Math: Skip Counting

Skip counting is an awesome skill for kids to add to their tool belt.  In particular, it makes multiplying much more manageable when you already have skip counting down.  The problem is – teaching kids skip counting can be boring.  It’s one of those 5 minutes every day things, and all too often we just repeat what we’ve always done, just the same day after day.  Why not mix it up a little?

Some ideas to make skip counting more fun:

  •  Use actual objects to represent the numbers. young children are visual learners, unable to grasp the concept of abstract numbers. They need actual objects to look at to understand the concept.
  • Count while playing hide-and-seek. If the kids hide in one room and you find them quickly, you can play this over and over in just a few minutes and they’ll have heard counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s or whatever several times, then they can be “it” and do the counting.
  • Play other games and include skip counting – Duck, Duck, Goose, Hide the Magnet, Keep the Balloon Up – add a skip counting component to any of your favorite games.
  • Practice skip counting in every day life. Counting coins, the number of plates or forks on the dinner table, the number of carrots in the dish, the number of socks or shoes, the number of keys on the piano and so on.
  • Count while skipping rope or doing jumping jacks.  Physical activity helps things stick more firmly in the mind.
  • Throw and beanbag back and forth while skip counting.  You can do this between two people or in a circle with even more people.  See how high you can go without dropping it or making a counting mistake.
  • Get a book from the library on counting.  There are lots of books, most about counting by ones, but some are skip counting too.  A book makes it more fun and presents the concept with colorful pictures.  I recommend Hands Down: Counting By Fives by Michael Dahl. It is fun to look at and read aloud and also has more good ideas on how to practice skip counting in the back of the book.



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