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Skip Counting for 2nd Grade: Improving Math Skills

Do your students skip count? This helpful math strategy can help your students strengthen their math skills in many different ways!  In this post, I’m going to share some of the benefits of skip counting for 2nd grade students. I’ll also share some of my favorite ways to help second graders practice counting by a variety of intervals.  

2nd grade skip counting activities and tips

How Skip Counting Improves Math Skills

Most people associate skip counting with learning multiplication.  Students learn the multiples of each number by skip counting.  However, skip counting is actually a strategy that goes far beyond learning how to multiply.  This is why it’s important for students to learn how to skip count early on!  They will be able to master this strategy and apply it to a variety of math tasks. Here are some of the ways that skip counting can improve your students’ math skills.

1. Build Number Sense

Skip counting can help young learners see patterns in numbers.  For example, students might see the similarities between counting by five and counting by ten.  This understanding of number patterns will help students build a solid foundation of number sense.  As students begin to see more and more number patterns, they will be able to draw on this knowledge for many different math operations.

Count by 10s skip counting worksheet

2. Improve Addition and Subtraction

Even though we associate skip counting with multiplication, it is also very beneficial for addition and subtraction.  Once students have mastered number patterns through skip counting, they can apply this knowledge to addition and subtraction equations.  

3. Build Math Fluency

Over time, students will grow more comfortable with applying the knowledge gained from skip counting. This will help students improve their math fluency.  They will be able to solve addition and subtraction problems with more speed and accuracy. This improved math fluency will be very helpful to students as they begin to learn multiplication and division!

4. Prepare for Counting Money

Skip counting is a very helpful skill for counting money, both coins and bills! Improved skip counting fluency will help students count money with efficiency and accuracy.  This is an important life skill that students will use for the rest of their lives!

Counting money worksheets to practice skip counting

5. Understand Landmark Numbers

One of the most helpful parts of skip counting is that it helps students learn and establish landmark numbers.  When students have a solid understanding of landmark numbers, it will improve so many other math skills!  Students can use landmark numbers to improve their calculation skills, especially mental math, by using number relationships to solve addition and subtraction equations. 

Ideas for Skip Counting in 2nd Grade

There are many different ways to help your second graders practice skip counting.  I wanted to share a few of my favorite strategies for helping students see patterns in numbers as they count by a variety of intervals.

Charts and Number Lines

Charts and number lines are both helpful tools to use when you introduce skip counting. You can highlight the squares on a hundred chart or hop down a number line as you count by different intervals.  With this visual support, students are able to see the counting pattern as they practice.  For example, students can see that counting by 2s is just skipping one number and moving on to the next number.  They can also visualize that counting by ten is moving down a single column on a hundred chart. 

Fill in the Blank

With number patterns fresh in their minds, students can then practice skip counting with fill-in-the-blank activities.  These activities are perfect for morning work, math centers, homework, or small group practice!

Two skip counting worksheets

You can also use fill-in-the-blank activities that have students skip count backward.  This will help students prepare to use skip counting to solve subtraction equations.  When students know that they can use skip counting in a variety of ways, they will be more likely to use this strategy to help them solve problems.

Non-Landmark Skip Counting

The goal of skip counting practice is not just to memorize a pattern of counting to 100 or 1,000.  Instead, skip counting is a strategy that students can use for other math tasks.  One way to ensure that students treat skip counting more like a strategy than a memorized pattern is to use non-landmark skip counting activities.

A count by 10s worksheet with non-landmark items

For these tasks, students are given a number that doesn’t fall in the “traditional” pattern for skip counting.  Using a number that doesn't end in 5 or 0. For example, starting at twelve when counting by tens.  Students can then understand that counting by tens is not just reciting the numbers that end in zero.

Skip Counting Word Problems

Once students have had plenty of practice with non-landmark skip counting, they can apply that knowledge to word problems!  Students can look for opportunities to skip count in word problems that require addition and subtraction. 

A word problems worksheet that requires skip counting

For example, when the problem requires students to add 30 to a number, they will know that they can skip count by ten three times. Since they have had experience with skip counting from non-landmark numbers, it will be great practice for them to practice this skill in word problems.

Counting Coins

Students love when it’s time to apply their knowledge to counting coins!  When students have knowledge of counting from a variety of landmark and non-landmark numbers, it will help them count combinations of coins. Give students a combination of quarters, dimes, and nickels so that they can practice skip counting!

Skip Counting for 2nd Grade – Printable Activities

Are you looking for some activities to practice skip counting for 2nd grade students?  I have created a bundle of activities to help your students practice counting up to 1,000!  Students will count by 2, 5, 10, and 100 as they complete a variety of activities.  These printables are designed to help students master skip counting as a math strategy and not a memorized pattern.

If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this resource, you can find it in my shop on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click Here to Check Out the Skip Counting to 1000 resource

Save These Skip Counting Ideas

If you’d like to refer back to this post later, be sure to save this pin to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to quickly find these ideas and resources whenever you need them! You might also be interested in checking out this post about reviewing 2nd grade math skills at the end of the school year.

2nd grade skip counting activities

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