The Secret to Skip Counting in Kindergarten!

I’ve been teaching skip counting in kindergarten for years. Each year I do it a little different, but use the Rainbow Skip Counting set from my TpT store during our study. This year I finally discovered the secret for harnessing my student’s motivation and transforming them into skip counting experts overnight. This trick is so simple, I cannot believe it took me this long to discover the secret.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog. 

Before I share the secret with you, let me back up a few steps…

How to teach skip counting in Kindergarten

Before we dove into our skip counting unit, I pulled my students aside and asked each child to skip count for me as a quick pre-assessment. First by 10s, then by 5s.

Nearly every student could skip count by 10s. (Awesome!)

Only one child in my class could skip count by 5.

Not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed. We HAD been tallying our days of school and counting the tallies nearly every day. We were well past 100 tally marks and we had also been rocking out and skip counting with Dr. Jean.

I knew my students had been exposed to these numbers and even recited them with me on a regular basis so I was hoping they just needed a little jump start to ignite the skip counting expertise.

That day after school, I pulled out my “I Can Count by 5s Chart” (available in my Rainbow Skip Counting pack) and displayed it right beside the tally chart on my classroom easel.

how to teach skip counting in kindergarten

(I’ve had lots of requests for the tally chart I use in my classroom. You can download a free copy by entering your email below!)

Ok, back to my story…

When it was time for math the next morning, I gathered my students by the calendar and showed them our brand new skip counting chart. I also explained how it used rainbow colors to help us see the pattern when we skip count.

At this point, my students thought my skip counting chart was basically the coolest thing ever. So I asked if they wanted to try and skip count with me. And of course, they said yes. So I pointed and we skip counted all the way up to 100.

Skip Count by 5s chart

And then the real fun began. I pulled out a set of worksheets that look a LOT like my special skip counting chart. There was just one problem. All of the count-by-5 numbers were missing from the worksheet charts. I explained that it was their job to add the missing numbers with their pencil and when they were done, they would need to make a rainbow of their numbers to match the ones on the chart.

That news was music to the ears of my kindergarten students, but I kept giving directions and explained that their regular markers wouldn’t be the best fit for the job because their Crayola 10 packs didn’t have teal or light green or even light purple. Instead, I let my students use my super-special teacher markers (aka Crayola Super Tip Markers). This 50-pack marker set was practically made for rainbow skip counting charts!

crayola super tips markers

I wanted the charts to be accurate and without errors so I looked over each child’s chart before granting them permission to trace with marker. Once they finally had those markers in their hands, it was pure magic. My kids went to town!

Skip Counting by 5s in kindergarten

skip counting resources

I had each child use their newly-created chart to recite the count-by-5 numbers up to 100.

Then, the REAL excitement began. We created these charts for the students to take home and recite the numbers over and over again. The charts needed to be exciting to my kindergarteners, but they also needed to hold up for many uses.

So I decided to laminate the charts.

More importantly, I decided to let every child help me laminate their own chart. I plugged in my Scotch laminator and handed each child a plastic laminating sheet.

kindergarten skip counting resources kindergarten skip counting charts

Oh my word. You would have thought I had given each student $100. They were BEYOND excited that their chart would be laminated just like my teacher chart. A few of them even decided to color the edges of their chart so it would be even more like mine.

skip count charts for kindergarten students

I wasn’t going to take any chances with students getting burned by the laminator (even though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an actual hazard)  so I loaded their charts into the machine and carefully monitored the machine while it was in use. My kindergarteners watched in anticipation while each chart was slowly processed by the machine. Once the cycle was finally complete, I let each child remove their freshly laminated skip counting chart from the machine.

They excited talked about how “hot” their plastic charts were and I kept correcting them by saying, “No, it’s warm!” I had nightmares of my students telling their parents that Mrs. Gavin let them touch things that were so hot at school that day. Thankfully, there were no complaints.

skip counting in kindergarten

I sent the charts home in each child’s folder with a sticky note attached encouraging parents have their child practice counting by 5s using the chart.

The next day, I asked volunteers to skip count by 5s for me. ALMOST EVERY SINGLE CHILD IN THE CLASS COULD DO IT! I had one friend that was so close, she just needed a tiny bit more practice because she skipped 2 numbers in the sequence.

And THAT is the secret to developing skip counting experts overnight.

Let your students laminate the charts! Who knew?

how to teach skip counting in kindergarten

Our next challenge? Counting by 2s!

count the days of school in kindergarten

The Rainbow Skip Counting set is available for purchase in my TpT store. It’s differentiated and provides three levels of support for students as they skip count by 10s, 5s and 2s.

Rainbow Skip Counting

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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21 Responses

    1. Hi Lynne,
      I just added a link to download the tally chart for free to this post. Stop back and you can get the chart 🙂

    1. Hi Tracey! I just added a link to download the tally mark for free to the blog post. Come on back and grab it!

    1. Hi Marcia! I just added a link to download the chart in the blog post. Stop back at the post to grab the chart 🙂

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  2. Hey! Just like everyone else, I’m trying to download the tally chart to use in intervention with my kiddos, but it took me to a free emergent reader and sent me the same link in an email. Any chance I could get a different link? Thanks so much- I adore all of your stuff!

    1. Hi Kiersten, Hmmm… this is actually the first time I am hearing of that particular issue. Maybe try downloading the tally chart one more time from the blog post. If you are still getting the wrong download, please send an email at kindercraze@gmail.com

  3. I teach skip counting using songs starting at age 4. We learn songs for skip counting from 2s though 15s. This worked amazingly well for my 10 and 12 year old when they were younger. Now I’m working with my 4 year old. For ex. skip counting 3s is to the tune of Jingle Bells, 5s is Row, Row, Row Your Boat. When it was time for my older kids to learn multiplication, it took about 5 minutes to explain it. Now I can take a deck of flash cards from the 1s through the 15s and they can spit off multiplication facts with machine gun speed.

  4. This is my first year homeschooling and I am trying to teach my son skip counting. I love your chart, but have a question. Why the rainbow colors?

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)

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