Have you ever watched younger students who are learning about numbers and skip counting? Have you noticed how they have to touch each object in a group in order to count and tell how many there are.

And then they start to learn to skip count. You’ll hear them chanting 5, 10, 15, 20 … or 10, 20, 30, 40…all the way up to 100. And then they often get stuck.

Let’s look at what skip counting is, where kids get stuck, and how you can give them practice in skip counting that helps get them past those sticking points!

## What is skip counting?

Skip counting is being able to count forward and backward in multiples. You can see it in those rhythm chanted numbers I mentioned above, which show skip counting by 5 and 10, but you can skip count by any number. If you can rattle off 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 … or 8, 16, 24, 32, 40 … you’re skip counting. You can do it the other way too … 40, 32, 24, 16, 8.

Skip counting practice helps kids develop ease and speed in calculation and gets them ready for multiplication and division.

## Where do kids get stuck with skip counting?

Some numbers are just trickier for most kids. Skip counting by 7s for example, is a lot harder than skip counting by 10s. That’s why we often start with skip counting by tens.

Beyond that, it’s not uncommon for kids to get stuck:

- Starting to count at any multiple of the number.
- Starting to count at any number that’s not a multiple.
- Skip counting both forward and backward at any number.
- Moving beyond place value barriers.

Even students who can skip count by 3s (3, 6, 9, 12 …) may have trouble if asked to start at 33 or at 7. Or they can count forward, but get stuck trying to count backwards. And many kids get the hang of skip counting and can get up to 100 by various numbers, but get stymied beyond that.

Giving students lots of varied practice will help them master this essential skill and move past all those roadblocks

## Skip counting worksheets to master skip counting

There are a lot of fun practice worksheets you can use to give kids skip counting practice.

- Grouping
- Connect the dots
- Missing numbers
- Odd one out
- More or less
- Counting patterns

### Grouping

Give students a worksheet with many images of an object or animal. Have students circle groupings of your skip counting number. If you’re skip counting by five, students circle groups of five. They can count the number of groups and use that to skip count to get the total number of objects. (See Skip Counting Using Collections below for a variation on practicing with groupings.)

### Missing numbers

Give students a series of skip counting numbers with blank boxes where missing numbers should go. They could be a single missing number or several missing numbers in a row. Tell students what number to count by and have them fill in the gaps.

### Odd one out

Give students a series of skip counting numbers in which one is incorrect. For example, if you are practicing skip counting by 6 include 36, 42, 48, 56, and 60. Have students circle and replace the wrong number. To extend the lesson, encourage students to extend the sequence in each direction.

### Connect the dots

Students are probably familiar with connect the dot, moving from one number to the next in sequence, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … to create a picture. In this case they move based on skip counting. If you are skip counting by ten, they’d connect 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 …

To challenge students to work with some of the skip counting challenges, numbers may go beyond 100 or start at any number.

### More or less

Students answer a series of questions that require them to skip count in either direction from various numbers. For example, if skip counting by 4, students might answer:

- What number is 4 more than 8?
- What number is 4 less than 12?
- What number is 4 more than 100?
- What number is 4 less than 25?

### Counting patterns / finding patterns

On a 100s chart or other number grid, students circle numbers in a given pattern, such as counting by 3s or counting by 5s. Then they notice any patterns in their work.

**Get activities like these in done-for-you worksheets: Skip Counting Worksheets and Activities Bundle. **

## Other easy ideas to practice skip counting

As I said, giving lots of varied practice is key to skip counting success. Here are some other ideas to try in your classroom.

## Skip counting using collections

Using collections is a great way to help little kids learn to skip count.

You’ll need closeable bags, small objects for each collection, and containers to count collections into.

Say you’re focusing on skip counting by 10. Students will count out 10 of the objects to make one collection. They’ll continue until all the items are gone. Then they can 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 100 and have two collections left, but don’t know what comes next, they can count by ones to see that 10 after 100 is 110 and 10 after that is 120.

## Skip counting puzzles

Skip counting puzzles are a fun way to practice skip counting. If your students love puzzles, they’ll get cute pictures put together when they get numbers in the right order. And when set up properly, skip counting puzzles can help students practice skip counting by various numbers — and give them practice counting in both directions, from different starting numbers, and counting forward and back!

**Try free skip counting puzzles! **

### FREE Skip Counting Puzzles

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And if you want even more skip counting puzzles (100 puzzles altogether!) that cover skip counting by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 100 — and help your kids past common skip counting barriers, make things easy on you and fun for your students with the **Skip Counting Puzzles Bundle****. **

## Skip counting games

Buzz is a game you can play to practice skip counting from any number.

- Choose the number you are skip counting by.
- Choose the starting point. If students are new to skip counting, start with 1. As students develop skip counting skills with the given number, you can start with a multiple of the number you are skip counting by or any other number for practice getting past one of the common barriers.
- 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 to help them practice skip counting past the place value.
- With that established, 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. You can give an example. Say you are skip counting from 1 to 23 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, 22, 23.
- Stand in a circle and begin counting, saying BUZZ for any of your skip counting numbers. If students reach one of your skip counting numbers but forget to say Buzz, they sit down until the next round.

### FREE Skip Counting Puzzles

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular teaching tips and updates & get instant access to the free skip counting puzzles PDF:

Thanx,enjoyed the number puzzles. Looking forward to more of these activities.

Can’t wait to use this with my little year 1s!! Thank you!!

Oh yay, so pleased you like the ideas Carolina 🙂 I hope they enjoy them!

I would love the skip counting puzzles. Thank you so much!

Hi Lori,

Just fill your name and email in on the form above and they will be emailed to you 🙂

Cheers

Mel

Thanks for sending me these enjoyable learning materials!More power!

I love to have copy of the skip counting puzzles, thanks and god bless!

tnx for the free puzzles 🙂

I would also like the skip counting puzzles. Thanks in advance!

These are such a fun way to skip-count. Is there any possibility of getting these for multiples?

Many thanks,

Would love the skip counting puzzles.

Lots of great ideas here.

thankyou

Hello

Please could you email me the free skip counting puzzles.

Thank you for your time and help

Hi there,

Just fill your name and email in on the form above and they will be emailed to you ? If you don’t receive the email, check your spam and promotions folders as sometimes my emails can end up there.

Cheers

Mel

Loved ur skip counting puzzles

I love your skip counting