|Babies||Walkers to 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Learning to count back as well as forward is a key skill which needs to be mastered before a child can start to tackle the concept of subtraction. Counting back from five is a good place to start as it’s easier for a child to use their five fingers to keep track of the numbers as they count. They need to learn the pattern of words that go with counting back as well as the concept of taking off one each time. This activity uses familiar songs to develops a child’s counting ability.
- laminated cards of the item featured in the song or pictures for each verse of the song for the wall
How it works
This activity aims to teach children to count back from 5 to 0 using familiar children’s songs. There are lots of songs that follow this counting pattern which you can use, however you will need to present it in such a way that the children can start to learn the counting back pattern and start to link it to the concept of subtraction.
What to do in the class
Introduce the song you are going to sing and explain to the children and parents that they are learning to count back from 5 to 0. Show the children the picture cut outs that correspond to the song you have chosen (e.g. of the frogs if you are singing Five Little Speckled Frogs) and lay them out on the floor. Tell the children that there are 5 frogs on the floor (you could count them as you lay them down). Explain that in the song they are going to sing one frog keeps leaving the group. Now get them to count with you from 5 down to 0 as you remove one frog each time.
As you sing each verse of the song, remove one of the frogs, and say how many frogs there are left before the next verse begins. When the song is finished again layout all the frogs and get the children to count down as you remove them and put them away again.
For some songs there are pictures for each verse which can be put around the walls of the hall. You can travel with the children to the correct picture whilst singing the verse, then count each of the items that are in that picture. At the end of the song, recap by counting down from 5 and pointing to the relevant picture on the wall.
Suitable songs/rhymes to choose from:
- 5 cheeky monkey’s swinging in the trees
- Counting Apples
- Five Little Speckled Frogs
- Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer
- Five Currant Buns in a Baker’s Shop
- Five Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day
- Five Fat Sausages
- Five Little Monkeys
- Five Jolly Pirates
- Five Cinderellas
- Five Little Men running in a Race
- Five Little Bunnies
- Five Jolly Santas
- Five Fat Pumpkins
Adaptations for older/younger children
No changes are necessary.
What to do in a nursery setting
No changes are necessary
5 Little Ducks
Five Little Speckled Frogs
Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer
Five Current Buns
Five Fat Sausages
Five Little Monkeys
Five Jolly Pirates
Five little Men in a Running Race
Five Little Bunnies
Five Jolly Santas
Five Fat Pumpkins