Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Editorial Team
Teachers introduce counting to early learners at the preschool or kindergarten stage. The forward counting becomes easier to learn with rhythmic rote learning and by participating in various rote counting activities. But, the same is not the case with backward counting. It is commonly observed that kids tend to take a pause when they are asked, “what comes before 7?”, for example. This pause is more evident when the child is asked to jump back from 40 to 39, or 80 to 79, and so on.
Though reading books is the most common thing to do to achieve comfort in counting forward, for backward counting, educators find the use of online games or classroom activities more useful. They say that online games and activities sustain learning, and concept retention becomes stronger.
Best Online Games for Learning Backward Counting
Let’s find here the easy backward counting games that you can offer to your kid to practice on a mobile phone. For classroom learners and homeschooled children, we have suggested some interesting activities too. Take a look.
Online backward counting games
3. Math For Kids: Numbers, Counting, Math Games
Whether it is forward or backward counting, this online game for learning numbers can help in understanding both. The game comes with interesting resources like practice levels, order and sequence tasks, addition and subtraction quizzes, and so on. All these features make it easy for kids to grasp backward counting and understand the logic behind it.
Game Link: Playstore
2. 123 Toddler games for 2 3 year
123 Toddler games app is designed for preschoolers who are in the process of developing and achieving number sense goals. However, it does not stop at telling about the quantities only.
The players can inculcate lots of other number sequencing skills that include backward counting, number dodging, doubling or tripling the numbers, etc. With a multitude of activities, tasks, play levels, and exercises, the kids continue to learn and challenge their minds to try new problems without wavering enthusiasm.
Game Link: App Store
1. Kids’ Number and Math
It is a very engaging educational game that helps master the actual process happening behind counting backward. With quizzes focused on telling the missing numbers, sequencing the numbers, and making patterns as well as doing operations like taking out things from a picture, the child gets to internalize what counting in reverse means.
Game Link: Playstore
Activities useful for mastering the backward counting
1. Chair game: It is a classroom game that can remind children of musical chairs. The only difference is kids sit on the chair and others recite the number assigned to them. The teacher assigns numbers 1 and 5 to the children and does the same to the chairs.
Kids speak out numbers 1, 2, and so on and kids sit on chairs accordingly. Now, the kids speak the numbers again and the fifth child sits on the fifth chair first. Kids count 5,4,3 and accordingly, kids grab their chairs. (Extracted from book Pre Number Reading, chapter 8)
2. Balloon game: The teacher gives five balloons to a child and demonstrates to the class how to use these to practice backward counting. The teacher starts taking balloons back one by one from the child and makes him count the balloons remaining with him with each balloon taken away. This means, starting with 5, the child counts 4, 3, 2 each time one balloon is gone. The teacher announces the last balloon remaining with them to be their reward if they speak out the numbers correctly.
3. Moving Numbers on Strips: Make a number strip having numbers 1 to 10 placed equidistantly. Place a slider on the strip at number 10 and keep retracting the strip while making the child read the number appearing. The backward movement helps internalize the concept of going reverse while counting from 10 to 1.
Problems that become easy to solve with backward counting games and activities
Following problems become easy to tackle with backward counting games and activities
1. Missing the numbers in a sequence: Children do not miss the numbers while counting backward. They confidently go from start to finish when any series, say 13-1, is given to them to iterate.
2. Fumbling while speaking number names: Children stop fumbling and become more lucid while doing reverse counting
3. Use of fingers while doing reverse counting: With constant practice and participating in activities, the kids get the essence of going down a sequence; thus, they stop depending on finger use for counting and become more fluent
4. Math anxiety: Many young learners deal with math anxiety. They tend to avoid backward counting because of the stress caused by conventional mental calculation methods. Games and activities take the anxiety out and help bend the minds to attain flexibility with reverse counting through practical means.
Counting backward is not just another milestone that kids achieve when they are a particular age. It is a skill that needs numerous rounds of practice to become proficient. Most children are ready to learn to count backward when they are somewhere between three and five years of age.
Parents and teachers can begin with backward counting from 5 to 1 and then move to 10 to 1 as kids gain confidence and fluency in saying numbers in reverse order. By integrating engaging backward counting games and activities at home or in the classroom, you can provide ample opportunities for kids to work on this skill, and soon enough, you will hear them counting down with certainty and no hesitation.
- Deal or No Deal: using games to improve student learning, retention, and Decision-making – An Article in International Journal of Mathematical Education (Alan Chow, Kelly Woodford, Jeanne D Maes, University of South Alabama)