by Elvin Klassen

Is counting by 2s, 4s or 5s a challenge for your child? Your everyday calculator can be a simple tool to assist in teaching and reinforcing this important concept. Skip counting is an important prerequisite in learning multiplication and division concepts.

Take your calculator and press  +  and  2 . Then press  =  successively. The read out will show 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.

To skip count by 5s press  +  and  5 . Then press  =  successively. The read out will show 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.

To skip count backwards, enter the number with which you want to begin such as “100”, then  –  and  5  with successive  = s. The readout will show 100, 95, 90, etc.

Your child can use this activity in two different ways: observe and read out the numbers as they appear on the calculator or predict the next number before pressing  = . Then press  =  and see if the prediction was correct.

To make this a practical exercise, place 30 pennies on the table. Press  +  ,  3 , and then  =  each time you group three pennies. Then ask, “How many groups of 3s are there in 30?” As an extension place 32 pennies on the table and show that 2 pennies will remain or not be part of the complete groups.

After extensive experience with the calculator and without it, evaluate the ability to skip count by inviting the child to count individual items such as pennies or beans by 2s, 3s, 4s, etc. both forward and backward.

Permission is granted to copy, but not for commercial use.