When my child was younger, he loved playing around with numbers and anytime he could explore systems and patterns he jumped at it. I loved showing him counting games and activities because they kept him occupied for a pretty good chunk of time. Skip counting turned out to be one of his favorite math activities.
But don't just introduce your child to skip counting activities because it keeps him busy so you can drink your coffee! Skip counting teaches important mathematical concepts such as:
- Foundations for multiplication
- Mathematical fluency
- Number recognition
Of course you could use worksheets, but hands-on activities are much more engaging and this type of kinesthetic learning opens up more neural pathways in the brain than just worksheets. Practicing skip counting at home and setting up an activity that reinforces the concept is not difficult, as you will see below.
Our Simple Skip Counting Practice
What you need for our simple hands-on skip counting activity:
- Coins. Coins are a fabulous tool for all types of counting and math activities. But, buttons, pebbles, even small toys will also work.
- Pen and paper cut into squares.
First label each small square of paper with multiples. We used multiples of five. 5, 10, 15, etc. But you could start with 2, 4, 6, etc.
My son then counted out five pennies for each square and lined them up against the numbers.
After that I actually didn't give him any instructions, but let him explore by counting and moving groups of five pennies around.
Being the number-lover that he is, this was great fun for him. He also did variations, such as taking away the squares with 5s on them (5, 15, 25, etc.) and counting only by tens.
He cracked me up because he demanded that I ask him math questions. So, I asked things like "If you had two groups of 5 and added 1 more group of 5, how many would you have?" For each question, he would manipulate the pennies to figure out the answer.
This went on for quite a while... but he also just liked playing with the pennies by himself, too.
More Hands-On Skip Counting Activities
Not every child is as obsessed with numbers as mine, but luckily there are a wide variety of skip counting activities out there. Here are some of my favorites, which are great for at home or in the classroom
Skip counting hopscotch. I absolutely adore the idea of mixing math learning into a gross motor physical activity. What a great idea for full body kinesthetic learning.
Skip counting paper plate lacing. While the hopscotch uses the whole body, this clever idea puts those fine motor skills to work.