10 Classroom Ideas to Celebrate National Backwards Day

For quite a few years now, January 31st has been dubbed ‘National Backwards Day’. Some might say it’s just another nonsense day in the calendar, but it offers some interesting and exciting activities to try with children in your class!

Here are 10 fun ideas to try for the day:

1) Change around children’s names

Welcome children into the classroom by their last name instead of their first. Once you’ve explained about Backwards Day, you could try and have children rearrange their own first names from back to front.

Can anyone say their backwards name out loud without laughing?

2) Rearrange your classroom

Today is a good opportunity for a change in the classroom. Why not turn all the tables around to face the back wall?

A change of scenery can help stimulate the mind and engage your class, and it gives you the chance to try out some new furniture arrangements.

3) Change the day around

Depending on your school or nursery, you might be able to change the day around, and do things from back to front!

If you normally do a certain activity in the afternoon, can you do it in the morning instead?

4) Spell out the alphabet backwards

This a great opportunity to test out class knowledge of the alphabet.

How quickly can they say it together backwards, without missing out a letter?

To take the activity one step further, you could see if children can write out the alphabet backwards. If they’re successful at that, could they try out writing a sentence from back to front?

5) Count backwards

Like the alphabet, counting backwards is another great way to challenge little learners and see how good their memory is.

Are some numbers harder to count back from than others?

6) Draw something you see the back of every day

If art or drawing is on the schedule for the day, why not ask children to draw something they see the back of every day? It could be a bus, a car, or a person!

7) Wear a jumper backwards

Dependent on the kinds of clothing children wear in your class, you may be able to spend an hour of the day turning jumpers inside out and wearing them backwards.

Does it feel any different to wear clothes backwards?

8) Try walking backwards

For an outdoors activity or a PE lesson, you could see if your children are any good at walking backwards!

You might need to have children partner up and take it turns to guide each other, so they don’t bump into anything.

9) Tell a story backwards

Ask children to pick out their favourite short stories and fairy tales, either in pairs or in groups. Can they retell them backwards?

How does it change the story when you tell it that way?

10) Challenge children’s critical thinking

Whatever part of the curriculum you’re teaching you can use Backwards Day to get children thinking critically about certain questions.

If you’re talking about the food chain for example, you might want to ask your class something like: what would happen if mice ruled the food chain?

Or if you’re studying the weather, perhaps you might ask: what would change if it snowed in the summer?

Discussion question for the end of the day:

What would happen if everyone did everything backwards for a day?