Skip count songs draw upon children’s imaginations in memorizing basic arithmetic sequences. Kids often practice the skip count choruses while riding trikes or bikes, playing catch, having lunch, riding in a car, etc. Remember that skip counting is a skill in its own right – it’s highly connected to multiplication and addition, yes – but it is a skill separate from either adding or multiplying. Skip counting is like the skeleton upon which basic facts and number relationships are hung.

From the 3’s chorus alone, a child can connect the following basic single digit addition facts:

3 + 3 = 6;  6 + 3 = 9; 9 + 3 = 12.

But the skip count songs go beyond single digit addition facts. Embedded in the 3’s chorus are further addition facts:

12 + 3 = 15;  15 + 3 = 18;  18 + 3 = 21;  21 + 3 = 24;  24 + 3 = 27.

For a child who has memorized the skip count related fact from the 3’s chorus that 18 + 3 = 21. So 18 + 3 = 21 connects easily and quickly to 19 + 3 = 22 and with 17 + 3 = 20.

These types of connections are just as plentiful in the higher number choruses:

• the 9’s chorus: 18 + 9 = 27 connects with 19 + 9 = 28 and with 17 + 9 = 26;

• the 7’s chorus: 28 + 7 = 35 connects with 28 + 8 = 36 and with 27 + 7 = 34;

• the 8’s chorus: 24 + 8 = 32 connects with 24 + 9 = 33 and with 23 + 8 = 35.

The point here is that the skeleton of the skip count choruses is a rich, highly connected, highly ordered arrangement of numbers that is so supportive of and helpful for the mental math that kids need.