Telling time can be tricky for kids, especially in a world where digital clocks are everywhere. Learning to tell time on an analog clock is an important skill, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some fun games and activities to help your child with telling time.
Telling Time Games and Activities
This is a great game for kids to play while getting more familiar with the placement of the hours on the clock. All you need is a standard deck of cards (no jokers) and a little space.
The goal of the game is to find all of the hours on the clock before the Kings come home.
Clock Solitaire Directions:
- Shuffle the cards. Deal out 13 piles of four cards face down. Place 12 of the piles in the shape of a clock, with one pile representing each number on an analog clock. Place the remaining pile in the center. (see photo above)
- Draw the top card from the center pile. Let’s say it is an 8. Place that card face up behind the 8:00 stack.
- Draw the top card from the 8:00 stack. Let’s say it is a 3. Place that card face up behind the 3:00 stack.
- Continue in this mode. Anytime a King is drawn, it is placed face up behind the center pile.
- The game ends when all four Kings come home, or have been placed in the center pile.
- Students would then collect all the cards and start over.
Here’s a quick video demonstration to get started:
Tip: When students are building a clock, have them place the 12:00, 6:00, 3:00, and 9:00 positions first. Then it will be easier to adjust the remaining piles for space.
Build a Clock
When telling time on an analog clock, kids need hands-on practice. If you don’t have access to practice clocks, your students can make their own paper clocks. As you call out a time, students manipulate the hands to show what it looks like on the analog clock. This is a great way to check for understanding. You can find these printable clocks here.
Tip: When students struggle to remember which hand is which, write “hour” and “minute” on the hands of the clock to provide some extra guidance and support.
Telling time with the hour hand can be tricky for many kids. One way to combat this is to have students color-code their clocks. This helps them read the hour more easily as it moves between two numbers on the analog clock. You can find blank clocks here.
Clock Label Cards
To help students learn to tell time to the 5-minute mark, you might consider labeling the analog clock in your classroom with clock label cards. If you only need them up for a short period of time, consider using sticky notes.
If your school only has digital clocks, consider getting an analog clock for your classroom wall so your students become more familiar with seeing and relying on the analog clock to tell time.
Another great way to get your students aware of time is to add times to your schedule cards. Place blank analog clocks next to each activity. In the beginning, the teacher can label the correct times on the analog clocks. As students become more familiar with telling time, they will enjoy getting involved and drawing the times on the clocks.
Once kids have a good grasp on the hour and minute hand, one of my favorite games to play is Memory. Students can match analog and digital clocks. This game is available with time to the hour and half hour, 15-minute interval, 5-minute interval, and 1-minute interval (shown below).
Another option is to match the clock to the written form of the time. This helps kids become more familiar with terminology like quarter to, half past, and more. You can find a time freebie here.
Tip: Short on time or space? Instead of playing Memory, place the analog clock cards in a pocket chart. Then have students find the matching digital clock and place the card behind, or next to, the analog clock.
Tell the Time Dice Game
Another way to engage your students is to add dice. This Tell the Time game not only gets your students working with digital and analog clocks, but students must also evaluate whether the time created is real or not. For example, 3:52 is a real time, but 1:64 is not. You can find this game here.
Stop, Tell the Time
To build fluency with telling time, I like to play a little game called Stop, Tell the Time. Throughout the day, the teacher calls out, “Stop, Tell the Time!” Students quickly look at the analog clock and raise their hand when they know the time. Later, you can take this one step further. Give each child a small sticky note. Throughout the day, call out “Stop, Write the Time.” Students will write the time(s) on the sticky note. This is great for a quick, informal assessment.
Telling Time Certificates
When your students have finally demonstrated success with telling time, it’s time to celebrate. You can reward your students with these Telling Time Certificates. These certificates can be found here.
Another idea is to plan out a few small celebrations at specific times throughout the day. For example, at 10:15 put on their favorite Go Noodle. At 1:47, head outside for an extra recess. At 3:23, pass out a small snack or treat.
Resources for Telling Time
Don’t forget to read some books with your students, too. Here are some of our favorite Children’s Books about Telling Time.
Here are even more resources you might find helpful when teaching students to tell time.
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Have fun playing!