5 Fun Ways to Teach your Kids to Tell Time

Learning to tell time is tricky for kids as it’s such an abstract concept. Here are five activities you can do with your kids to help them learn to tell time.

A day in the life of __________

Get a large piece of paper and draw a number line. Segment the line by how many times you want to focus on for the day for your child.

For a pre-school or kindergarten student, this may be a simple timeline with morning, noon and night. Underneath each segment write the time: “Morning”, “noon”, “night”. Now, ask your child to draw something they do in the morning, something they do at noon and something they do at night above each segment.

For a grade 1 or 2 student, you may want to segment the number line by the hours they are awake each day – say, 7 am to 8 pm. Then either have them draw or write about each segment what happened to them at that hour.

Make a clock

Either draw, or find and print out a clock face without the hands. Then cut out the clockface. If you have paper plates at home, use one of those. Draw and cut out the small hand (to show the hours) and the large hand (to show the minutes).

Depending on how old your child is, ask them questions about what happens at what time.

For example:

  • At what time do you wake up? At what time do you eat breakfast?
  • At what time do you start school?
  • At what time does your lunch break start?
  • At what time do you finish school?
  • At what time does mom, dad or both get home from work?
  • At what time do you eat dinner?
  • At what time do you brush your teeth?
  • At what time do you go to bed?

Time printable worksheets

There are lots of sites that have created worksheets to help kids learn to tell time, as have we. We've put our telling time worksheets for grade 1 to 3 students on one page.

Books about time

Go to the library and search for books that have stories about telling time. Looking for some inspiration? These titles will get you started:

  • Bats Around the Clock by Kathi Applet
  • How to Tell Time: A Lift-the-Flap Guide to Telling Time by DK
  • Wipe Clean Telling the Time by Jessica Greenwell
  • Telling Time with Big Mama Cat by Dan Harper
  • The Clock Struck One by Trudy Harris
  • What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf? by Annie Kubler
  • Dinosaur Tells the Time by Jan Lewis
  • It’s About Time by Stuart J. Murphy
  • Telling Time by Jules Older
  • Little Hand, Big Hand by Pfiffikus
  • 10 Minutes Till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann
  • What Time is It, Mr. Crocodile? by Judy Sierra
  • T is for Time by Roland Smith
  • Me Counting Time by Joan Sweeney

Sidewalk chalk clock

As the weather is getting better, break out the chalk and draw a large clock-face on your driveway or sidewalk. Find twigs or small branches for the small and large hands. Now, it’s time to play. Try out these activities:

  • You call out a time and see who can use the hands to show the time first.
  • You show a time on the clock and your kids have to call out the time.
  • Ask your kids what time they do activities each day. For example, what time do you eat lunch? What time do you go to soccer practice?
  • You can also use the clock to work on elapsed time. For example, you start school at 9 am and finish at 3 pm, how many hours do you spend at school?