Why teach skip counting?

Skip counting is defined as being able to count by numbers other than one. 

Skip counting is a necessary skill for young children. It helps you see patterns in numbers and lays a great foundation for multiplication facts and times tables. The overall goal is to have students count fluently forwards and backwards by twos, fours, fives, tens and hundreds starting at any number. You can then add other numbers as a foundation of the times tables. 

That is key – we start at any number. It doesn’t always have to start at zero.

hundreds chart


  1. Throw a ball back and forth. There is something to be said for adding the physical to the activity. It allows for movement and fun. Pick what you are going to skip count by (2s, 5s, 10s, etc) and throw the ball back and forth with each person saying the number before they throw. 
throwing a ball

2. Use manipulatives. These can be great for grouping and then counting. Use whatever you have on hand – popsticks, M&Ms, pretzels, etc. Using manipulatives can show whether or not your child is understanding skip counting. (It is relatively easy to rote count without fully understanding.) Ask guiding questions as they group the objects. What do you notice? What is the pattern that you see?

3. Use post-it notes. Write the numbers on post-it notes and stick them on a wall or board. Have your child put the numbers in order.

4. Jump to it. This is another great way to involve the physical with the mental. Using chalk, write the numbers on the driveway or path. Have your child jump to the number as they skip count. You can go forwards and backwards!
You could also use a hopscotch layout to practice. 

Young kid playing hopscotch

5. Sing songs. There are several artists who have written songs that help you to skip count.  Here are some good songs.

6. Dot to Dots. Instead of counting by 1, complete the picture by skip counting according to the given number.

7. Read skip counting books. There are several great story books that use skip counting. This is a fantastic list put together by The Measured Mom.

8. Speed races. Once your child has built some skills in skip counting, have some speed races. How high can you count in a certain time? Or how quickly can you count over 100 by skip counting? Can you then beat your own time?

And then there are some great worksheets, which can be very helpful. Don’t limit yourself and mix it up. It is such a great foundation for counting and mental math.

Don’t forget to have fun!

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