Teach Kids to Tell Time


Telling time is an important skill for all children to master. Punctuality depends upon knowing what time it is. Here are some suggestions for helping students understand.

The Judy Clock

The Original Judy Clock (trademarked) is an unbeatable tool for teaching relationships between minutes, seconds, and hours. Real gears ensure the integrity of the relationships as the clock’s hands are moved. Large numbers show hours, with smaller numbers showing the number of seconds and a colorful gear graphic marking off the minutes between large numbers. Involve all a child’s senses in learning with this traditional classroom tool for teaching analog time.

Make a Human Clock

Mark a large circle on the floor with tape. Let students take turns being an hour, minute, or sweep-second hand so they can observe which moves quickly, which move slower. Other students can serve as timekeepers, counting the number of laps for the “second” or “minute” person.

Clock Display

Bring in a variety of analog and digital clocks for students to see. Explain how the 24-hour clock works as well and discuss how useful it is for computer applications, military use, etc. An hourglass or kitchen timer can be part of the display, too.

Applications of Time

Explain elapsed time using a stopwatch. Students can see who does the most push-ups in 30 seconds or how long it takes an ice cube to melt on a sunny windowsill. Get some time cards from an office supply store to teach adding and subtracting time worked.

Flash Cards and Worksheets

Find or make flash cards with digital display on one side and analog clock face on the other. Let students practice making the conversion. Online quizzes and other resources are available at sites such as ipracticemath.com.

Telling time is an important life skill for all students to master. Use these tips to give students a great start—and perhaps throw in a few lessons on using time wisely!

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