How Many Eyes Are In Your Family?

How Many Eyes Are In Your Family?

Skip Counting

When you look all around, you see things in pairs, threes, fives and tens.

Five Colored Dice
Five Colored Dice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a perfect opportunity to play with counting by twos, threes, fives and tens, or skipping to numbers that are multiples of two, three, five or ten.


  • The world around you


  • With your grandchild, identify a number of things that come in regular numbers
  • Everyone in your family has two eyes. Ask your grandchild to count the number of eyes in the family by twos. Mom has two, Dad has two, Grandma has two, Grandpa has two, grandchild has two. If there are five people in the family, that makes two, four, six, eight, ten eyes.
  • Identify other things that come in twos. For example, two hands, two feet, two elbows, two shoulders, two shoes in a pair, two gloves in a pair. Count by twos to find out how many hands, or feet, or elbows or shoulders or shoes or gloves are in the family.
  • Identify things that come in threes. Three lights on a stoplight. Counting by threes, how many lights are there in the stop lights between your house and school? Between your house and church? Three feet in a yard. Counting by threes, how many feet are in 100 yards, the length of a football field?
  • Identify things that come in fours. Counting by fours, how many feet are on the dogs in the house? What if you add cats?
  • Identify things that come in fives. Fingers. Toes. Counting by five, how many fingers are in the family? How many toes? Basketball team. Counting by five, how many people are on the floor when two basketball teams play?
  • Identify things that come in sixes. Depressions in a cupcake tin. Counting by six, how many depressions are in the cupcake tins in Grandma’s cupboard? 6-pack of soda. Counting by six, how many sodas are on the shelf?
  • Identify things that come in sevens. Days of the week. Counting by sevens, how many days are there from now until the last full week of the month? Until the last week of the year?
  • Identify things that come in eights. Eight hamburger buns in a package. Legs on a spider. Counting by eight, how many legs are on the spiders around your yard? Octave. The number of notes in a scale. Counting by eights, count the number of scales on a piano (88 keys).
  • Identify things that come in nines. Baseball players on a team. Counting by nines, how many people are on the field in a baseball game? Counting by five, how many are in the World Series (4 teams in each league are in the playoffs).
  • Identify things that come in tens. Fingers. Toes. Numbers in your telephone number. Pins in bowling. Counting by tens, how many fingers are in your family? How many toes? How many numbers in your family’s telephone numbers? How many pins in your favorite bowling alley?
  • Identify things that come in elevens. Number of football and soccer players on a team. Counting by elevens, how many people play in the National Football League (12 teams in the playoffs, 32 teams in the League)?
  • Identify things that come in twelves. Eggs in a carton. Months in the year. Members of a jury. Inches in a foot. Counting by 12, how many eggs are in a dozen cartons? Counting by 12, how many months are in the number of years old your grandchild is? Counting by 12, how many inches tall is your grandchild? How many inches are in a yard?
  • Optional: Using as many dice as you have in the house, turn all the dice onto a side showing the same number. Counting by ones, how many dice do you have? Counting by twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes, how high can you count with your dice?
  • Optional: Pour all the coins you can find into a pile. Separate out the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Counting by ones, count all the pennies. Counting by fives, count the value of all the nickels. Counting by tens, count the value of the dimes. Counting by 25s, count the value of all the quarters.
  • Optional: skip count backwards, from the highest number to the lowest
  • Optional: start with a different number and then skip count. For example, starting with 3, skip count by fives.

What Should Happen?

Two things will happen from this activity. Your grandchildren will start to notice that many things around them fall naturally into a fixed number of items.

They will also get comfortable counting by adding numbers one through twelve.

Why Is This Useful?

Skip counting makes it a lot easier to learn multiplication, streamlines learning how to add and subtract and underlies the skill of counting money. For instance, if you can skip count by threes to get to nine, it is a small step to see that three threes are nine, and eventually, three times three is nine.

If you are subtracting four from 15 and are used to skip counting backwards by four, starting at any number, you can subtract four from fifteen in one easy step. If you are used to skip counting by fives, it is easy to find out how much four nickels are worth five, ten, fifteen, twenty. Four nickels are twenty cents.

What fun you and your grandchild will have when you start looking around to find things with a fixed number of things – flower petals, tires on a bicycle or car, legs on an insect. This is another good thing to do while you are waiting in line with your grandchildren.

Thanks to for the inspiration for this activity.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”

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Comments (8 )

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  1. yearwoodcom says:

    Smart and helpful tips as always Cheryl. I wish I 'd had these when my kids were little, but I'll be well prepared for the grandkids (though it will be a few years before that happens). 🙂

  2. JeriWB says:

    This is definitely a fun one that could go on and on with stoking curiosity. Kids need that sooooo much.

  3. carolcovin says:

    I love having activities you can do while waiting in line at the store, or waiting in the doctor's office.

  4. As Jeri has mentioned. I do love the way it can build curiosity in a child. Healthy curiosity can lead to imagination and fun. I do love this exercise Carol. 🙂

    • carolcovin says:

      Thanks, Susan. I love that you and Jeri are thinking about the many ways to encourage a child's curiosity. My son and I used to play a game that tested whether the other person could find the thing in common among a series of objects named. He got very creative at it.

  5. Susan Oakes says:

    What a simple and fun way to help children learn Carol and using common visuals like you wrote about would make remembering easier.

  6. carolcovin says:

    Thanks, Susan! I like the idea of introducing numbers to children using things they see that fall naturally in those numbers so the numbers make sense in the real world.