How to Teach Your Kids to Tell Time

Time measurement is an important part of our everyday lives. But what is time? How is the passing of time measured or recorded? How does time pass and is it the same all over the world? Time is the measurable period during which an action, process, or condition occurs or continues. But this is a concept that can be confusing for little children. So, use simple ways to help children understand the concept of time. Explain to them that time is the passing of minutes, hours, days, nights, weeks, months, years, seasons etc.

Learning how to tell time is an important part of a child’s early education. Time rules every second of our lives. Learning how to measure time or tell time helps them understand how to utilize the time well. It helps them learn to plan and execute their plans, make better decisions and how to make the most of their time. Time management is an essential skill that all children need to learn. From going to school on time, boarding a flight or writing a test, everything needs to be done within a certain amount of time. Learning to manage time and using it effectively makes children responsible and paves the way for success.

Time is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, morning, afternoon, night, weeks, months, years etc. Here are 5 different ways in which children can be taught to tell time.

5 Activities to Teach Children How to Tell Time

  1. Measuring time using clocks: Clocks and watches are some devices used to measure the passing of time. Before you hand the child a clock or a watch, teach them to tell time using paper clocks. First teach children the space of an hour using the worksheet. Teach them to recognize the hour hand and the minute hand in the clock. Then teach them what point of time each number on the clock represents. Once they understand this, help them learn to tell time by looking at the number the hour hand (the shorter hand) points to tell the time to the hour. Then ask the child to look at the number that the minute hand (the longer hand) points to to tell the time to the minute. For example, if the shorter hand points to 3 and the longer hand points to 12, the time is 3 O’ clock.
  2. Days and months using a calendar: Another way to tell time is by using a calendar to measure the days, weeks and months in a year. Using a calendar, help your child learn the names of the 7 days of the week. You can also teach them the days of the week using a song. Then help them learn the names of the 12 months. Then help them practice using a months of the year worksheet to check their knowledge and reinforce the lesson. Once they understand this, help them learn about the number of days and weeks in each month.
  3. Seasons crafts: The different seasons we experience throughout the year are also a measure of time. The Earth takes 1 year or 365 days to travel around the Sun. As it orbits the sun, the amount of sunlight that the Earth receives changes everyday. This causes the different seasons on Earth. The easiest way to help children understand the concept of seasons is by learning about them through crafts. Help the child learn about spring, summer, autumn and winter using fun crafts to represent the weather you experience during each of the seasons. For example, flowers during spring, snowy landscape during winter etc.
  4. Telling time through lunar phases: The lunar phases or the different phases of the moon are also a way to tell time. If you look at the moon, you’ll notice that it looks different each day. It sometimes looks like a round, pearly circle, while other days it looks like a semi-circle and on other days it appears to be crescent-shaped. This is because of the different phases of the moon. The moon appears a different shape each day because of the relative position of the sun and the moon. Use these phases of the moon worksheet to help your child understand the lesson better. The lunar cycle lasts 28 days or a month and observing this cycle helps people determine the passing of the months.
  5. Position of the sun: If you don’t have a watch or a clock, you can also learn to tell time by looking at the position of the sun. If the sun is directly above your head, it’s afternoon. If you see the sun coming out slowly in the east, it’s morning. And if it’s dipping down low in the west, it’s evening and so on. Before the advent of clocks and watches, people used to measure the passing of time accurately using this method.

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