Students don’t even need to be introduced to the concept of multiplication to be able to skip count. We usually start with counting by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. A lot of emphasis is given to this set of skip counting patterns, but we should encourage learners to work on counting by other numbers as well.
Motivate Your Learners with Puzzles
Puzzles and games are always a great motivator for students. For this reason, I have created several sets of fun skip counting puzzles that will encourage students to work on this important skill in a non-threatening manner. Each puzzle activity is self-checking and can be differentiated to address a variety of levels. I am offering a FREE set of two skip counting puzzles exclusively on the blog.
Click on the image below to download your FREE set of puzzles.
Skip Counting Lays a Strong Foundation for Multiplication Skills
Since multiplication is simply repeated addition, when we practice counting by 3’s we are practicing the multiply by 3 facts and the multiples of 3. Encourage students to build each puzzle and then read the skip counting sequence of numbers to you, to a partner, or to themselves. Hearing and seeing the pattern of numbers over and over again is what leads to future fluency. It won't take long for the sequence "3, 6, 9, 12,..." to become more familiar-sounding to your learners.
If you enjoy the free puzzles, you may purchase additional sets from my TPT Store. Each complete collection of puzzles available for purchase includes 14 sets of skip counting patterns. I recommend using all of these puzzles with young learners. They will benefit from the exposure to all the skip counting sequences found on these puzzles.
The puzzles look great printed in color on white paper or printed in grayscale on colored paper. For durability and extended use, I recommend printing on cardstock or heavy paper. Choose between Jumbo Large-Size puzzles and Small Ink-Saver versions. The jumbo puzzles are perfect for young learners and little hands. The small puzzles are more appropriate for upper elementary students.
Click on the image below to view the Valentine Skip Counting Puzzles.
Use the labels provided with each set of puzzles to create individual packets for morning activities, early finishers, or as an option in your math center.
Editable Puzzles allow for Differentiation and Skill Focus
As an additional way to offer differentiation, each puzzle is provided in an editable PowerPoint format. While working with younger students, you may wish to create sets of puzzles for counting from 1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 30, etc. Or you may create more advanced puzzles to challenge your learners.
Click on the image below to view the Editable Back to School Skip Counting Puzzles.