Skip counting is one of the most important skills that students need to learn. It helps them with multiplication and division, and it’s a skill that they will use throughout their lives. In this blog post, we will discuss 5 fun games and activities that you can use in your classroom to teach skip counting. These activities are a great way to warm up your students before a test or to review skip counting skills at the end of the school year.
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What is skip counting?
Skip counting is a mathematical skill that involves counting by a certain number repeatedly. For example, if you’re skip counting by 2’s, you would start at 0 and count up 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20. As you can see, skip counting is simply repeating a number pattern over and over again.
Why is skip counting important?
Skip counting is an important skill for students to learn because it helps them with multiplication and division. If students can skip count by 2’s, they will be able to multiply by 2’s easily. And if they can skip count by 10’s, they will be able to multiply and divide by 10’s easily. So, skip counting is a great way to help students with their multiplication and division facts.
I have always had trouble remembering what 6×7 is. I just can’t remember, however, I know what 6×6 is and I know how to skip count by 6’s – so for me, it’s a skill I use all the time!
Skip Counting Warm Up Games
Teaching skip counting is easy. It’s the perfect math concept to teach through your warm up! Here are 5 skip counting games that you can use as a warm-up:
Skip Counting Rote Learning
Starting from O, students skip count by different numbers as a whole group. Encourage students to call out numbers. Do as a whole class, boys/girls etc. It might be helpful to have some skip counting posters on display in your classroom or displayed on your interactive whiteboard.
Number Line Skip Counting
Give each student a copy of a number line. Ask them to choose a starting point and skip count by a number from that starting point. It is the perfect activity to practise when skip counting by 2’s as it leads to great discussion about counting by even and odd numbers.
Roll a Number Skip Counting
For this activity, students will need a mini whiteboard, erasable marker and a dice. You could some students might be better with a 6-sided dice, others a 10-sided dice. Roll a number and write it at the top of your mini whiteboard. This is your starting number. Roll another number – this is the number you are skip counting by. In 1 minute, students see how many numbers they can write down in the skip counting pattern starting from the number they rolled. See this game in action in my Instagram reels.
Skip Counting Buzz
Have you played the traditional game of Buzz with your students? This is a skip counting version. Students stand in a circle. Choose a starting number (eg. 0). Then choose a buzz number (eg. 24). Then students take it in turns to say a number in order around the circle skip counting by a number (eg. 2) until you reach 24. The person who is up to 24 says Buzz and sits down. eg. 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 Buzz. Then you go back to 0 and repeat. Continue playing until there is only 1 student left.
You can start from any number, skip count by any number and pick any buzz number. So it’s very open-ended and the perfect game to play over and over!
Skip Counting Scavenger Hunt
This is one of my favourite skip counting games to play! Write a bunch of numbers in a sequence on scraps of paper and hide them around the room. When you’re ready, students go on a scavenger hunt to find all the numbers. Then as a class put the numbers in the correct order, starting from 0. To make it harder, write two sets of numbers, skip counting by 2 different numbers and students have to work together to put numbers in the correct group.
Why and How Timetables are More than Just Memorizing Facts
Timetables are more than just memorizing facts. They’re a way of understanding patterns and relationships between numbers. When students skip count by 2’s they see there is a pattern (even numbers only), when they skip count by 10’s they see there is a pattern (the digits in the number change) and so on.
My skip counting geometric circles are the perfect activity for Grade 2 upwards to complete to really understand skip counting and look for skip counting patterns. See one in action in my Instagram reels.
To begin with, students skip count using a number chart and colour in the numbers. Then students use this number to create patterns. Starting from 0, students draw a line to the next number in the pattern, then to the next number etc. Some skip counting patterns create fantastic patterns, others are quite boring!
Check out the Geometric Multiplication Circles resource!