Skip counting is an essential math skill that helps kids develop calculation fluency. It’s also a cornerstone for learning multiplication and division. We often start teaching skip counting with 2, 5, and 10 as these are some of the easiest numbers for kids to work with.
If you show kids a number chart and mark off the numbers as you skip count by one of these numbers, kids are likely to start to see patterns:
- when you skip count by 2 are only even numbers
- when you skip count by 5 the numbers end in 5 or 0
- when you skip count by ten, the ones place is always 0, but the tens place goes up by one (until you get to 100)
Students can find patterns for other numbers too, but these are easier to see and thus easier for students to follow. Once students understand the concept of skip counting, we move on to other numbers. Students should be able to skip count by any number.
In addition, students need to be able to:
- Skip count both forward and backward at any number.
- Skip count beyond place value barriers (such as getting past 1000 when counting by 100)
- Start to skip count at any number, even if it isn’t a multiple. For example, once students can count by 6’s starting at 6 or 12 or 36, they should try starting at 15 or 25.
Skip counting practice ideas
Even students who seem to catch on to skip counting pretty easily often get caught up with these three things. That’s why you can’t have too many skip counting tools in your teaching toolbox.
Skip counting practice: Grouping
Using small objects or worksheets, have students group items based on the number you are skip counting by.
For example, give students a collection of small objects like buttons or plastic animals. Have students count piles of 8. Then have students count the number of piles. From that, using skip counting, students can determine how many objects there are all together.
Alternately, on a worksheet students can circle groups of eight. Again they can count the number of groups and use that to skip count to get the total number of objects.
Skip counting practice: Connect the Dots
Connect the Dots often have students move from number to number, counting by ones. In the skip counting version, students move from number to number by skip counting by a certain number.
Skip counting Connect the Dots can help students through some of the barriers to skip counting that most students encounter. For example, you have students start connecting dots at any number, not just starting at 1 or at a multiple of the number. If your numbers go beyond a place value barrier, you can help students move beyond that sticking point too.
Skip counting practice: Missing Numbers
Write a series of skip counting numbers on the board with blank boxes where missing numbers should go. They could be a single missing number or several missing numbers in a row. Ask students what number you are skip counting by. Call on students to come up one by one and fill in one of the empty boxes with a correct number in the sequence. You can also do this in a small group on a whiteboard that you pass from student to student.
This activity translates well to paper. Use Missing Numbers worksheets for math centers, individual work, or use them as homework for additional skip counting practice.
Skip counting practice: Odd One Out
Use this game with small groups. Write a series of skip counting numbers on cards, but make one incorrect. For example, if you are practicing skip counting by 7 include 42, 49, 56, 62, and 70. Have one student deal out the cards. Have students say their number. If they have the wrong number, they should say “wrong.” Then have them repeat the sequence with the student saying the correct number to complete the sequence. To extend the lesson, encourage the group to go around again and extend the sequence (77, 84, 91, 98, 105) and then to extend it in the opposite direction (35, 28, 21, 14, 7).
Again, Odd One Out worksheets are a great way for students to provide additional skip counting practice in or out of the classroom.
Want done-for-you games and worksheets for skip counting practice? I have a set of 50 fun and easy to use skip counting worksheets for multiples of 6, 7, 8, 9, and 100. If that’s all you need, you can buy that pack and download it here >> https://topnotchteaching.com/downloads/skip-counting-games/
If you’re looking for skip counting practice for other numbers or want skip counting puzzles, you can find them in the math products section of my store.
Skip counting practice and more
I continue to offer skip counting practice products along with other teaching resources—games, worksheets, assessments, classroom management tools, physical education lesson plans, science experiments, and lessons—as individual options, but I also make it easier (and more economical) for teachers to get the done-for-you resources they need.
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Get all the info and set yourself up for skip counting practice and other teaching resources on-demand right here: https://topnotchteaching.com/members/