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Learning the Multiplication Tables - Skip Counting by Two and Three

Skip counting is a great way to start familiarizing a child with multiplication. There a lots of ways to do it, but using normal playing cards has advantages that no other way has. Here's a link to a free video you can view to learn a good way to teach skip counting with playing cards. 

If your child or student is learning to multiply, a good way to have them start out is learn skip counting. 

Skip counting is simply counting by a whole number other than one. It's counting by twos, threes, fours, etc. For example, skip counting by twos is the same thing as reciting the two-times tables. 

So what are the benefits of using playing cards to learn skip counting compared to staring at multiplication worksheets? 

  • Well, for one thing, it's not boring! 
  • For another, if you are actually counting objects, you have the tactile experience of feeling what you are counting. 
  • And there's the fact that you are saying the numbers (for a reason - after all you are actually counting something.)
  • So with skip counting, you get the trifecta of seeing, feeling and hearing. You experience the numbers in three ways. 
  • And it can be fun. If you teach your child to count, say, playing cards by twos, not only will s/he count the cards faster, but s/he will lock in the two-times tables in his/her head without having to stare at boring worksheets, watch or do any of those typical dumbing-down activities like watch cartoons teach them math, sing inane songs, or listen to baby-rhymes.
  • One of the advantages of using normal playing cards (not flash-cards or cards from some contrived kiddie-math games) is that playing cards can remain life-long friends. They are objects that exist in the adult world, so your child will not have that feeling in the back of his/her mind that they are being pandered to. 

Children can sense when their minds are being respected. When you teach them with methods that respect and foster their thinking abilities, instead of talking down to them, you are doing them one of the biggest favors you can do. You are also doing one for yourselfArticle Submission, too. 

You can watch a free instruction video of how to use playing cards to skip count by two and three at Skip Counting by Two and Three. It makes some interesting points.

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Brian Foley is a guerrilla-math teacher and professional magician. He teaches methods of thinking and learning used by master magicians.

If you are serious about teaching multiplication, you owe it to your students to check out his ”Numbers Juggling” e-book, e-course and videos at

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