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How to Instruct Kindergarten Kids in the Skill of Counting Backward

The foundation of early education is built on the alphabet & numbers. It is with the introduction of these two concepts that introduction to formal education starts for kids all over the world. As your child enters kindergarten, simple counting may not be enough to challenge their math muscles. This is where counting backwards comes into play.

Why Is It Important For Young Children To Learn To Count Backwards?

Counting backwards is an integral milestone in the development of mathematical skills. It forms the base of several important concepts such as subtraction, negative numbers and problem-solving— all of which your kindergartener will have to contend with in their educational journey.

How Can We Help Kindergarteners Develop The Skill Of Counting Backwards?

As you may already be familiar with, teaching a new concept to a kindergartener poses challenges, especially when it is abstract. When posed with the question “how do you count backwards,” a natural response of a kindergartner could be to freeze up. Even though they may be familiar with the concept in some capacity, it will be difficult for them to recall and use that concept easily.

That is why when it comes to teaching the skill of counting backwards, the best approach is to gamify the concept and make sure that they can relate it to their daily life. With a dash of creativity and imagination, you can make counting backwards child’s play (literally!) Here are a few ways you can do that:

Begin With A Song And Dance: Incorporate Rhymes Into Your Lesson Plan

Musical melodies are a surefire way to reach the hearts and minds of our young ones.

All of the kindergartners may be aware of certain musical rhymes that are centred around numbers and counting. E.g., it could be “ FiveLittle Monkeys Jumping On The Bed” or “5 Little Ducks.” All these rhymes have backwards counting in them, and singing these aloud can help you introduce the concept. When explaining to children how do you count backwards, you can ask then to focus on how instead of going from smaller to bigger numbers, we are going backwards.

Get Moving: Use Movement Games To Count Backwards

If song and dance is not something you are comfortable with and you are still wondering how to teach backward counting to your young one, this strategy can help. You can play the classic game of Hopscotch, but introduce a twist to it. Draw the grid of Hopsotch and write the numbers in each square. Now call out the number backwards, ask players to hop on them and call out the numbers as they do so. This will help them recall how backwards counting works. You can also tweak other common games similarly to help your child learn this skill in a fun manner.

Help Them Picture It: Use Visual Aides

Some kids learn better when they can place things in their context, visually. If the above strategies have not helped your child figure out what is backward counting, you should try these instead.

Thread the needle

On a colourful string, thread 10 beads of different colours. Remove the beads one by one and have your child count it aloud. This activity will not only help them with the mathematical lessons but will also fine-tune their motor skills.

Counting stuffies:

Gather all the stuffed toys that your child may have and ask them to count the toys aloud. Once you have gathered a sufficient number of toys, you can remove one, and have the child call out the number of the remaining ones. Keep on repeating till you count backwards to zero.

Make Backwards Counting A Daily Affair: Incorporate Their Routine Into It

Counting the steps:

See how numbers come into play in their daily lives. Such as how many steps are there between their room and the front door. You may number the steps. You can then ask the child to retrace their steps back from the front door to their room while reading the number aloud.

Chant it out:

While doing some chores or going about your daily routine at home, you can chant rhyming couplets that have backward counting in them. E.g. “7,6,5,4 — it’s time to clean the floor” or “4,3,2,1 — Cleaning is all done.” Or say a chant to initiate lunchtime — “ 5,4,3,2,1,0 – Blast off to planet lunch!” Using silly voices or animated gestures would also make the lesson more memorable and attract the attention of your kindergartener.

Tips To Make The Lessons Successful:

You can lead your child to achieve success in their backwards counting lesson by remembering these simple guidelines.

  1. Start small:
  2. If counting backwards from 15 is too intimidating start from 10 or even 5. Even if the first lesson is not an immediate success, don’t lose heart. Be sure to reiterate your learnings.

  3. Encourage and give positive reinforcement:
  4. Assure them with your words and gestures that they are doing great. It’s just as important to acknowledge the efforts as it is to appreciate the result.

  5. Bring in the element of fun:
  6. Instead of asking kids how to write backward counting, why not ask them to sing it? Or play it? Don’t hesitate to mix it up with more fun strategies. It will make the learning all the more enjoyable.

  7. Engage their senses:
  8. With fun elements, try to engage all their senses. Be it through introducing music or play. A multisensory lesson is bound to have more impact.

  9. Be consistent:
  10. To develop the skill, it’s important to be consistent with the lesson. Make sure to incorporate it in some manner every day. However, introduce as much variety as possible.

Even if it seems daunting, don’t worry. With your guidance and encouragement, your kindergartener is going to master this skill in no time.

Teaching children to count backwards is not important just because it is part of the curriculum. Backwards counting is also essential to inculcating a knack for problem-solving and critical thinking which are incredibly important life skills too. Given how difficult or intimidating unpacking new concepts can be for kindergarteners, the best way to help them develop this skill is by marrying the actual logic of the concept with elements of fun, which will also go a long way in keeping any math phobia at bay.

At EuroKids, play is at the heart of early education pedagogy and curriculum. As an established educational institution with a seasoned faculty, it focuses on helping students understand and explore subjects holistically while developing crucial life skills. If you are looking for a school for your young one where they can learn while they play, and truly come to enjoy and appreciate their educational journey, do schedule a visit to your nearest EuroKids branch.

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