20 Math Tricks for Kids
reviewed by Jessica Kaminski
Updated on June 23, 2024
Around a quarter of kids in the US have math anxiety. This leads to worse achievement in this subject.
By making math less daunting, kids can overcome their anxieties and perform better.
One of the best ways to make math fun is by using magic math tricks. These easy hacks make understanding and remembering key math concepts so easy!
Here, we cover the 20 best math tricks to teach your kids.
Best math tricks for kids
 Use 10 as your anchor point
 Reversible percentages
 Magically take numbers away from 1,000
 Think of a number trick
 Magic calendar math
 Break large numbers – addition
 Borrow and compensate
 Break large numbers – subtraction
 Compensate or use equal addition
 Simplify your figures
 Use 10s to divide by 5
 Use memorable multiplications as your base
 Multiply by 2: always even
 Multiply by 10: add a 0 to the end of your number
 Multiple by 9: the final digit goes down
 Multiply by 5: final digit is always a 0
 Multiply by 11: double your number
 Multiply by 6: even numbers will end in the multiplying number
 Move the decimal place to find a percentage
 Remember the key division rules
These magic calculation tricks can help kids to understand and apply important math concepts and master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They’ll also help to make math less intimidating. By using simple math tricks to break down complicated calculations, your kids will have the confidence to tackle any math challenges.
Brighterly offers a range of worksheets and interactive materials that can help your kids learn math through magic math tricks. We make learning easy and fun for kids. With Brighterly’s math services, your kids won’t just memorize math calculations – they’ll understand key math operations and learn how to apply them.
What are the important mathematics tricks?
Important mathematical tips and tricks for teaching your kids not only help them understand essential math operations and concepts but also make learning and applying math fun! These math tricks cover key operations, including addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication, to ensure your kids grasp the fundamentals of math.
Easy math tricks for kids
These easy math tricks will help your kid master the most basic math concepts. This makes learning more complex topics and magic math tricks easier!
Use 10 as your anchor point
Some kids struggle to add numbers past 10, like 9 + 8 or 5 + 7. You can help with the following easy math trick: round the first number to 10 by borrowing the necessary amount from the second number.
Let’s practice this simple math trick with 9 + 8:

Let’s solve 5 + 7 this way:

You can also apply this strategy to add a onedigit number to a twodigit number.
Let’s solve 68 + 9:

Reversible percentages
Percentages can prove difficult for kids – but not with our magic calculation tricks!
Percentages are reversible, which can make many trickylooking calculations much easier to manage. It’s much easier to work out 25% of 8 than 8% of 25 – you simply divide by 4 to get 2, and that is the answer to both percentages!
Another example that makes working out a seemingly difficult percentage easy is 20% of 50 – 50% of 20 is half = 10.
Magic math tricks for kids
Magically take away numbers from 1,000
If your kid struggles to quickly subtract numbers from 1,000, there’s a quick and simple math trick that feels like magic – but works every time! It’s one of many really cool math tricks that doesn’t seem possible, but is.
Just subtract the first two digits from the number 9. Then, take the final digit away from 10. As an example, let’s subtract 697 from 1,000.

Think of a number trick
This is one of many funny mathematical tricks that will have your kid believing that you’re psychic. It teaches kids how patterns work and they’ll be blown away when they realize it always works!
 Ask your kid to think of a number between 1–8
 Get them to double it
 Ask them to multiply it by 5
 Now, get them to subtract 5
 Add 7 as the last step
 They’ll get a twodigit number – the first digit will be their number, and the second will always be 2
What are the coolest “basic” math tricks you have learned?
Cool math tricks don’t have to be complicated – in fact, our magic calendar math trick is super easy to understand!
Magic calendar math
This is a great way to trick your kid before teaching them a really cool math trick that feels like magic.
Get out a physical calendar and draw a square around any 9 numbers – for this example, we’re using a selection in August 2024:
Challenge your kid to find the sum of the numbers faster than you. But don’t worry – you have magic math tricks up your sleeve.
To get the answer to this puzzle quickly, all you need to do is multiply the middle number – in this case, 13 – by 9 to get your answer. 9 x 13 = 117.
Adding them all up gives you the same result: 5 + 6 + 7 +12 +13 +14 +19 + 20 + 21 = 117. If your kid has been practicing math tricks, they’ll get the answer. But they’ll be amazed at how quickly you did it!
Once you’ve wowed them, teach them this math technique and let them challenge and wow their friends – and practice multiplication!
Math number tricks for kids
Math number tricks can help your kid learn the basic but essential math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Addition math tricks
Addition is the first basic math operation that most kids will learn, often starting in kindergarten. As they progress through school, they’ll need to add bigger and trickier numbers, so we have some addition math tricks to make this easy.
Break large numbers – addition
Numbers in multiples of 5 and 10 are easy to add together, but when other figures are trickier. Especially with large numbers. Fifth graders and above should be able to do these types of sums mentally, so it’s good to have simple math tricks at hand.
Here, we’ll use the example of 524 and 385.
 First, break the numbers down into their ones, tens and hundreds. 524 is 500, 20 and 4, and 386 is 300, 80 and 5
 Add your hundreds up first: 500 + 300 = 800
 Then, you’ll add your 10s: 20 + 80 = 100
 Next, add your ones up: 4 + 5 = 9
 Finally, combine your three numbers – 800 + 100 + 9 = 909
Borrow and compensate
Number compensation is similar to using 10 as your anchor point. To compensate, round up one number by ‘borrowing’ from the second number to make the sum more simple.
If we use the example of 168 + 25, borrow a 2 from 25 to make the first number 170 and the second number 23. Adding up 170 + 23 is a lot faster and easier than our original sum!
This works for any math addition sum. Just take from the second number to make the first number a round number! You can also take from the first number to compensate for the second number.
Here are some more examples:

Subtraction math tricks
Break large numbers – subtraction
The great thing about addition and subtraction is that they’re inverse, meaning you can flip some addition tricks around to make them work for subtraction. You can also use the breaking large numbers trick for subtraction!
Let’s use the example of 394 – 275.
 Subtract your biggest figure first – the hundreds: 300 – 200 = 100
 Then subtract your tens: 90 – 70 = 20
 Next, subtract your ones: 4 – 5 = –1
 Then, you combine your results: 100 + 20 – 1 = 119
Compensate or use equal addition
Number compensation is another addition trick that can be reversed to work for subtraction. But another method that works similarly is equal addition.
This involves adding the same number to each of your numbers in your sum to make it more straightforward. For example, we’ll look at 74 – 32.
 Add 6 to both of your numbers to make one rounded: 74 + 6 = 80; 32 + 6 = 38.
 Subtract your two new numbers: 80 – 38 = 42.
Many mathematical tips and tricks focus on shifting your numbers to make more rounded or convenient numbers to work with. It’s much easier to work with a number rounded to 10 than two numbers that aren’t rounded!
There’s no limit on how much you can add to your numbers, but the best way to use this trick is to round one of your numbers up to a multiple of 10.
Division math tricks
Division is more complex than addition or subtraction, but there are still some math techniques we can use to make it easier.
Simplify your figures
If you have a complex division sum where the numbers can be simplified, this can make it more straightforward.
If, for example, we want to divide 96 by 8, we can simplify it in multiple ways:
 Dividing each figure by 2 – 96 ÷ 8 becomes 48 ÷ 4.
 Divide each figure by 4, because they’re divisible by 4 – your equation becomes 24 ÷ 2.
For sums that have two even numbers, start by dividing by 2. If you can, continue to divide by 2 until you have your smallest numbers, which will be easier to divide than larger numbers.
Use 10s to divide by 5
Numbers ending in 5 are often easy to use in calculations, and numbers ending in 0 are even easier.
Your kid should know now that all numbers multiplied by 10 end in 0, so use this simple math trick to work out divisions of 5.
This involves very simple multiplication that makes the division easier.
Let’s use the example of 365 ÷ 5.
 Double 365: 365 x 2 = 730.
 Divide 730 by 10: 730 ÷ 10 = 73.
 That’s it! This sum is the same as 365 ÷ 5 = 73.
Remember the key division rules
Memorizing times tables may not teach kids how to understand multiplication. But memorizing the key rules of division will give your kids a really cool math trick that makes division feel much easier.
These rules always apply to division:
 Even numbers are always divisible by 2.
 If the sum of the digits adds up to a multiple of 3 (3, 6, 9, 12 etc.) it’s divisible by 3.
 If the last two digits are divisible by 4, the whole number is divisible by 4.
 Numbers that end in 0 or 5 are divisible by 5.
 All even numbers that are divisible by 2 and 3 are divisible by 6.
 If the sum of the digits is divisible by 9, the whole number is divisible by 9.
 Numbers that end in 0 are divisible by 10.
 If the sum of all digits is divisible by 3 and the sum of the last two digits is divisible by 4, the whole number is divisible by 12.
Multiplication math tricks
Multiplication doesn’t have to be complex. Our magic calculation tricks will make this math operation simple.
Use memorable multiplications as your base
Learning by rote isn’t the best way for kids to truly understand and apply math concepts. Yet it’s often the default method taught in schools. But it can still come in handy when your kid is mastering multiplication.
If they remember an easy sum from their multiplication tables – for example, 7 x 12 = 84 – they can easily work out bigger multiplication problems like 7 x 15 by adding 84 to 7 x 3 = 21. So their answer would be 95.
Spot and use patterns in multiplication
Did you know there are patterns that emerge when multiplying with specific numbers that your kid can use as a helpful trick?
Multiply by 2: always even
Multiplying a number by 2, always results in an even number. This can help kids with sums both small and large. For example, 7 x 2 = 14 and 209 x 2 = 418.
For larger numbers, kids can also split into hundreds, tens and ones to make them simpler – combining easy math tricks is a great idea!
Multiply by 10: add a 0 to the end of your number
One of the easiest mathematical tricks for multiplication is adding a 0 to any number you multiply by 10. No matter how large the number, the final result will always be your number with a 0 on the end.
For example: 10 x 3 = 30, 10 x 30 = 300, 10 x 300 = 3,000, 10 x 3,000 = 30,000 and so on.
Multiply by 9: the final digit goes down
A cool pattern when multiplying by 9 sees the final digit go down. If your kid has memorized their 9 times tables, they’ll have noticed this pattern up to 9 x 10:

But did you know that once you reach 9 x 11 = 99, it’ll do the same thing again? This pattern repeats every time:

Multiply by 5: the final digit is always a 5 or 0
Multiplying a number by 5 will always result in a 5 or a 0 end digit. This goes for any number, no matter how big or small.
For example:

Another quick and fun way to work out a number multiplied by 5 is to multiply it by 10, an easy number to multiply by, and then half it.
For example, 5 x 14 = 70 becomes 10 x 14 = 140; 140 ÷ 2 = 70.
Multiply by 11: double your number
Another cool pattern that emerges is multiplying by 11. Up to 10 x 11, justrite down your multiplying number twice to work out it times 11.

Multiply by 6: even numbers will end in the multiplying number
A lesserknown pattern is multiplying 6 by even numbers. Whenever you multiply 6 by an even number, the last digit in the result will be the last digit in your multiplying number.
What’s more, the first digit of the number will often be half of your multiplying number or half of that number plus 1. This means that your kid can easily calculate most even multiples of 6. And if your kid is multiplying by an odd number, just multiply by the below even number and add another 6.
Here are some examples:

Mental math tricks for kids
Some of these math techniques are best worked out with a pen and paper. Or in the case of the calendar math magic, a real calendar to work with. But there are some simple math tricks that can be worked out mentally!
Move the decimal place to find a percentage
This is a mental math trick that has realworld applications for your kids as they grow up. One challenging area for kids to work out is money percentages, but there’s a simple math trick to work out 10% of a number – then they can work out percentages like 1%, 5%, 15%, 20% and so on.
When looking at a bill with prices, for example, just move the decimal place one space to the left to work out 10% – so, if they have a check for $15.60, they’ll just move the decimal to the left – 10% is $1.560, or $1.56.
If they’re working out different percentages, they can use some easy math tricks once they’ve worked out 10%. If they want to find out 20%, they just double 10% – in this case, 20% would be $3.12.
They can also work out smaller percentages from here – to work out 5%, just half 10%. Here, 5% would be $0.78. For 1%, they divide 10% by 10 or move the decimal place to the left again. So here, 1% would be $0.156, or $0.16 in monetary terms as they’d need to round up.
Conclusion
With mathematical tips and tricks, they often break down equations and math operations into simpler components. These components make learning and practicing math much easier – and more fun!
Use mathematical tricks in combination with studies, tutoring and worksheets that focus on kids learning the key math concepts. Magic tricks with mathematics complement core studies, but they’ll also teach your kids a valuable lesson in overcoming a challenge. Many math operations can seem tricky or even impossible, but when your kid breaks them down into easier stages, they become much more manageable.
These tricks can help make math more fun – which one will you try with your kid?