Skip counting is a critical math skill because it helps kids:
- Calculate more quickly
- Calculate with more ease
- Get ready for multiplication and division.
Most of us skip count without a thought 2-4-6-8-10-12 or 5-10-15-20-25-30 or even 3-6-9-12-15-18-21 … We almost forget that it is something we learned, just like counting itself. Giving kids lots of practice (and different kinds of practice) can help them master this important skill—and get past some of the most common barriers.
Some numbers are just trickier for most kids. Skip counting by 7s for example, is a lot harder than skip counting by 5s. That’s why we often start with skip counting by tens.
Free resource: Skip Counting Puzzles for Multiples of 10
Then we move on to 2s and 5s and then 3s and 4s. But in addition to the challenge different numbers play, students may also struggle with:
- Starting to count at any multiple of the number.
- Starting to count at any number that’s not a multiple.
- Moving beyond place value barriers.
- Skip counting both forward and backward at any number.
In the Skip Counting Puzzles for Multiples of 10, you’ll notice that some of the puzzles go above 100 (to help move beyond place value barriers). Some start at a number that is not 10 (to help start counting at any number, whether it is a multiple or not). And some start with the highest numbers to help students practice counting backward from any number as well as forward.
5 fun skip counting practice ideas
Are you working on skip counting with your students — or maybe at home with your child? Here are some additional ideas and resources to provide more skip counting practice.
1. Skip counting puzzles for 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 10s
Like the skip counting puzzles for multiples of 10 I shared above, this skip counting puzzle set provides skip counting practice that helps kids start counting at any multiple or number that isn’t a multiple, moving beyond place value barriers, skip counting backward as well as forward. Get Skip Counting Puzzles for 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 10s. (Want more skip counting puzzles? Get the skip counting bundle that includes 50 puzzles covering even more numbers.)
2. Skip counting walk (or hop)
Try skip counting by twos by taking a skip counting walk. If students know their left and right, use left and right feet. If not, put a colorful marker (some tape would work) on one foot. Have students silently count for each left foot step. Have them count aloud for each right foot step. (You can do it with them to get started).
Alternatively, chalk the skip counting by 2 numbers on a sidewalk or driveway (or use tape to mark it on the floor) and have students hop from number to number, saying the numbers as they go.
3. Using hundreds charts for skip counting puzzles
You can use hundreds grids or other number charts for skip counting practice. Students can move along the chart and find the correct numbers to skip count by any number.
Start by having kids count by ones up to the first multiple. For example, if you are going to skip count by 10, have students count by ones up to 10. Put a marker there. Have them continue counting by ones until they count ten more. Place another marker at 20. Continue this way until students see the pattern and are able to place the next number (30, 40, 50, 60 …) without counting to ten.
Students should begin to see a pattern and that marked pattern can help them practice counting further. You can also use this same technique for backward skip counting practice.
Need a hundreds chart? Students can make their own with these free hundreds charts puzzles.
4. Play Buzz
Buzz provides skip counting practice from any number. Work with whatever number your kids are practicing now (or have already mastered).
- Decide what number you are skip counting by.
- Choose the starting point (Try starting with 1. As students get more advanced, you can start with a multiple of the number you are skip counting by or any other number).
- Choose your ending point. (If students have gotten pretty good at skip counting, but struggle with getting past place barriers, choose a number above 100.)
- Tell students that they will take turns saying the next number as you go around the circle, but that they will say Buzz on any numbers that you are skip counting by.
- Stand in a circle and begin counting around the circle in ones, but when a student comes to the number that is a multiple of your skip counting number (say 5), they say “buzz” instead.
That means the correct sequence for skip counting from 1 to 21 by 5s would be: 1, 2, 3, 4, BUZZ, 6, 7, 8, 9, BUZZ, 11, 12, 13, 14, BUZZ, 16, 17, 18, 19, BUZZ, 21.
If students reach one of your skip counting numbers but forget to say Buzz, they sit down until the next round.
5. Use collections for skip counting practice
You’ll need small objects for students to count and containers to count into. If you’re focusing on counting by fives, have your students count out five of the objects to make one collection.
Students continue counting collections until the items are all gone. Then they skip count to find the total number of the objects. If they get stuck they can count by ones past the sticking point. So if they skip count to 95 and have two collections left, but don’t know what comes next, they can count by ones to see that 5 after 95 is 100 and 5 after that is 105.
Skip counting practice ideas & more done for you
The Skip Counting Puzzles for 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 10s are available as a done for you teaching resources. It’s ready to download and print. It’s one of the many done for you resources in the Top Notch Teaching Members Club.
I created the club as a go-to site for quality, ready to use teaching resources across the curriculum. You’ll find games, worksheets, lesson plans, and more for:
- Literacy and phonics
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In addition, I’ve included classroom management tools and tools for teacher self-care (so important).
Some of the resources, like the skip counting puzzles for 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 10s are available for individual purchase, but you save a lot by becoming a member and having a growing collection of resources available to you for one low monthly fee. And members get access to exclusive products too, not available elsewhere.
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