won’t understand it initially.

So, take the apples once again and count 25 of them.

Start dividing them in 5 columns, one apple in each until you run out of apples. Then, just count the rows and find out the answer. Just note that this concept works for smaller numbers and simpler divisions. Imagine practicing 2,000 ÷ 4!

Teaching simple division with columns and rows of apples
Teaching division through visual representation/ Source: Geekly Family

Another way to explain and practice is by repeated subtraction. For example, take the number 25 – 5, then – 5, and – 5, until there are no more 5s left. The result would be 25÷5=5.

An Overview of the Process for Learning Multiplication and Division

So, the learning goes in this order:

  • Second grade – children learn repeated addition and basic multiplication.
  • Third grade – children learn repeated subtraction and start to realize the connection between multiplication and division.
  • Fourth grade – children learn advanced multiplication i.e. multiplying two-digit numbers with two-digit numbers. They also learn how to divide four-digit numbers by single digit numbers.
  • Fifth grade – children learn to divide four-digit numbers by four-digit numbers.

How to Help Your Children Understand Math?

There’s this misconception that some children aren’t good at math or languages. This isn’t true. It’s just that some children need extra help (and will) understanding the concepts.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Explain That There’s no Such Thing as Being Bad at Math

As I already mentioned, the difference is how much effort your child (and you) are willing to put in. You can always ask your child to think of a subject that’s very easy to them and think about why it is like that. Once they see that the performance depends on their willingness to learn the subject and invest time in practice, they’ll become more motivated to overcome the challenge.

2. Make a Game Out of It

The younger your child is the more this works. Your props will vary depending on the concept you’re trying to explain but they can be anything you have at home, from fruits to office supplies.
The most important thing is to help your child visualize the abstract concept.

3. Provide Support and Resources

Whenever your child asks for help – be there, or at least provide resources. I remember that I always struggled with math, mostly because it was just so dull. So, my mother would provide the necessary resources for me like books, or exercises and let me practice about an hour or two a day. Over time, I started realizing the connections and overcame the concepts I never thought I’d understand.

Resources for learning multiplication.
Resources for learning division.

4. Don’t Rush Things

The last and the best advice is not to rush things, and this is the core secret to raising smart children. Children need different amounts of time to learn things so rushing things will only frustrate them. Instead, tell them that they can take their time (but not avoid it) and practice to learn not to get better grades.


Multiplication and division are among the most difficult mathematical concepts for children to grasp so parents frequently ask “when do kids learn multiplication and division?”. The earliest that kids should be taught about them is in the second and third grade. Some kids may pick up multiplication and division quickly while others may take some time and assistance but they’ll eventually overcome them. What’s important is that parents provide the necessary support for their children and never give up!


1. What age should a child learn multiplication tables?

Learning multiplication or times tables will differ from child to child because each child has different abilities, skills and interests. However, experts agree that children usually learn these tables between the ages 5 and 8.

2. Can a 4 year old learn multiplication?

While this isn’t a common case, it’s also not an impossible one because there are kids who understand mathematical concepts from as little as 2. If you notice that your toddler picks up math with ease, you should invest time and provide resources to help your child sharpen their skills.

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