I’m not sure why we were talking about feet, but with three boys in my home we have some pretty wired conversations. I’m standing in the middle of the living room floor with my arms full of laundry and we are studying each others feet. I listened to my four year discuss each family members feet in detail, why that is fascinating I don’t know, but through the comical dissertation a math question popped into my head. When the little guy finished describing, I asked him how many feet are in our family. Most four year olds would have counted each foot, but my little man surprised me. He started counting by twos, putting up a finger until he was holding up six fingers.
With his cute lopsided smile, that said he was quite proud of himself, he answered, “Twelve.”
How did my silly little four year old answer this word problem?
Simple, he has learned to skip count.
For the last year, our morning homeschool routine has consisted of singing skip counting songs. As the TV raps out counting songs for 2’s, 6’s and even 9’s my home is filled with laughter. C is adding his own silly movements with his often clumsy dancing feet. N shouts out the words in his off tune voice, and in the midst of it the twins are swinging their chubby little arms. My heart fills with joy as I see my blessings singing, dancing, and learning.
They love this time, and I love seeing them begin to use their skip counting knowledge as we explore math. My preschooler or my kindergartener do not know that they are multiplying when they solve a problem using skip counting, but that is what they are doing. Already at this young age they are developing schema to master the dreaded multiplication facts.
I’ve also worked with 4th and 5th graders who can not for the life of them remember their facts, but they can remember the words to a song and fully engage in games. Instead of shoving math facts down them, I’ve taught them to skip count through games and songs. They may not be able to do their multiplication as fast as the student next to them, but they can do it. That is what is important.
Anyway, our excitement over sea animals is in high gear right now, we just played a skip counting game that had us collecting sea animals by 2’s and 3’s. It was a ton of fun, and they demonstrated that they are becoming masters at skip counting by those lower numbers.
It is those 7’s and 8’s that get us though, right? Since my boys love games, I decided to create some simple, quick games that I could just pull out and work on those harder numbers.
There are three board games for each numbers 2 – 9, with cute monsters munching up the numbers. The players travel around the board skip counting as they move. Watch out though, if you land on a space where the monster ate the number, you’d better be prepared to tell what is missing. If you can, you get to roll again!! The game ends when a player finishes moving his way around the board.
Enjoy playing with your kiddos while working on skip counting and skills that will help your child be successful at multiplication. You never know when they will have the need to count some feet!
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