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Teaching Skip Counting {It’s More Than Chanting!}

Teaching Skip Counting {It’s More Than Chanting!}

Our top tips for Teaching Skip Counting are guaranteed strategies to get kids counting fluently by 2s, 5s, or 100s. {Hint- It’s a lot more than chanting!}


Have you ever asked a child what skip counting is? Could they tell you..? They would probably respond with a 2,4,6,8… chant! Which is great except it is just that… a chant!

Before you start teaching skip counting, we challenge you to ask your kids “What is skip counting?” and then ask “WHY do we need it?”

We ask our learners these prior knowledge questions regularly and like to use the Frayer Model thinkboard to record their understandings. They really are an excellent tool and we have one for teaching number sense too!

We have created 4 FREE teaching skip counting Thinkboards and a Skip Counting With Popsticks Mat just for you! Get them at the very end of the post, but be warned there’s lots of other freebies dotted throughout the post too!


4 Free skip counting thinkboard templates

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Teaching Skip Counting

Teaching Skip counting is complex and has so many teaching points. We have done the research to find out what it’s all about, and why we teach it.  Stick to this teaching skip counting list and you won’t miss a thing in your lesson planning!

Here’s everything you need to know about teaching skip counting:

Skip Counting is:

  • Counting by a number that is not 1 and it is sometimes called ‘counting by…’ 2’s, 5’s, or by 100’s.
  • A strategy to help kids to count large groups of objects more efficiently
  • Important foundation concept that helps kids develop calculation fluency and number sense
  • The basis of multiplication and division
  • A pre-curser to move students from calculating by counting by ones to using number facts. For example, instead of working out 12 + 4 by counting 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, students can immediately add 4, or possibly add 2 twice

Teaching skip counting with pop sticks


Skip Counting Games

Here’s some of Skip counting games and resources to get you started.  These activities don’t just focus on chanting! These games are perfect for math centers and have been created to  help your kids learn and understand skip counting process as well as introduce them to ealy algebraic understanding!

Hint: Make sure you talk with your kids about how the number patterns are formed, using language like:

  • increasing/ decreasing
  • bigger/smaller
  • more/less
  • forwards/backwards
  • order
  • sequence
  • pattern
  • count

Skip Counting Grid Puzzles

Number Grid Puzzles are a fun hands on activity that will help your students remember skip counting number patterns. These hundred grid puzzles encourage students to notice the how the numbers change or stay the same in the skip counting sequence.

Skip Counting Classroom Posters image of product

Skip Counting Center Games

Teaching skip counting is more complicated than chanting a number sequence. Kids need to know when they should skip count as well as the number sequence.

To truly understand skip counting they need hands-on opportunities to count large quantities of objects too! They also need more practice with skip counting backwards, this seems to be extremely difficult especially passing from one decade to another.

Here’s some fun skip counting printables for counting by 2’s, 3’s, 4’s 5’s, 10’s, to use in your math centers to build deep understanding of the process.

Multiplication Games Printable Product Image


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Difficulties kids encounter when learning to skip count

Some of the difficulties kids encounter with skip counting tend to include:

  • Skip Counting backwards
  • Starting from ANY starting point e.g not zero or count by ten starting at 13
  • Counting across a decade, e.g. some kids may say 49, 50, 51 instead of 49, 59, 69
  • Crossing over the decades within 3 digit numbers e.g. reaching 100, 110, & 190 etc.

Skip Counting Activities

Students need to skip count every day to help build fluency. But it’s not just about oral chanting. Teaching skip counting needs to include:

  • Oral counting
  • Counting physical objects to find out how many of something there are – great for counting money too!
  • Writing the skip counting number string on a grid – Please make sure that you don’t always use a 10 by 10 grid as the children just see a visual pattern (colouring in) and not the place value changes in the multiples.
  • On a number line and in It is appropriate at every level, even in a more advanced context using negative numbers, fractions and decimals

Skip Counting Patterns

Use a number visual like Brent Vorgey’s to help students explore visual patterns in skip counting sequences. (Found in Jo Boalers Mindset Maths).

It’s such an open ended task that allows students to show what they know (and don’t know) but in a safe and positive environment. Students use colour pencils to represent the skip counting patterns that they can see in the visuals

Visualizing skip counting Brent Vorgys pattern

How To Teach Skip Counting With Popsicle sticks

Using popsicle sticks is another great way to practice skip counting number sequences. It’s a fun addition to any math rotation or a neat hands on activity for early finishers. For a simple math rotation kids just count the popsticks by 2’s, or make bundles of 5 or 10 to find out how many there are.

We initially created a couple of versions of these skip counting popsticks using a separate colour stick for each number sequence. In our version of this fun skip counting activity we:

  • Wrote the numbers in digits and words for some added help connecting number words & digits.
  • Added dots to show how the numbers related to a quantity
  • Included 3 task sticks that the kids used as prompts, including
    • Count forwards, Backwards
    • Continue the pattern, What’s the missing number?
    • Skip Counting by?

Free Skip Counting Game Printable

Once they were confident we then got the kids to make their own set of skip counting popsicle sticks using the natural sticks. Keeping everything the same colour made the task a little bit more challenging!

We made a printable to go with the activity that they used to show a written representation of the skip counting number sequence too. It also built in accountability when they used the popsticks during math stations.  To grab your FREE copy of the skip counting popsticks mat click the image below.

FREE Skip Counting Printable product image

Skip Counting Posters {FREE Printable}

Charts and visual classroom displays can enhance student learning and understanding.  They help your kids remember what they have learnt, recall and retrieve information for other activities and can extend their thinking.

Check out our Skip Counting Classroom Posters  and click the image to grab your FREE Posters.

Skip Counting Number Posters

Free Skip Counting By 2 Number Mazes Math Game

When Teaching Skip Counting it’s important to include activities that focus on teaching kids the number pattern sequence and not a visual pattern that you can get when colouring in a grid.

Our Skip counting by 2 number mazes pack includes 17 different mazes that can only be completed if the number sequence is understood! So you know that your kids are not just coloring-in, they’re learning!

We have also put together 3 FREE Skip counting grids for you to download. Click the image or the pink text to grab your FREE skip counting by 2 number mazes now!

Skip Counting By 2 Number mazes

Free Skip Counting Think Board

Here our the 4 templates for teaching skip counting. Click the image BELOW to get them!

We used a combination of the Frayer Model & the Think Board to create them, including:

  • Pre-filled think board including prompts for;  Definition – in students own words, Process – A space for kids to write the steps of how to skip count, a great one for partners to test out, Facts/Characteristics – a space to write as much as they can about skip counting, Examples and Non- Examples – show examples of skip counting and what’s not an example of skip counting
  • Board 2 has the same headings Definition, Process, Examples-Non-Examples – Facts/ Characteristics –  but without the student prompts in each box
  • The third free skip counting template includes spaces for kids to show skip counting on a number line (forwards, backwards from any starting point), with materials, and the process of how to skip count
  • The last free thinkboard template is a total blank so you can create your own!


Click this image to get your free worksheets.

Free Skip Counting Think Boards for teaching skip counting



More Skip Counting Posts…

Skip Counting By 2 MazesFREE Skip Counting By 2 Number Mazes


free skip counting printable number games

Teaching Repeated Addition 

Repeated Addition Free Printables

Free skip counting printable number games

think board templates

Think Board Templates

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By A+ Team

The A Plus Teacher has been a Primary School Numeracy Curriculum Leader and Coach for 16 years and now advisors A Plus Teaching Resources about Teaching Numeracy The A+ Team is Passionate About helping educators to save time so that they can concentrate on the most important job in the world... Teaching! The Team Creates Time Saving, Tried & Tested, Hands-on, Teaching Resources, Ideas, Organisers, Checklists, Printables, Posters, & Games! Visit the Website for Some FREE Teacher Worksheets & ideas! & Join our FACEBOOK Community

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