# How to teach children to tell time

Telling the time is tricky, especially for children. However, if you are a parent or teacher, you can make clocks together with the children to make it a fun activity. Before starting to make the clocks, make sure the children know the basics. Once they are done, you can start teaching them the different times.

## Steps

### Part 1 of 4: Learn the Basics

#### Step 1. Practice counting to 60

In order to tell time, children need to be able to count to 60 in the correct order. Ask the child to write the numbers from 1 to 60 on a piece of paper. As he writes each number, ask him to recite them. Then put the paper on a wall so that he recites the numbers regularly.

• While they are in public, such as in a grocery store, point to two-digit numbers and ask them to tell you what it is.
• To encourage him to learn, be sure to reward him with playtime or his favorite treats every time he gets it right.

#### Step 2. Have him practice counting from 5 to 5

Understanding groups of 5 will also make learning to say numbers a lot easier. Ask the child to write numbers from 5 to 5 on a piece of paper to 60. As he does so, ask him to recite them as well, and be sure to tell him that each number ends in a 5 or 0.

### Create a special 5-by-5 count song that has a catchy tune for your child to follow. You can even add dance moves to the song. For example, in every room, put your hands up or stomp. Sing the song frequently with your child to make counting fun in this way

#### Step 3. Teach him the general concept of time

The general concepts of time are morning, noon, afternoon, and night. Familiarize yourself with these concepts by associating them with certain activities, and then ask questions when certain things happen.

• For example, “In the morning, we eat breakfast and brush our teeth. At noon, we had lunch and took a nap. At night, we read a book and go to sleep”.
• You can ask the child the following: "What happens in the morning?" and "What happens at night?"

### Part 2 of 4: Making a watch with the child

#### Step 1. Take two paper plates and an analog clock

The paper plates will be used to make the clocks, while the analog clock will be used as a reference to tell the time. Place these materials on a table and sit down with the child. Tell her in an enthusiastic tone that together you can make your own watches.

### for example, “Guess what we will do today? We will create our own watches!”

#### Step 2. Fold the paper plates in half

Ask the child to hold their paper plate and fold it in half and then turn it over and fold it in half again. Both plates should have a cross-shaped crease in the middle, which will serve as a reference point.

#### Step 3. Put stickers and numbers on the clock

Ask the child to place a sticker on the top of the clock face, where the number 12 should be. Then, using the analog clock as a reference, ask him to use a marker to write the number 12 under the sticker. Repeat this procedure to write the numbers 3, 6, and 9.

#### Step 4. Write the rest of the numbers

After the child has placed the stickers and the numbers 12, 3, 6 and 9, ask him to place the rest on the clock. Finally, show him the analog clock for reference.

### For example, tell him to put a sticker in the position of number 1 and then write that number right next to it. Repeat this procedure for the other numbers

#### Step 5. Divide the clock into slices of cake

Ask the child to draw a line from the center of the clock to each number. Have him color each slice a different color.

### Start with red at 1 o'clock and continue using the colors of the rainbow. This will help you make the number progression more intuitive than just using random colors

#### Step 6. Make the hands of the clock

Draw two clock hands on a poster board, a long one for the minute hand and a short one for the hour hand. Ask the child to cut them using scissors.

### If your child is not old enough to use the scissors safely, then take care of doing it yourself instead

#### Step 7. Place the hands

Place the hour hand over the minute hand. Pass a German clasp through the ends of the hands and then through the center of the watch. Next, turn the watch over and bend the ends of the German clasp to secure the hands.

#### Step 8. Place the paper clock next to the analog clock

Consider how similar they look to the child. Ask if anything else needs to be added. Otherwise, continue with the other steps.

### Part 3 of 4: Break down the hours

#### Step 1. Establish the differences between the hands

Point to both hands of the clock and ask the child what is the main difference between the two. If he has a hard time saying it, you can give him a hint like saying "Is one longer than the other?"

#### Step 2. Pick the hands

After they have identified the lengths of both hands, explain the difference. Tell him that the shortest is the hour while the longest is the minute hand. Ask him to designate the hands as he writes the word “hour” over the shortest and “minutes” over the longest.

#### Step 3. Explain the hour hand

Point to the hour hand at each number, while holding the minute hand at 12 o'clock. Tell him that every time the hour hand points a number and the minute hand, 12, it means it is ___ o'clock. Go through each number saying “Now it's one o'clock. It is now two o'clock. It's three o'clock…". Then ask the child to repeat what you just said.

• Make sure to take advantage of the cake slices and colors. It reinforces the idea that every time the hour hand is on a certain slice, it means that it is ___ o'clock.
• You can even associate activities with each number to help reinforce your knowledge of the times. For example, "It's three o'clock, which means it's time to watch your favorite cartoons" or "It's five o'clock, which means it's time to practice soccer."

#### Step 4. Evaluate the child

With your help, choose a day of the week and make a list of five to seven activities with their respective times. Then indicate an activity with its respective time, and ask the child to place the hands on the correct number.

### Part 4 of 4: Break down the minutes

#### Step 1. Explain the double meaning of numbers

Explaining that the number 1 also means 5 and that 2 means 10 can be very confusing. To help the child understand this concept, pretend that the numbers are double agents with a secret identity, like Clark Kent and Superman.

• For example, tell him that the secret identity of 1 is 5. Then ask him to write a small 5 next to 1 and then do the same for everyone else.
• Be sure to indicate that it is necessary to count from 5 to 5. Indicate the secret identity of each number by singing the special song you created earlier.

#### Step 2. Explain the function of the minute hand

Tell the child that the secret identities of the numbers come to light when the long hand (ie the minute hand) points at them. While holding the hour hand in place, point the minute hand and indicate the related minutes. Then ask the child to repeat the process for you.

### For example, point the minute hand at the number 2 and say "Now indicates 10 minutes." Then point it at number 3 and say "Now it's 15 minutes."

#### Step 3. Teach him to read the hour and minute at the same time

Once your child understands the concept of the minute hand, you should teach him to read the hours and minutes together. Start with the simple times, such as 1:30, 2:15, 5:45, etc. Point the hour hand to one number and then the minute hand to the other. Then ask the child what time it is.

### For example, point the hour hand at 3 and the minute hand at 8. Tell your child that it is 3:40 because the hour hand is pointing at 3 and the minute hand at 8. Reinforce the idea that because the minute hand reveals the secret identity of the numbers, in this case it should be read as 40 instead of 8. Repeat this exercise until the child understands it perfectly

#### Step 4. Add the marks for the rest of the minutes

Once the child understands the five-minute intervals, add four marks before each interval. Begin by writing one, two, three, and four next to each mark between the number 12 and 1. Then, encourage the child to do the same for the rest of the minutes and count out loud. Then point the minute hand to one of the marks other than intervals and the hour hand to a number. Finally, read what time it is.

### For example, point the minute hand to the fourth mark and the hour hand to the number 3 and tell the child that it is 3:04. Repeat this process until you know how to read these marks on your watch

#### Step 5. Evaluate the child

With your help, choose a day of the week and make a list of five to seven activities with their respective times. Ask him to move the hands of the clock to indicate the correct times for the activities. You can help him at first, but be sure to repeat this activity until he can point the hands well without your help.

### Encourage him by giving him rewards for doing a good job. Take him to the park or the ice cream parlor for a productive lesson

#### Step 6. Increase the challenge

Once the child has mastered reading the clock they made, use analog, which does not have the secret identities of the numbers. Repeat this activity with said watch to see how well he has understood the concept of telling time.