Back on course, when I was at school (not long since ) (just kidding im 22)
I remember in year 6, our teacher would - every week - hand out a scrap of paper to everyone and read out 20 or 30 multiplications. But it was quick - 2 or 3 second gap - miss one and you'd do terribly for panicing about the one you missed! But it did encourage us to recite them in our heads and I did enjoy it when I got them all right.
There does seem to be an awful lot of pressure on kids these days, not just schoolwork, but also extra curricular activities, ours like many others are constantly on the go. During term time we both read to them, it is important for fathers to read to their sons, as it reinforces that reading can be fun for boys as well. We also have got them a brain train thingy, but like others I'm not too keen on consoles. We also try to push them a little further than the school does. However during the holidays, we deliberately do nothing on the academic front, as I believe that this gives them a necessary break.