FUN AND INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES TO HELP KIDS LEARN TO TELL TIME

FUN AND INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES TO HELP KIDS LEARN TO TELL TIME

Learning to tell the time can be really fun and interactive. Check out this collection of ideas that can be used with groups of children in the classroom or with your child at home. There’s a number of ways these activities can be adapted to increase challenge and extend your children’s understanding of how to tell the time.

Learning to tell the time introduces a variety of areas of numeracy skills, and for that reason you can expect a 5 to 6 year old to be able read the hour and half hour markers, children aged 6-7 should know the number of minutes in an hour, be able to tell time up to five minutes, and be able to identify the quarter hour faces of the clock; and children aged 7-8 should be able to read an analogue clock, record and compare time, estimate time with increasing accuracy, and understand how the times relates to day and night. Visit

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What confuses kids the most about understanding an analogue clock, is that the numbers have two separate meanings. I love this idea from Amy Sperrazza, a second-grade teacher in New York City. To get her students' attention, she tells them that the numbers on a clock are double agents -- and they each have a secret identity. "I'll explain that the secret identity of the number one is five, for instance," says Sperrazza. "And that identity comes out -- like when Clark Kent becomes Superman -- only when the big hand is on the number." Swipe her idea, and practice the two identities of each number with your child on your clock at home. (1)

Before a child can tell time, they need to understand the basics of what goes into telling time. Follow these processes from MATH GENIE to ensure your child has the foundational knowledge to read a clock

  • Counting to 60: Children need to be able to count to 60 before they can tell time. Help them learn by having them read the numbers from a chart, write them, and recite them from memory.

  • Counting by Fives: Once your child has learned to count to 60, teach them to count to 60 by fives using the same method you used to teach them to count to 60.

  • Teach them the Concept of Time: Once your child has a grasp of the numbers associated with time-telling, they need to learn what time is. Help them understand the difference between morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night, so they can associate time with the different parts of the day.

  • Make a Toy Clock Together: When your child is ready, make a toy clock out of a paper plate and construction paper. Involve your child in the creation process of the clock to help invest them in the activity.

  • Connect Time to Their Daily Routine:Explain to your child how time relates to activities they perform throughout the day. For example, "It's 5 o'clock, which means it's time to eat dinner."

  • Practice With the Hour Hand: As the easier of the two hands to grasp, start teaching your child how to use the hour hand of the clock so they can relate each number to an hour of the day.

  • Practice With the Minute Hand: As the more difficult of the two hands to grasp, your child may have more trouble understanding how to read the minute hand of the clock. Teach them the difference between the two and don't be afraid to draw ticks on the clock or label each number with the number of minutes it represents until your child understands.

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