Eating, sleeping, playing and reading – there is a time for everything we do. Before a child can tell time, they need to understand the basics of what goes into telling time. Start with the general concept of time: morning, afternoon, evening and night. Talk about activities that happen at certain times of day e.g. “we eat breakfast in the morning” and “we go to sleep at night”.

Explain the Clock Face

Show children how a clock works and read the clock with them. Clocks measure time in hours, minutes and seconds.

Hour Hand: Short and thick hand on a clock. The slowest moving.

Minute hand: Long hand on a clock. It goes once around the clock every 60 minutes (one hour).

Second Hand: Thin hand on a clock. The fastest moving. It goes once around the clock every 60 second (one minute).

Always remember:

  • 24 hours in a day.
  • 60 minutes in a hour.
  • 60 seconds in a minute.

How to read the time?

Time Vocabulary

Introduce time related vocabulary showed below:

When it is 15 minutes past the hour we normally say: (a) quarter past

  • 7:15 – It’s (a) quarter past seven

When it is 15 minutes before the hour we normally say: a quarter to

  • 12:45 – It’s (a) quarter to one

When it is 30 minutes past the hour we normally say: half past

  • 3:30 – It’s half past three (but we can also say three-thirty)

The day is divided into day(-time) and night(-time)

  • AM: from midnight till noon. Refer to morning time.
  • PM: from noon till midnight. Refer to afternoon and night time.

Make a clock with your kids with paper. Involve your child in the creation process of the clock to help them to understand time concept. Explain to your child how time relates to activities they perform throughout the day. For example, “It’s 7 o’clock, which means it’s time to eat dinner.”


Categories: Math Zone

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