Introduction to Multiplication

Learn the basics of multiplication with this free lesson, which includes multiplication basics as well as interactives for you to practice.

What is multiplication?

When you multiply, you're basically adding a certain number more than once. For instance, if you eat 4 pieces of candy, then you eat another 4, then 4 more, you can say that you multiplied the amount of candy you ate.

3 sets of 4 pieces of candy

Multiplication happens all the time in real life. For example, consider the situation below.

Writing multiplication expressions

As you just saw, a multiplication expression is written like this:

2 x 6

You can read that expression as two times six. The multiplication symbol (x) can also be called the times symbol. Remember, you always put it between the numbers you want to multiply.

Many real-life situations can be expressed with multiplication. For instance, imagine that you want to make three cakes. The recipe says that each cake will need two eggs. In other words, you need 3 x 2 eggs.

3 x 2

Try this!

Write the following situations as multiplication expressions. Don't try to solve them yet.

You have six pairs of two socks each.

You need to take two pills four times a day.

Each bag contains nine donuts. You buy three bags.

Solving multiplication problems

You can use counting and adding to solve some small, simple multiplication problems. For example, on the last page, we were trying to figure out how many eggs we'd need to make three cakes. Each cake needed two eggs, so we wrote the problem like this:

3 x 2

As you know by now, that expression means three times two, or 3 cakes with 2 eggs each. It's a simple problem. To solve it, you can either count the eggs or add them: 2 + 2 + 2. Either way, the answer is 6. We know that 3 x 2 = 6.

3 x 2 = 6

While this works for small problems, counting large numbers can take a long time— and it's pretty boring too. For this reason, most people memorize common multiplication problems so that they can solve them quickly. If this sounds hard, don't worry. The more you practice, the easier it will be to remember the answers to problems.

Until then, you can solve multiplication problems by using a multiplication table. It's also called a times table. A times table is a chart with the answers to all of the multiplication problems that use the numbers 1 through 12. It's simple to use. Click through the slideshow below to learn how.

You might have noticed there is no 0 row in the times table. That's because zero times anything is just zero. For example, 5 x 0 = 0 and 0 x 100 = 0.

Try this!

Solve the following multiplication problems. You can use the times table as a reference if needed. Check your answer by typing it into the box.

4 x 6 =
7 x 11=
5 x 1 =


Practice multiplication with these problems. If you want, you can use the times table. There are 3 sets of problems. Each set has 5 problems.

Set 1

3 x 2 =
4 x 1 =
2 x 5 =
4 x 3 =
2 x 7 =

Set 2

7 x 6 =
4 x 6 =
8 x 7 =
9 x 10 =
12 x 5 =

Set 3

4 x 9 =
8 x 1 =
6 x 5 =
10 x 8 =
12 x 12 =


Want even more practice? Try out a short assessment to test your skills by clicking the link below:

Start Assessment