What Is Skip Counting—and Why Is It Important?
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Just like there are many different ways to get to the same destination, there’s more than one way to count to 100. Chances are good that you practice some of these ways without even giving it a second thought, but for your young kids, this may be an entirely new concept. If they’re beginning to learn about numbers and counting, they may have already been told that you can get to 100 by starting from 1 and progressing one number at a time: 1, 2, 3, and so on. What they may not have learned yet—or may just be learning now—is that you can also count by twos, fours, fives, tens, twenties, and even fifties to get to 100 faster.
What is skip counting?
The approach described above is what’s known as skip counting, and it’s a useful concept to teach your children. The idea is that instead of getting to a predetermined number (such as 50 or 100) by starting with the number 1 and continuing to add 1 to the previous number (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.), you can also get to that predetermined number by starting with another number (e.g., 5) and continuing to add that number to the previous number (e.g., 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, etc.).
Why is skip counting important?
Skip counting is a helpful and important skill for kids in kindergarten through third grade, along with older kids who haven’t yet learned about it or become completely comfortable with it. Teaching skip counting can help kids increase their fluency in regular counting and adding, along with boosting their confidence when it comes to making transactions with money. It’s also the basis for multiplication and division, along with being a precursor to developing number sense and fluency in calculation.
Teaching skip counting
What you’ll need:- Skip Counting Money activity sheet
- If you have these handy, assemble 30 pennies, 12 nickels, 12 dimes, 6 quarters. If not, you can cut out representations of these coins from the activity sheet.
How to do it: – Pour the coins or cutouts of coins onto a table and put them into piles by coin type (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters).
- Work with your child to skip count using different coins and values.
- Take turns practicing. For example, after you show your child how to skip count with nickels, ask them to show you how to skip count with dimes.
Talking with your kids
It’s important to talk with your kids about the particulars of skip counting in the moment and over time to reinforce what they’ve learned. Use these tips to further their learning:- Ask your child if they notice any patterns while counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.
- When kids are ready or if they bring it up, help them make the connection between skip counting and multiplying.
- If your child has trouble identifying coins by name, identify a coin to count and pull it out of the pile. Use the name of the coin often as you hold it up for your child to see.
- Repeat this activity with various coin types and values. If skip counting is still shaky for your kids, continue practicing by changing the number of coins they’re counting. That will give them the opportunity to figure out another total value.
- Reinforce their skills with fun related activities, such as those found here.
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