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Language and Communication Understands and uses front and back  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Activities to teach the concepts of "back" and "front". (These may also be used in preparation for working on 'back' and 'front' sounds).

Early years skill:Shape, space and measure
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Maths Shape Space and Measures
P-scales/Curriculum level:P7
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP42
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Drawing front and back

Paper and drawing materials

Miniature figure, doll or teddy

1. Ask the children to have a good look at the miniature figure from the front. Ask them to draw it (you can draw it also).

2. Now turn the figure around and ask them to take a look at it from the back, and to draw it again.

3. Talk about the pictures using the words "front" and "back" in your descriptions. Ask the children to say which ones show the back of the figure and which ones the front.

One child could be chosen to be the "model" and the others could draw them from the front or the back.

You could even be the "model" yourself...!


Toy car/van/bus/train etc.

Toy people or animals

Alternative models could be used for older and secondary aged children.

1. Put people/animals on the fronts of the vehicles: each time say what you are doing, e.g. "cat's on the front of the truck".

2. Tell the children to put people/animals at the front of various vehicles.

3. When the children have mastered this (could be in the same session or a later session), repeat (1) and (2) using "back" instead of "front".

4. Once you are confident that the children have fully understood both "back" and "front" separately, use both "front" and "back" to tell them where to put various items.

5. Let the children have a go at giving instructions with front and back too.

Some children will master this concept quickly, others may take longer.

Be aware that introducing two opposite concepts at the same time can sometimes cause initial confusion as to which is which with some children.

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