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Teaching Children To Tell The Time In A Fun Way

Teaching Children To Tell The Time In A Fun Way

Telling the time is a difficult task for children. However, as a parent or teacher, you can make learning to tell the time a fun activity by making clocks with your children. Once you make the clock, you can then start teaching them the different blocks of time. Be sure your child knows the basics of time telling first.         

1. Write down the all the numbers you can find on the clock from 1- 60: Children need to be able to write and count from 1 -60 to be able to tell the time. Thus, have them write down all the numbers from 1 – 60 on a sheet of paper .Have them recite it as they write each number. As they write each number, have them recite the number as well. While you are out in public, point out double-digit numbers to your children and ask them to repeat the numbers to you.


Don’t forget to reward them when they do a good job.

2.   Practice counting by 5s like it is with the 5x table: Their ability to count in groups of five will make learning    to tell the time very easy. Have the child write down increments in fives on a sheet of paper up to 60.Let them recite the numbers as they write it down. Remember to give them this clue; all the numbers either ends with a 5 or a 0.

You can make simple- to – sing songs for your child to guide them remember how to count in 5s.

3. Teach them to know the general concepts of time telling: These concepts are morning, afternoon, evening  and then nighttime. Teach them to familiarize with these concepts by showing them activities that takes place with each concept. For example, after showing them that “In the morning we eat breakfast and go to school. In the afternoon, we eat lunch and take a nap. At night, we read a book, say a prayer and go to sleep.” Quiz the child by asking them when same or other actions happen after this. For example, “What happens in the morning?” and “what happens in the afternoon?”


After doing the above, assist your child to make a clock

Find two paper plates and an analog clock: Use the paper plates to make the clock a reference for making the other clocks. Place them on a table and sit with the child at the table. In an excited manner, let them know that you will be making your own clocks together; “We are going to make our own clocks today”.  

4. Fold the paper plates into halves. Have your child hold their paper plate and fold it in half. Then rotate the plate and fold it in half again. The paper plates should have a cross-like crease in the middle. This crease will be used as a reference point.

5. Place stickers and numbers on the clock. Help your child place stickers on the top of the clock face where the number 12 should be. Then using the analog clock as reference, ask them to write the number 12 under the sticker with a marker. Using the same process let them write the numbers 3, 6, and 9. For example, tell them to place a sticker where the number 1 should be. Then have them right the number 1 next to the sticker. Repeat this for each number.

6. Create pie slices on the clock: Assist your child to draw a line from the center of the clock to each of the numbers. Tell your child to color each pie slice with a different color to make it easy to differentiate one from the other. It will be pretty colorful to start at one o’ clock with red and work upward with other colours of the rainbow.

7. Create the hands for the clock: Draw two clock hands on a poster board; One to represent the long one for the minute hand and a short one for the hour hand. If they are old enough, they could cut the boards with the scissors themselves.

8. Attach the hands. Place the hour hand on top of the minute hand. Pierce a paper fastener through the ends of the clock hands. Then pierce the paper fastener through the middle of the clock. Turn the clock over and bend the ends of the fastener to secure the clock hands. Bring the paper clock close to the analog clock. Note how similar they look to your child. Together with your child, check if there is anything else to be added. If not, then you can move on to telling the time.

9. Differentiate between the hands: Point to both hands on the clock and ask your kid what the major difference between the hands is. If they are struggling, you can give them a hint; one longer than the other.

10. Label the clock hands: Once they have identified that the hands are of different lengths, explain the difference. Tell them that the shorthand is the hour hand and the long hand is the minute hand. Assist them to make these indications by writing down “hour” on the shorthand, and “minute” on the long hand.

11. Explain the hour hand. Point the hour hand at each number, keeping the minute hand at 12 o’clock. Tell your child that each time the hour hand points at a number and the minute hand points at 12 o’clock, it is ___ o’clock. Go through each number saying, “It is one o’clock now. Now it is two o’clock. It’s three o’clock…” Then have your kid repeat what you just did.

12. With your child’s help, pick a day of the week and write down a list of five to eight activities with their associated times. Call out an activity and its associated time. Have your kid place the hour hand on the correct number to show the time. For example, ‘school closes at 3 and its 3.Show that on our clock’

Breaking the Hours into Minutes

Give the double meaning of the numbers. Explain that the number 1 also means 5 minutes and that the number 2 also means 10 minutes can be quite confusing. To help your kid understand this concept, pretend that the numbers are double agents with a secret identity. This may help; tell your kid that the secret identity of number 1 is 5. Then have them write down a small number 5 next to the number 1. Repeat this for each number. Your special 5s song may help here.

Explain the minute hand’s role. Tell your child that the numbers’ secret identities come out when the long hand, i.e., the minute hand, points at it. Keeping the hour hand still, point the minute hand at each number and say the associated minutes. Than have your children repeat the process back to you. For example, point the minute hand at 2 and say, “It is 10 minutes now.” Then point the minute hand at 3 and say, “It is 15 minutes now.”

Add tic marks for the non-five minutes. Once your child understands five-minute intervals, add four tic marks between each interval. Start by writing one, two, three, and four next to the tic marks between the 12 and 1. Encourage/help your child to fill in the rest of the minutes, counting out loud as you go. Then point the minute hand at a non-five minute and the hour hand at an hour. Read the time. For example, point the minute hand at the fourth tic mark and the hour hand at 3. Tell your kid that the time is 3:04. Repeat this process until your kid understands how to read the tic marks on the clock.

Demonstrate how to read the hour and minute hand together. Once your kid has the concept of the minute hand down, you will need to teach them how to read the hour and minute hands together. Start with simple times such as 1:30, 2:15, 5:45, and so on. Point the hour hand at a number, and then point the minute hand at a number. Then say what time it is.For example, point the hour hand at 3 and the minute hand at 8. Tell your kid that the time is 3:40 because the hour hand is pointing at 3 and the minute hand is pointing at 8. Reinforce the idea that because the minute hand is the secret identity hand, it reads as 40 and not 8. Repeat this activity until your kid gets the hang of it.

September 6, 2017

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