Practice is variation not repetition. See the theory of variability by Dienes.
Practice is important as a consolidation tool in mathematics learning.
Not drills which is characterised by repetitive work.
Not rote memorisation.
So how do kids learn multiplication facts.
But can we do drills.
Well, let's see.
Spoiler Alert: The answer is yes but how it can be done in an acceptable, even productive way, that can lead to learning in the true sesame of the word.
Colleagues think that this drill activity is productive because
A. competencies like .... are developed
B. productive mindset like .... are developed
So, drills are acceptable if they can lead to high-level competencies and productive mindset otherwise it is illegal to do drills.
I am glad you had fun.