Blog #15: Out of the Head and Into the Body

In the previous blog we saw that children’s learning experiences can be broadened and deepened to include kinesthetic awareness and the development of the sense of body geography. These can build a sense of well-being and confidence that mental, or head work alone does not give. Building on this, here are a few more activities which teach multiplication through movement and rhythm.

Ankles Knees Hips Wrists Elbows Shoulders

With both hands together we touch Left Ankle on 1; Rt Ankle on 2; L Knee on 3; Rt Knee on 4; L Hip on 5; Rt Hip on 6. That finishes the lower part of the body.

Rt Hand to L Wrist on 7; L Hand to Rt Wrist on 8; Rt Hand to L Elbow on 9; L Hand to Rt Elbow on 10; Rt Hand to L Shoulder on 11; L Hand to Rt Shoulder on 12.

This can be done with 2s in the same way, or with any number series, for that matter.

Once this is established, one may ask, “What were you touching when you said a particular number?” At first, the tendency will be to go through all the positions before locating the operative one. To get to 14, or 7×2,for eg., the children will realize that the Rt Hip is 6X2, so 7×2 will be the first of the arm positions, the L Wrist, and so on. There is a whole lot of figuring going on that includes bodily awareness, often unconsciously.

With the 3s,after a while, they will realize that all the numbers on the right are even, and that these positions reflect 2X the number, 4X, 6X and so on. Learning in this way, much that is at first unconscious will soon come to awareness.


While learning the times tables through rhythmic counting, it is helpful to write them out. If one really looks at the patterns, much can be learned.

2 is 1X2

4 is 2X2

6 is 3X2


Also, it is strengthening to say these multiplication facts out loud from memory accompanied by the following movement, or a similar one. The jump is a straddle jump.

5 IS. 1 TIMES. 5. And so on up to 12 times the number.


This can be introduced and practiced as clap, clap, jump cross jump.

When all the times table facts are mastered out of order, through quizzing, the children will have fully earned their Passport to Mathematics.

As one practices these activities in relation to the times tables with the children, one can see how doing them in this way is beneficial beyond the multiplication facts to memory.

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