You thought this day would never come, but guess what, it’s time! Time for your child to make a clock to help them learn to tell time, that is. Mastering this skill can seem hard at first, but with hands-on practice, students strengthen their understanding of how clocks work. Here’s a fun activity that lets kids create a clock of their own, and then see the importance of time in real-world events, like a soccer game!
What You Need:
- Old frisbee, or a thick paper plate
- Scissors or a drill
- Poster board or heavy paper
- Paper fasteners (available at any stationery store)
- Circle-shaped stickers
What You Do:
- Start by making a small hole in the center (With a plate, you can use scissors. With a frisbee, you’ll need to use a drill). Let your child know he’s going to make his very own clock and that the frisbee or paper plate will serve as the clock face. If you have an analog watch or clock somewhere in the house, bring it to the table to use as a model.
- Ask your child to place one sticker at the top of the “clock face” and one directly opposite, on the bottom. With the marker, have him write the number 12 on the top sticker and the number 6 on the bottom sticker. Now ask him to place one sticker on each side, halfway in between the top and bottom. He should write 3 on the right-hand sticker, and 9 on the left-hand sticker. Then, referring your analog clock as a model, ask him to fill in the other numbers on the clock using the stickers and his marker.
- Now it’s time for the clock hands! Using the poster board, cut two arrows—a longer one for the minute hand, and a shorter one for the hour hand. Pierce the ends of the arrows with the paper fastener, slide it through the hole in the center of your clock face, and secure it at the back.
- Pick a day of the week and, with your child’s help, create a list of his activities. This might include soccer practice, a violin lesson, going to school, a playdate, a shopping trip with grandma…or just time spent eating a snack. Next to each entry, write the time the activity begins, rounding to the nearest half hour.
- Make it concrete! Help your child identify the hour hand and the minute hand on the clock face. Remind her that the hour hand shows the hour and the minute hand shows the minutes. Now, make sure she knows which hand of the clock is longer (the minute hand) and which hand of the clock is shorter (the hour hand). Pick an activity and find its time on the clock. Start with the activities that begin on the hour and then move to the activities that are on the half hour.
- If your child is having trouble, move the hands around the clock, naming each hour as you go. Then give your kid a go at it. Not quite there yet? Don’t worry. Telling time always becomes easier with practice…and time of course!
Sally is an experienced educator, with over 14 years of teaching experience. In addition to teaching, she has also created educational materials, including ancillary, textbook, and test items, for Grades K-8 for major educational publishers.