What Is Skip Counting—and Why Is It Important?

1 minute

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.

Want your kids to have the opportunity to practice working with numbers and money in real-life situations? Sign up for Stash101 for families, and encourage your kids’ teachers to use Stash101 at school. It’s a simulated banking and investing platform that’s entirely free, and it helps kids learn all about math and money—plus, they get to use their simulated earnings to buy real-life rewards!

Janessa Boulay

Written by

Janessa Boulay

Janessa Boulay is the Director of Education at Stash101. She taught elementary and middle school students in Colorado before becoming an entrepreneur by starting her own software company, PayGrade, in her classroom. In June 2020, PayGrade joined forces with Stash and became Stash101, a free financial literacy platform that educates 100,000+ students around the country. Janessa loves bringing quality financial education to educators, schools, and organizations by creating content for Stash101 and presenting at conferences and on webinars. She truly believes financial literacy can transform students’ lives and empower them to build a brighter future.