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6 Strategies for Teaching Skip Counting

Let’s talk about skip counting!  This skill is sometimes viewed as an arbitrary math skill or something you recite on the playground.  Skip counting is so much more. It helps students see patterns in numbers as well as lays a great foundation for number sense and learning the multiplication facts.



Teachers usually don’t think about using calculators when practicing skip counting.  However, they can be a fun and useful tool when teaching this skill.

Teacher Tip:

Show your class how to change the beginning number by continuing to press the equal sign (Ex. 8 + 2 =, =, =, =). Pair students with a partner.  One partner states the new sum before the other partner presses the = button.  They take turns trying to say the number next number before pressing the button. It’s fun for kids because it is competitive and this strategy helps build number fluency.


Kids LOVE games! This is a very simple game that kids can play to make learning about skip counting fun.  Have students sit or stand in a circle. The teacher starts at a random number and have students skip count from that number until they go all the way around the circle.


Teacher Tip:
The best thing about this game is that you can modify it based on your needs. For example, to make it higher level start with a number that is not in the regular skip counting sequence. For example instead of simply skip counting by 2’s (ex. 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.), start at an odd number and skip count by 2s (ex. 7, 9, 11, 13, etc.) or skip count by a non-traditional numbers like 7 or 9.


Sometimes an much overlooked teaching strategy is questioning.  There are many types of questions that you can ask that can get your kids to think critically about skip counting.  For example, the most common thing students are asked to do is “Skip count by 2’s” try asking “How many ways can you count to 36?”  Instead of asking your students to count to 50 by 10’s, ask “Can you count to 50 by 11s? Why or why not?”

Check out my Skip Counting and Odd/Even Numbers Flip and Go Math Cards. They are great for providing questions in whole group or small group.




Using sticky notes can be a very fun and interactive way to practice skip counting.  One example would be to use an enlarged number chart and cover specific numbers with a sticky note.  Write one letter of the alphabet on each sticky notes. Next have students record the missing numbers on a separate recording sheet.In the example below, have students start at the number 9 and skip count by 3s.

If you love using sticky notes be sure to check out my post 10 Ways to Teach Math Using Post It Notes.


We all know kids love songs.  There are so many free resources about skip counting that will have your kids to move and teach math concepts at the same time.  Check out one of my favorites below:

Skip Count (…and then add on) from Harry Kindergarten Music – Harry Kindergarten Music has great music videos that incorporates a range of skills and concepts.  This skip counting video has excellent visuals.  It shows how to skip count using base ten rods and then adding on ones to figure out the total amount. It is a great tool for teaching math conceptually!


Students feel very accomplished when they are able to count by 2s, 5s, 10s, etc. But be careful! Students may appear to understand the strategy because they can recite a string of numbers, but do they really understand the purpose of skip counting? Pull out the manipulatives. Use snap cubes, candy. paper clips or any other objects you can find.

Be sure to ask guiding questions such as: 1) What do you notice?  2) How is the amount changing? or  3) If you continued this pattern, what would be the total number of objects in the 10th, 11th or 12th model?

Click on the photo below to check out this informative post from Math Coach’s Corner about why we still need to use those concrete objects when introducing this math skill.

Do you have any other ways that you teach skip counting in your classroom? Please share in the comments section.

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