15 Hands-On Ways to Teach Telling Time (With Free Printables!)
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15 Hands-On Ways to Teach Telling Time (With Free Printables!)

It’s one of those skills kids are so proud to say they’ve mastered: “I know how to tell time!” Of course, it’s easier these days with digital clocks, but children still need to learn to read analog versions too. Try these fun interactive activities, and your students will be telling time in no time flat.

1. Make a paper clock

Child lifting the flip on a clock overlay to reveal 30 beneath the six (Telling Time)

One of the trickier aspects of telling time is understanding how the number one also means 5 minutes, the 2 means 10 minutes, and so on. This paper clock helps students make that connection. (Pro tip? Use paper plates to make this craft even easier.)

Learn more: Natural Beach Living

2. Color the spaces to learn the hours

Color My Space worksheet with highlighters

Another important concept kids need to grasp is how the spaces between the numbers work on an analog clock. This coloring activity is simple, but it helps drive the point home. Grab the free printable at the link.

Learn more: Around the Kampfire

3. Wear paper watches

Students holding clipboards and look at the time on each other's paper watches (Telling Time)

First, print and cut out these free blank watches from The Big Little Book Club. Draw hands on each clock face and record what time each student’s watch reads on a master record sheet. Have kids decorate their watch bands, then fasten them on their wrists and add the clock faces. Give each student a record sheet, then let them go around the room and ask each of their classmates, “What time is it?” They look at their classmate’s watch and record the time. Check their results against your master.

4. Make a clock with linking math cubes

Clock made of a circle of linking math cubes (Telling Time)

This telling time activity helps kids understand time both as a circular analog clock, and a time line moving forward. Gather your math cubes and visit the link to see how it works.

Learn more: Teaching Special Thinkers

5. Take it outside with a hula hoop clock

Student moving stick hands on a clock made from a hula hoop and sidewalk chalk markings

Pull out the sidewalk chalk and head outside for some time telling practice. A hula hoop makes a perfect analog clock, but if you don’t have one, you can just draw a circle instead.

Learn more: Creekside Learning

6. Dance around for musical clocks

Students dancing around the classroom to look at paper clocks on each other's desks

Start by printing out our free blank clock sheets here. Pass them out and have each student draw a time on their clock, then leave it on their desk. Give each student a recording sheet (included with the clock printable), then have them grab a pencil and get ready to move! Start the music and let kids dance around from desk to desk. Stop the music and instruct them to record the name and time on the clock of the desk in front of them. Start the music again and keep on going!

7. Shake up a carton of clocks

Collage of student shaking an egg carton of clock times and graphing the results

This awesome time-telling activity also gives kids some practice at creating bar graphs. First, paste analog clock faces showing various times into the bottoms of an empty egg carton, and add a marble or other small toy. Kids shake up the carton, look to see what time the marble landed on, and graph their results.

Learn more: Primary Theme Park

8. Add a hook to the hour hand

Analog clock with a pink pipe cleaner hook attached to the hour hand (Telling Time)

This time telling trick will help your students remember that as the hour and minute hands move around, the hour still belongs to the number behind. Clever!

Learn more: Around the Kampfire

9. Write the room with I Spy Time

Students using clipboards to write the times showing on paper analog clocks around a classroom

Post paper analog clocks with times filled in around the room. Students find each clock and record the time on their record sheet. For more of a challenge, write “What will the time be in ____ minutes?” underneath each clock. After students record the time showing, they calculate the future time too.

10. Match up plastic eggs

Plastic Easter eggs with analog clocks written on one half and digital and word times written on the other halves

Plastic eggs have so many uses in the classroom. For time-telling practice, seQ analog clocks on one half and write times (in words or digital time) on the other, then have kids match them up.

Learn more: The STEM Laboratory

11. Chill out with frosty clocks

Snowman heads with clocks on them, with time cards (Telling Time)

Turn a snowman face into an analog clock! Use these free printables for a variety of wintry time-telling activities.

Learn more: Kindergarten Worksheet & Games

12. Calculate the duration of your favorite activities

3 Activities time telling free printable worksheet

Ready to tackle elapsed time? Have students use this free printable worksheet to record the time they spend on three different activities, at home or at school. Think: basketball practice, dance class, watching their favorite TV show, eating a banana—or doing their homework.

13. Compete to win Telling Time Bingo

Bingo card with analog clocks set at different times in the squares (Telling Time)

Bingo is always a blast in the classroom. These analog clock bingo cards are customizable, so you can set them to match whatever time skills your students are working on, whether it’s hours, half-hours, quarter hours, or to the minute.

Learn more: Edu-Games

14. Race to beat the Rush Hour clock

Two toy clocks and a notecard with the rules for the Rush Hour game (Telling Time)

Use toy clocks and a die to see who can reach a goal time first! Start at 12:00 and choose the target time. Students roll the die and move their clocks ahead the specified number of minutes on each turn.

Learn more: Enza’s Bargains

15. Don clock headbands

Student wearing a headband with a paper clock attached

These clock headbands are fun to wear, and they’re also perfect for a game of “What Time Am I?” Kids ask each other questions to try to guess what time is showing on their forehead clock.

Learn more: Primary Theme Park

How do you teach telling time? Come share and exchange ideas on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, 18 Creative Ways To Dress Up Your Classroom Clock!



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