With all the emphasis I put on skip counting, sometimes I get asked, “But what things can my child skip count?”
As I thought about that question, I started thinking back to… stuff … that I had my own kids count from time to time. This isn’t rocket science – it’s mostly a matter of keeping your eyes open. Just look for anything that either comes in same-size groups, or things that are already arranged in ways that they’re easy to count by 3’s or by 4’s or whatever.
A suggestion: be careful about letting your child too often skip count by 2 or 5 or 10. If your child really needs to master counting by 2’s or 5’s or 10’s, that’s fine. But once these numbers are mastered, (which doesn’t take long), focus on the other numbers.
Here’s my list – these are things that our kids actually skip-counted from time to time.
• coins on a table (we had an unusual amount of quarters one day, so we made stacks of four)
• clothes pins in a bucket (little fingers could hold three at a time, so we counted by 3’s)
• books on a shelf (in this instance we skip counted in several different ways, because all the items were right there on a shelf and just could be touched rather than being moved or picked up)
• desks in a room (skip count by whatever number makes sense – e.g., if they are in rows of 6 count by 6)
• seats in an auditorium (use whatever number your child can use to group the seats, e.g., groups of 3 or 4 work easily.)
• eggs in groups of 2 or 3 or 4
• days on a calendar (yep, in groups of 7)
• players on a bench or sideline (I think we did this in groups of 3 or 4, depending on how players happened to be standing or sitting)
• number of players in the starting line-ups of all the baseball teams in the National League (counting by 9’s, for 8-10 teams at a time; American League teams have 10 in their starting line-ups)
• six-packs of pop at the store
• eight-packs of pop at the store
• sets of 4 windows in a large apartment building
• baseball cards in a 3-ring binder full of plastic sleeves (nine cards per page)
Well, I think you get the idea. I tried to make these skip counting practices just a fun thing to do. When my kids were ages 4 to 7, almost everything that Daddy or Mommy suggested was fun to them. So we had fun with this. I hope you will too.