How To Teach Skip Counting With Effective and Fun Activities

Skip counting is a key math skill that students learn in the primary grades. It can be a tricky concept for students to grasp. Plus, coming up with effective and fun skip counting activities can be a challenge for busy teachers. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to teach skip counting with tips, tricks, and hands-on activities for teaching skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. 

How to teach skip counting

How To Teach Skip Counting by 10s

When you first begin teaching skip counting, it’s important to start by teaching skip counting by 10s. 10 is a friendly number and with students’ base knowledge of place value, it makes this the perfect place to start.

Skip Counting by 10s Anchor Chart

As with every math unit, I like to start by creating a skip counting anchor chart with my students. This counting by 10s anchor chart gives students a visual tool to see skip counting sequences in action. 

I believe that anchor charts should be student-made so they are more engaged and connected to the topic. To make this counting by 10s anchor chart, each student gets a pair of feet to represent 10.  

After coloring the feet, glue them on the anchor chart and label them together as a class. This is an easy and fun way to get the whole class involved when introducing skip counting by 10s. 

Skip counting by 10s anchor chart

Skip Counting by 10s Interactive Notebook Activity

After completing the skip counting anchor chart as a class, each student can complete their own mini version in their interactive notebook.

This skip counting interactive notebook activity allows students to apply what they’ve learned while also creating a reference tool for them to look back on.

Skip counting by 10s interactive notebook activity

Skip Counting Chains

After completing the skip counting anchor chart and interactive notebook activity, I like to incorporate a hands-on skip counting activity called Skip Counting Chains.

Give each child got a blank copy of a 120 number chart. As a class, skip count by 10s as you color the squares. Once everyone has their chart complete, cut them into strips of 10. Staple or tape the ends together to create skip counting chains. 

This hands-on activity helps create a great foundation in the concept of skip counting by 10s.

How To Teach Skip Counting by 5s

After students have mastered skip counting by 10s, you can begin practicing skip counting by 5s. How to teach skip counting by 10s can be translated into teaching skip counting by 5s.

Skip Counting by 5s Anchor Chart

To help students make the connection between counting by 10s and 5s, make another anchor chart as a whole group, similar to the one you made when teaching counting by 10s. 

This time, instead of using feet, trace each child’s hand and label them together. This is such an effective way to introduce counting by 5s and is an interactive way to include all students. 

Skip counting by 5s anchor chart

Skip Counting by 5s Interactive Notebook Activity

Once again, you can follow up this whole group anchor chart with a student version for their interactive notebook.

As students move through their number sense unit, they can quickly reference this activity when skip counting by 5s.

Skip counting by 5s interactive notebook activity

Skip Counting by 5s Hats

For extra practice with counting by 5s, you can make these fun skip counting by 5s hats. Students are already familiar with counting by 5s using hands, so this is the perfect activity to use to extend the learning.

Students will count by 5s and write the numbers on each hand. Then, they will glue them around the hat. Students can wear their hats during your skip counting lessons and use them as a fun reference tool.

How To Teach Skip Counting by 2s

Next up is how to teach skip counting by 2s. This is the most challenging way for students to skip count, so it’s important to build upon their prior knowledge and give them multiple opportunities to practice.

Skip Counting by 2s Anchor Chart

Can you tell I love anchor charts yet?! When introducing skip counting by 2s, create a third anchor chart to add to your collection to help students visualize counting by 2s.

To create this anchor chart, give each student a pair of eyes and label them together, counting out loud, as a class. Then, glue them to the anchor chart. The eyes and numbers help students begin to understand this counting pattern.

Skip counting by 2s anchor chart

Skip Counting by 2s Interactive Notebook Activity

Just like you did when introducing skip counting by 10s and 5s, have students complete their mini version of the skip counting by 2s anchor chart in their interactive notebook.

As the year goes on and students spiral review skills, this activity will come in handy if students are stuck when counting by 2s.

Skip counting by 2s interactive notebook activity

Skip Counting by 2s Sock Activity

After introducing skip counting by 2s, it’s super fun to help students make real-world connections with this concept using this skip counting by 2s sock activity. Students love it and it is something that they can easily relate to when counting by 2s.

To do this activity, have each student bring in a pair of socks or grab some inexpensive socks at the local dollar store. After having a mathematical discussion about things that come in pairs of 2, label the pairs of socks and hang them from the ceiling.

Using concrete objects such as socks can help students visualize the math concept and connect with it more effectively. You can even leave the socks up to practice skip counting when lining up or waiting for the final bell to ring!

Skip counting socks

Skip Counting Activities

Once you’ve introduced and practiced the concepts of skip counting by 10s, 5s, and 2s, I like to incorporate some hands-on activities for students to practice skip counting in all three ways.

First, hang up all of your skip counting anchor charts side-by-side so students can easily reference them during your math block and math stations. They are also perfect for a quick math warm up.

Skip counting anchor charts for counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s

Skip Counting Bracelets

Skip counting bracelets are an engaging and effective way to practice skip counting by 2s. To make these, count out 20 beads per student.

First, have them sort each set of beads by color. Then, let them string their beads onto a pipe cleaner. Twist the ends together to create a bracelet.

Students can wear these during your math block to help skip count by 2s. You can even call out at random times and ask students to skip count out loud by 2s. This is a great way to practice such an important skill.

Skip Counting Pocketbook

A fun and effective way for students to practice skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s is to use a Skip Counting Pocketbook. This allows students to skip count with various numbers and in different counting patterns and identify which pattern they are counting by.

Students will look at the skip counting strips and sort it into the appropriate category in their Skip Counting Pocketbook. This is a perfect independent practice activity or quick assessment to check students’ progress.

Popsicle Stick Skip Counting

To make skip counting practice fun during math stations, grab a set of colored popsicle sticks and write random number patterns for skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.

Students will put the sticks in the correct order and skip count following the pattern. To challenge students even further, you can make a few sets for your higher students that start at various numbers between 1-120.

This activity is simple to prepare, easy to differentiate, and helps students reinforce the math concept of skip counting.

If you want a fun and simple way for students to be able to check their work independently at math stations, draw a random line on the back of the popsicle sticks.

Once they’ve put the sticks in order, they can flip them over to check and see if they are correct. If the lines match up they got it right!

Skip Counting Puzzles

Skip Counting Puzzles are another fun way to practice skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. Students will follow the skip counting pattern to complete the puzzle. Then, they will color the pieces and glue it in their interactive notebook.

You can also store these puzzle pieces in baggies and use them as quick math station or independent practice activities.

Skip counting puzzles

Skip Counting Lesson Plans

If you’re looking for more fun and effective ways for how to teach skip counting to your primary students, you can find all of these activities and so much more in my 15-day 1st Grade Number Sense Guided Math Unit!

Number sense lesson plans

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How to teach skip counting
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