Want to get your children to learn about time, in no time?
Reading the time on an Analog Clock is no mean feat for little kids. In all probability, it might seem to them like a giant puzzle they can make neither heads nor tails of.
Teaching time to kids involves an understanding of various mathematical concepts. Moreover, your child needs to be able to synthesise these concepts together, in an attempt to effectively understand time.
If you’re feeling stuck where it comes to teaching your child the concept of time, take a few moments to relax. You have found yourself at the right time, at the right place. In this article you will find some fantastic clock learning activities for preschoolers. Activities that will get them to understand time, in a far more efficient way.
Time to begin, with a simple clock explanation for kids.
A Simple Way to get Kids to understand an Analog Clock Better
Children usually struggle with double numbers on a clock. To get around this, here’s a simple clock explanation for kids.
Firstly, draw a clock on a piece of paper, marking minutes from 1 to 60.
When teaching kids to read a clock, here are the basics.
- A short clock hand indicates hours, while the longer one, minutes.
- When speaking of a particular hour, it is important to know how the hands work. For instance, when the time is 5 o’clock, the short hand points at 5, while the long hand, at 12. You can use a black marker to create both the ‘hands’, on your makeshift paper clock.
- Then move the long hand five dashes dash forward, by drawing another line with a red marker. Tell your child that it is five minutes past five now, and the time is moving towards six o’clock.
Fun Clock Time Learning Activities
Your child might have understood how to read that analog clock, but do they have a firm concept of what time really is?
Time is such an abstract concept, that children need many opportunities to actually experience it. Here’s some fun and interactive activities, to effectively drill that sense of time into those eager, impressionable minds.
Keep a daily routine
Create predictable routines – like 10 o’clock is Free Play Time, and 11 o’clock, Snack Time.
Use a countdown timer
This is a great way to help children visualise a particular length of time, and illustrate how it can run out.
Help them feel the Passage of Time
You could give them, say, five minutes to keep their toys back, so they can understand what five minutes feels like.
Use Sequence Cards
All you have to do here is create cards that have pictures of their daily activities. Then, ask them to arrange the cards in the order in which they occur.
Use Paper Plates to make Clocks
It’s tricky for kids to understand simple clock concepts. Like ‘how the number 1 also means 5 minutes.’ By getting them to create a clock on a paper plate, it will help make that connection a lot easier.
Teach them about the Different Aspects of Time
Time has many aspects – like time in hours, time of the day (morning, afternoon) and even, days and seasons. Help your kids learn them all.
Making a Rock Clock
Making a clock out of a paper plate seem too simple? How about one with rocks instead! Paint the numbers on the rocks with acrylic paints, and use sticks for the hands of the clock.
Talk About Time
It’s high time we talked about time. Time and again. You need to frequently use vocabulary like the following, around your children.
- This year, next year.
- Winter is coming soon.
- Dinner is at 7 o’clock.
The game of Bingo is forever a hit with kids! You can download some free Time Bingo Card templates, and get children to learn about time as they play their favourite game.
Analogue and Digital
In today’s world, clocks are largely of the digital kind. Like those in mobile phones or even a car’s dashboard. Help your children understand the difference between them and the analog variety.
These make for another great way to teach children about the passage of time. You could have children hop on one leg in turns, to see who can hop the longest.
Discuss Time with them
Sometimes, all you need is to have a nuanced discussion with your kids about time, to help them understand it better. You could start by asking them why we need to know what the time is. You might even discuss with them how we can tell the time from the sun rising and falling every day.
Giving them a sense of Elapsed Time
You can ask your child to close their eyes, and only open them when they think a minute has passed. This will give them a good sense of elapsed time.
Celebrating Special Days
You can turn a special day of celebration into a learning exercise. Tell them how special days like birthdays, repeat after a year has passed. This also gives them a sense of the multitude of special days in the year.
Get them Books that teach Time
Sure, books foster the imagination, but they can teach kids plenty of concepts, too. Like the concept of Time! Here are a few of our recommendations.
- T is for Time by Roland Smith. A great ABC book that uses time concepts and vocabulary for each letter of the alphabet.
- Bats Around the Clock by Kathi Applet. Bats in this book dance around the clock, teaching kids all things Time.
- What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf? by Annie Kubler. A great finger puppet book that teaches time to young kids.
At EuroKids, teaching the concept of time to kids is part of our curriculum. We are of the opinion that as children learn to tell time, they become more independent and are able to manage their own time with far greater efficiency.