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4 Cool Ways To Practice Telling Time

What time is it? Is it almost time for recess? How long until lunch? Kids have a lot of questions about time. And so often we refer to time. They…

Learning to tell time is essential for kids. If you’re working on telling time with your students, check out these practice ideas.

What time is it? Is it almost time for recess? How long until lunch? Kids have a lot of questions about time. And so often we refer to time. They hear: It’s time for bed. We’re going to read for 20 minutes. We’re not leaving for three hours. It will take 2 ½ hours to get there. 

Learning to tell time is essential, and that includes a number of skills: 

  • Telling the time on an analog clock;
  • Showing the time on an analog clock;
  • Writing the time in different ways;
  • Using analog and digital time interchangeably;
  • Working out elapsed time;
  • Showing elapsed time; and
  • Ordering time. 

If you’re working on telling time with your students, check out these practice ideas. 

4 telling time practice activities

It’s easy to add in quick time checks throughout the day, which is a great way to keep kids thinking about and practicing telling time. Having a clock that students can manipulate, blank clock faces to fill in in different ways, and a few games give kids lots of ways to practice. 

Counting time

Because there are sixty seconds in a minute and sixty minutes in an hour, students should be able to count to 60 easily by ones. And since an analog clock face is broken down in five minute segments, students should be able to count to 60 by fives as well. Have students practice counting to sixty and skip counting by 5s as part of their time telling practice. 

Then use a demonstration clock face to ask questions like: 

  • It’s 1:15. Lauren is going to a party at 2. How much longer until the party? 
  • Pedro has 15 minutes to play before dinner at 6 PM. What does that look like on the clock? 
  • Django and Ruby are meeting at the playground at 3:30. It takes Django 15 minutes to get there. What time does he need to leave? It takes Ruby 20 minutes to get there. What time does she need to leave?

Students can skip count forward or back as they move the hands of the clock. They should either say the time aloud or show the clock face as their response depending on the question. 

Learning to tell time is essential for kids. If you’re working on telling time with your students, check out these practice ideas.

How much time?

Students often want to know how long something will take. This activity practices that. You can use this throughout the day working around your regular activities, or you can add in a fun activity for students to time. 

Tell students you are going to start an activity: reading time, writing time, etc. Have them record the starting time. Then begin the activity. When you are done, ask them to record the ending time and figure out how much time has passed. 

You can also use this for a fun brain break. Ask students to record the time, then start some music and let students dance. When the music stops, they should record the end time and determine how much time elapsed. You could also have students move in a certain way (hop like a bunny, waddle like a penguin) from desk to desk. When you call stop, they can record the finish time on the paper at the desk they are at.

Learning to tell time is essential for kids. If you’re working on telling time with your students, check out these practice ideas.

What did you do today?

You’ll need an activity sheet with several blank clock faces. You can add a digital set up and space to write as well to make this activity a great way to practice writing time in several ways.

This activity provides practice telling time throughout the day. Students can fill in part of the form at home and part at school. Label each clock with an activity, such as:

  • Wake up time
  • Leave for school
  • Morning meeting
  • Reading time
  • Snack time
  • Lunch
  • Recess
  • PE
  • Dinner 
  • Bedtime

Before you start an activity in your class, such as morning meeting or going to lunch, have the students stop and look at the clock. Ask: What time is it? Have students record the time (showing it in different ways) on their activity sheets. 

One challenge to this is if students are practicing telling time only to the half or quarter hour. You can tell them that you are going to give them a close time to practice with. Then show them the time (rounded to the unit they are working with) on a demonstration clock. 

Time matching game

We talk about time in different ways. Students need to understand the 2:15 and quarter past two are the same thing. They should also be able to read both digital and analog clocks accurately and say the time. Create a matching game by making cards with analog clock faces, digital time readouts, and different ways of expressing time by words. Use only two of each time you use. 

Have students lay out the cards face down. One student turns over two cards. If the times match, the student takes the pair. If not they turn them face down and the next student goes. If a student turns over a pair and fails to recognize it, the other play can “steal” the match. Play continues until all the cards are matched up. The player with the most matches wins. 

More telling time practice

I use task cards regularly to help students practice telling time. Task cards provide mini activities for students to complete. Task cards are an excellent way for students to review and practice particular concepts and skills you’ve taught. I use them in my math center, for early finishers, and also for remediation.

I’ve created a pack of Time Telling Task Cards that are ready to download, print, laminate, and use. The pack includes 60 time telling task cards with a mix of analog, digital and 24-hour time activities. The tasks help students with all the key skills mentioned above: 

  • Telling the time on an analog clock;
  • Showing the time on an analog clock;
  • Writing the time in different ways;
  • Using analog and digital time interchangeably;
  • Working out elapsed time;
  • Showing elapsed time; and
  • Ordering time.

Now’s the time to get your done for you Time Telling Task Cards. Get your copy here >> https://topnotchteaching.com/downloads/telling-time-task-cards/

Kids have a lot of questions about time and learning to tell time is essential. It’s easy to add in quick time checks throughout the day, which is a great way to keep kids thinking about and practicing telling time. If you’re working on telling time with your students, check out these practice activities. #timeactivities #timelessons #tellingtime #mathactivities

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