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Teaching Kids to Tell the Time

Updated on December 6, 2014

Do your kids need to learn to tell the time?

Telling the time is an important life skill and one that parents really need to help their kids with at home. As a teacher, I know how little time there is in the math curriculum for teaching kids to tell the time. Also, the best place to practise telling the time is when you actually NEED to know the time, and have a concept of what kind of time of day it is. For example, to know that breakfast time happens about 8 o'clock in the morning - not 4am or 11am! That lunchtime is about midday and bedtime is about 8 o'clock at night. Getting some recognition of what happens when is a great place to start.

First Steps in Telling the Time

So how do you start? Make sure that you talk to your child about time throughout the day. For example, "look, it's 8 o'clock so it must be time for breakfast"." Quick, it is nearly 12 o'clock, I better start making your lunch." or "In five minutes it will be time to go shopping, do you think you can tell me when the big hand gets to the top for 10 o'clock so I know it is time to go"

Having some simple clocks around - analogue ones and also some digital, will be a big help. Ideally they will have the number of minutes marked too (i.e outside the number 4 will be a small number 20 to indicate 20 minutes past the hour), but at a minimum, ensure that they do actually have markers for each minute, so that it is clear that there are 5 minutes between each number.

Here are some recommendations.

Telling Time Games Online

There are many many EXCELLENT Online telling time games. Some of my favorites are listed here. I have used them in the classroom on the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) and my class have enjoyed all off them!

There are plenty of online helps for learning to tell the time. Listed below are a few of my favourite printables for home education learning to tell the time, and just things that you might like to do to check your child fully understands. There are a mixture of analogue, digital, converting between analogue and digital, writing the time, filling in clocks and even plenty clock worksheet makers!

Sand Timers

Children also need a sense of 'how long is a minute'. A sand timer comes in very useful for teaching this. Sitting in silence for 1 minute can seem very long, but when you are challenged to write the alphabet in just 1 minute, then it can see rather a short period of time. Get your child to have a go at guessing a minute and trying different activities in 'just a minute'

Telling Time Kids Watches for Boys

One of my favourite items for learning to tell the time are these fabulous watches from Timex. They come in a huge variety of elasticated straps (which are washable!) and the watches themselves are high quality. The dials show the minutes on the dial outside the hour digits, which helps kids to be able to tell the time more easily. They also have a light on them (press in the tiny knob that changes the time) so they can be used well at night.

There is a



TRACTOR WATCH - my son has this one.





... and MORE!

Telling the Time Watches for Girls

For Girls there is a







... and MORE!

Telling the Time DVDs

DVDs are an alternative way of teaching children to tell the time.

Telling Time Games

There are also many fun games to play as a family to learn to tell time. These include Bingo type games, Lotto, matching games and board games.


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    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Great info. I had never considered the importance of markers for the minutes, when my daughter was little.

    • JackNimble profile image

      JackNimble 6 years ago

      Awesome Lens! I need to be better about this for my kids. Now I know how to get started!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      YourFirstTime 6 years ago

      Great job - teaching little kids how to tell time can be really difficult. Love your ideas.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Great lens - good to see that not all kids are just learning from digital clocks. :)

    • littlelotus profile image

      littlelotus 6 years ago

      this is great :) very helpful..... thank you :)

    • profile image

      moonlitta 6 years ago

      Angels love your pages, here's one more blessing for a job well done;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lense! Time is such an abstract concept forchildren and very difficult to learn. You offer great advice and tools. Thank you!

    • profile image

      agenroy 6 years ago

      Your lens like teacher, I like this lens..

    • profile image

      GiftsBonanza 6 years ago

      Great resource for teaching the time - great lens!

    • pacrapacma lm profile image

      pacrapacma lm 6 years ago

      I love the free online games and all the other resources you've share here!

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 6 years ago

      You have a great collections of resources for learning to tell the time. I like analogue clocks a lot more than the digital ones.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      Just returning to say this lens has been blessed by the maths angel and added to my best maths resources lens.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      When my children were little, I made sure we had analogue clocks on the walls because I think they give a clearer indication of time. You have collected some great resources here.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      Great resource for educational games and nicely presented. I don't have to learn my child to tell the time any more but would certainly have bought one of these games to help him learn, for sure!

    • profile image

      Light-in-me 6 years ago


      My five year old son is learning to tell time. You have some great advice and resources here.

      Nice job,

      Robin :)

    • profile image

      Sojourn 6 years ago

      My 7 year old has been fascinated with time for a year or so now. Had to have his own clock in his bedroom. Always asking for x more minutes past his bedtime. Watches the clock to know when to watch a certain show, when to start his homework, when to take his shower. It's charming and not to over the top and I hope it's a great sign that he'll be organized and timely in his adult life! Great set of resources and some really cute clocks and watches for kids. Thanks!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      You have some great resources here! Nice job! Lensrolling to my homeschooling lenses.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a nice resource for helping kids learn to tell the time. Welcome to Squidoo!

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 6 years ago

      Very useful. We really like the stretch wristbands on the Timex kids watches. Very practical.