Skip counting is an essential skill that is learned in kindergarten. It sets the stage for multiplication tables in later grades, counting money, and so many more things. But, teaching skip counting can be difficult. If you’ve got a kindergartener who is struggling with skip counting, then you are in the right place!
Today, I am sharing my set of FREE printable skip counting cards and 9 fun skip counting activities to go along with them. (Deluxe version available here.)
My middle daughter is not a worksheet kid. My oldest was, and still is, a definite worksheet girl. She loves activities and science experiments, too, but she (almost) never complains if she has a worksheet to complete.
So, when she was in kindergarten, we did a lot of worksheets. We did count and clip cards and activities, too. But, she really enjoyed sitting and working on her papers.
My current kindergartner….not so much! She’ll do some worksheets, but she almost never finishes them or complains if I ask her to. She has always been a more active and physical child, so when she started turning down her kindergarten worksheets, I knew I needed to try something different.
I started creating printables and activities that had us on the living room floor or at the refrigerator. I had her dancing to music or jumping around while she practiced new skills and she loved it! So, these skip counting activities are created for her. If you have an active child who has a hard time sitting still, has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, or is just bored with worksheets, then give these activities for skip counting a try!
You can sign up at the bottom of this post to gain access to the skip counting cards that I use in this post. (Deluxe version available here.)
Skip Counting in Kindergarten
Traditionally, kindergartners learned to count to 100. But, I think, and the standards now suggest, that counting to 120 is better. This gets the kiddos to the point where the pattern becomes familiar and they can keep going much easier.
Have you ever seen a child who learned to count to 100? What do they say when you ask “What comes next?”. It’s like you just asked them the greatest mystery question ever. “What comes next? You mean there are numbers past 100?” Counting to 120 takes care of that “what comes after 100” mystery problem.
The printable cards go from zero to 120 by 5s. I suggest starting by 10s and only adding 5s after your child is comfortable counting by tens.
Skip Counting Activities
Let’s get to the activities! I mean, that’s why you’re here, right?! Each of these activities can be used for teaching skip counting by fives or by tens.
Put the Cards in Order
This one isn’t too glamorous, but it is necessary. If your child doesn’t like worksheets, don’t be too worried that they’ll resist this game. When you take the pencil away and get them moving objects around with their hands, kids are naturally much more engaged. If your child is competitive, you could even time him or her and they could work on beating the “personal best”. Another twist is to have your child put the cards in order from greatest to least since most kids naturally put them in order from least to greatest.
For this game, you lay out two cards and your child has to find the card that goes between the two cards you chose. For example, you might put down 20 and 40. (Make sure to leave space between the two cards for your child to fit their card.) Then, your child looks over the remaining cards and chooses 30 (we hope!) and places it in between the 20 and the 40.
Again, take two cards, but this time they should be consecutive numbers. Lay the numbers down in order and have your child find the number that comes next when counting by fives or tens. You can just use one card, but I suggest starting with two cards because it helps your child hear the pattern in his or her head. Once they are getting better at counting by 10s and 5s, you can increase the difficulty by just sing one card and asking them what number comes next.
Almost identical to What’s Next? above, but this time your child has to find the number card that comes before the two cards you chose. This one can be a little more tricky for new skip counters because they can’t use the pattern to get them started. My daughter usually starts at 5 or 10, then counts until she says one of the numbers I chose and then thinks to herself what number she just counted.
Kids love to sort! Work on their number sense by having them sort with “greater than” or “less than” criteria. For example, you could say “choose all the numbers that are less than 40.” Or, “choose all the numbers that are greater than 50.” For an added challenge, you could combine the two and have them pull out all the cards whose numbers are “greater than 30 and less than 70” or something like that. Definitely start easy and work your way up. If you see your child getting frustrated, then take it back down to the easy level.
Say n’ Flip
This can be a good extension to putting the cards in order from least to greatest. Once the cards are in numerical order, have your child say each number and then flip the card face down. Now, once the cards are all face down, they start over at the beginning and say the number before they flip the card face up!
Jump and Count
This one is great for those days when your kiddo has some extra energy to burn! Lay the cards out in front of your child in a circle on the floor. Say a number and have them jump to that number. I would suggest not putting the numbers in order. That way, you can say the numbers in order (or have your child say them depending on the level of skip counting they are on), but they won’t just be jumping in a circle. So, say a number, your child jumps to that number, then they jump back to the center before you say the next number. Another way to play is to skip the jumping back to center – just depends how big your circle is.
Skip Counting Sprint
For this skip counting activity, you will need lots of space. Scatter the skip counting cards, either down a hallway or on the living room floor, something like that. Then, your child stands at a “starting line”. When you call out a number, they run to that number. Again, I would suggest making sure the cards are out of order, so they are not just running to the next number – make them think!
Name that Number
Again, scatter the numbers on the floor. Play some music and have your child walk (or if you are in my house, dance!) around the room. When you stop the music, they have to pick up the nearest card. They tell you the number – if they are correct, they get to keep the card. If they are incorrect, then you get the card. The person with the most cards at the end is the winner.
Another way to play this game is if they get the number incorrect, simply have them put the card back on the floor and they can try again next time they stop near that card. This is a good version for kids who are very non-competitive or cry easily when they lose. We are working on skip counting and we want it to be fun, so try to avoid the tears!