Skip Counting by 5’s

by Laurie Laurendeau on February 13, 2010


Skip Counting is counting by skipping over some numbers, but at regular intervals.  Skip Counting is important for a variety of Math skills such as Math Facts and Patterning.  Skip Counting by 5’s is important for such skills as counting nickels, counting for tallies, and for telling time (to 5 minute intervals).


  • We usually teach children to skip count by 5’s all the way to 100, since the pattern starts over again after 100.  Provide your child with a Hundred’s Board.  Using some clear plastic bingo chips (or any other small objects), ask your child to count begin at 1 and count 5 numbers, and put a plastic chip on the number he lands on (5).  Then ask him to count 5 more, and put a plastic chip on that number (10), and so on.  He will probably notice a pattern after a while, and be able to put the chips on the appropriate squares without counting.  Once all the 5’s are covered to 100, go back and say the numbers out loud with him, counting by 5’s.
  • Ask your child what he notices about all the numbers under the number 5.  He may need some prompting on this.  Point out that they all end with the digit ‘5’.  Repeat with the numbers under the 10 (they all end with a zero).
  • Practice counting things around the house, and put them into groups of 5.  Examples of things to count might be popcorn, chocolate chips, straws, Cheerios, etc…  Have fun by allowing your child to eat what he counts!
  • Give your child a handful of nickels (5 cents).  Tell him that because he knows how to count by 5’s, he can figure out how much money he has in front of him!
  • If your child has begun telling time to the hour and the half hour using an analog clock (clock with an hour hand and a minute hand), then he may be ready to learn about the 5-minute intervals.  As you show him that each large number on the clock represents 5 minutes, count by 5’s together.  Show him that this tells us how many minutes it is after the hour.
  • There are some commercially available practice pages such as Dot-to-Dots that skip count by 5’s that your child might also enjoy.


  • Be sure your child is able to count successfully by 1’s.  It is also helpful if he is able to count by 10’s, but this is not absolutely necessary.
  • Watch that your child doesn’t skip over any of the ‘tens’, for example: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25…40.
  • When children count nickels, they sometimes are confused with counting the NUMBER of nickels (ex: 7 nickels) versus the VALUE of those 7 nickels (35 cents).  Be sure to tell him that you are finding out how much money he has, not how many nickels there are in front of him.
  • It is important that you also practice skip counting by 5’s by beginning on other numbers other than 5.  For example, tell your child a number such as ‘45’, and ask him to continue counting by 5’s from there.  This is a very useful concept when counting nickels, as well as telling time.


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