7 Practical Real Life Ways to Practice Time
I have found one of the most effective ways to practice learning to tell time with my child is to make it applicable to the real world. Just sitting at a desk filling out worksheet over worksheet, or thumbing through flashcards did not make it stick. It needed to have meaning for them. Once children know their numbers to 12 well, they are ready to start learning the basics of time. Here are 7 things I did that helped my kids practice time.
1. Give them a clock of their own- The first thing I did was hang up a clock in my child’s room in addition to whatever other ones we had so he had his own frame of reference. If you have a dedicated homeschool room that is a great place for one as well.
A simple clock with easy to read numbers, like this Childrens clock, that also includes minutes and quarter to, quarter past,etc.. It is not necessary to get this elaborate. Se just have a simple one with large easy to read numbers and dots for the minutes. I prefer the simplicity, as this is what they will use for the majority of their life.
2. Start with basic lessons – Give them a lesson or two (or five if needed) on the which is the minute and which is the hour hand. Point out the marks that identify each minute, where quarter after, half past, and quarter till are. Consistency is key.
3. Teach them A.M. and P.M. – I explained to my child that one time around the clock for the little hands was half a day; A.M., and another time was P.M.. Each time happens twice in one 24 hour period. I would ask my child things like “ Do we go to bed at A.M.? Or P.M.? Which did we eat breakfast at? I ask questions like this randomly through the day.
4. Create a schedule – Create a simple schedule with times. If your child is not yet reading make a visual schedule with pictures; snack time, bed time, meal times,etc. This gives your child a deeper understanding of the clock. If they ask what time dinner is have them check the schedule and try to figure it out on the clock; assist when needed.
5. Random Time Checks- Periodically throughout the day I will call out “time check!” and have them run to the nearest clock to give me the time. Let them have a moment to try on their own before helping or giving a hint.
6. Motivate them – One of the strongest motivators for my son was his video game or tablet play time. He has a set time everyday that he can play electronics. He would watch the clock carefully for his time. Set a time for a reward: video games, tv time, etc… and direct them to the clock when they ask continuously. This made the greatest progress for us in learning to tell time.
7. Let them play with the clock- Give your child an inexpensive wall clock to play with. Check thrift stores. You can always use these great practice clocks too!
My favorite toy clock is the Judy Clock because the hands move like a regular clock. There are gears inside that keep the hands in line. When kids have the freedom to experiment with the clock and really study it they have a greater understanding for how it works. It also keeps them interested in learning how to tell time.
These 7 practical real life tips should have you well on the way to helping your kids practice telling time. They will be reading clocks all over the place before you know it!