Keeping and telling time has been around since ancient times. We, as a civilization, have naturally wanted a way to keep track of our days, our nights and everything in between. Time was practiced many, many years ago in a simplistic and yet ever so complicated way. Whereas in the present day, time has been simplified into a machine keeping a rhythm all its own for each of us. The one thing that hasn’t changed about time is teaching it to the future generation.
Teaching young children how to tell time should be fun and kept simple. Children should learn time by the hour, half-hour, quarter hour, then minutes, and down to seconds. Children should learn both analog and digital time in order to be successful in mastering time.
In order to teach young children in a fun and simple way, one must be prepared. Being prepared means having great resources at your fingertips. I have compiled a list of great resources, ideas, websites and some general resources regarding teaching young children how to tell time. This is not a complete list but merely a starting point for those who seem at a loss for information. These resources are merely a starting point. They can and should be modified to suit the needs of the student(s).
First off, in order to teach time to young children the student must have a clock, in which the hands are movable and the face of the clock is clearly marked. You can find many good models out on the market however we happen to like The Original Judy Clock. A digital clock will also be needed but nothing fancy is needed as a digital clock is self explanatory. A good alarm clock style digital clock will be sufficient.
Next, easing into the subject of time can be easily done through books. Young children love to hear and see stories. There are a great many books available on the market as well but I have only included a few for reference. The books I have listed are some of our favorites and they were used over and over again in our home. Finding books without breaking the bank can be done easily by using the local library. If the library is not a great source of information, turning to Paper Back Swap can be another great source for books about time. When all else fails Amazon or Ebay can help keep costs low on children’s books. So these are a few of our favorite books on the subject of time…
• Telling Time with Big Mama Cat; Harper, Dan; Harcourt Inc.; 1998
• Telling Time with Puppies and Kittens; Murphy, Patricia J; Enslow Elementary; 2008
• Math Books: Time; Pistoia, Sara; The Childs World; 2007
• It’s About Time!; Murphy, Stuart J; Harper Collins; 2005
• I.Q., It’s Time; Fraser, Mary Ann; Walker and Company; 2005
• Clocks and More Clocks; Hutchins, Pat; Aladdin; 1994
• My First Book of Time; Llewellyn, Claire; Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd; 1999
• Train Leaves the Station; Merriam, Eve; Henry Holt and Co; 1994
After introducing time to young children through stories, a fun follow up is to play games or engage in telling time activities. Young children may or may not understand the concepts in the beginning but establishing these connections will be better accomplished through various activities, such as these:
Keep a time log
Tthis will consist of journaling all activities for an entire week. Young children will better accomplish this with the help of family members. This activity could be spread out over a few weeks time by journaling only the times in which the child ate, brushed their teeth, went for a walk, feed their pet, read a book, helped around the house, etc. Then at the end of the week or the end of a few weeks, the information can be made into a booklet.
These can be pre-packaged or handmade as the child gets familiar with each concept as they are introduced.
Make a Clock
Using recycled items and other items found at hardware stores, a simple clock can be constructed. All it requires is an old CD, peel and stick numbers, a clock works kit, and a lot of patience.
Make a fun game for young children and help reinforce those time telling skills.
Ask family and friends to help the child in surveying what time those people do certain things. For example, what time they get up each morning, go to bed, brush their teeth, eat certain meals, etc. Then when all the results are in chart the results. Doing several surveys over a period of time will help reinforce concepts and these results can also be compiled into a booklet for keeping after the course of time has elapsed.
In order to keep young children’s minds busy and enforce the new telling time concepts, worksheets and computer games are a great way to provide brain food. Included are four great websites that can help keep young children learning about time well after the lessons are over.
• Time Monsters – This site is a bit slow at first but provides a great overview of the site for the child. The site is very colorful and has silly monsters that pop up randomly. Overall this is a great place to play some great telling time games.
• Time for Time – This is a great place to go for five prepared lesson plans. This is a great site for the educator who doesn’t have very much time to prepare for lessons or for the educator who is still trying to figure out lesson plans. Read through the lessons, prepare and teach.
• Apple4theTeacher – I love this site and think that readers will too. Telling time activities flow here from interactive games, fun activities, lesson plans, teaching ideas and so much more. This is the ultimate site for mixed media.
• About.Com – No unit study is ever complete without actual worksheets and this website has so many to choose from that finding the perfect worksheet should not be a problem.
Telling time is a great experience to share with young children. It is amazing to watch their faces as they start to understand and then grasp the very concept set before them.
The resources that are compiled within this particular unit study are only a drop in the bucket compared to what is available. Get creative, look around through the eyes of a child and have fun teaching young children about time.
Apples 4 the Teacher
Paper Back Swap