Telling Time: Activities & Games for Kids

Instructor: Cara Rogers
Learning to tell time can be daunting for kids, but as an instructor, you can create all sorts of fun activities to help engage your young students. Take a look at these playful activities, games, and lessons that will build an exciting learning atmosphere for your students.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Telling Time

Sundial Fun

Introduce your students to time by demonstrating how time tracking works physically. Measure the time throughout the day by setting up a sundial outside. You will need:

  • A stick
  • Pebbles (1 per hour)

At the beginning of the school day, find a secluded area to take your class outside to the schoolyard. Place a long stick in the ground and note where it is casting a shadow. Put a pebble on the shadow to mark the position. Revisit the sundial periodically throughout the day to illustrate how time passes and to show how clocks work on a basic level. This exciting visual will stick with your students, and help them better understand the relationship between time and the sun's movements.

Craft a Clock

Before getting started with in-class practice, let your students build their own signature clocks. You will need:

  • Paper plates (1 per student)
  • Paper fasteners (1 per student)
  • Arrow cutouts (1 long, 1 short per student)
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils

Prepare the plates by marking each with circles where you would expect the numbers on a clock face as well as the center dot. As an alternative, you can print off a model for each student with a pre-marked blank clock template. Guide the students through inputting each hour number in the proper place, and begin to describe the different parts of the clock. Let the students decorate their clocks however they like, as long as they can see the numbers clearly. Next, tell the students to push the paper fasteners through the arrow cutouts and the center dot to finalize their clocks. Once construction is complete, you can reference this video on analog clocks and how to read them.

Make a TV Guide

Show your students how to time their favorite TV programs. You will need:

  • Printed image of an analog clock (1 per student)
  • TV guides (1 per student or group)
  • Pencils

Distribute TV guides, either to every student or to groups of students to share. Let them pick out their favorite shows, and write the names of them on the clock at the different times the shows begin. Alternatively, students could draw clock times beside a list of their favorite TV programs. Take a look at this lesson in time telling for kids to get a few ideas about what to point out and how to help your students through this activity. After working with them, your students will be able to build a schedule for their own favorite programs while also learning to tell specific times!

Additional Ideas

In addition to the activities above, you can have students practice telling the time throughout the day. Try surprising your students a couple of times a day by randomly asking what time it is to class. Then, have the students right down the time. You can also check out the lesson for telling time to the minute, which can help you expand your class's time telling skills. Consider offering rewards, like stickers, for students who answer correctly!

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