Learning to tell the time can be tricky and frustrating for young kids, but parents can play a big role in making the experience a lot more fun and engaging.
Children learn to read the time from early on in school, but parents can play a big role in encouraging them to apply their knowledge in a fun and supportive home environment. Try these activities to get your kids telling the time … in no time!
1. Practice counting to 60
Before you try to teach your child the minutes in an hour, make sure they can comfortably count to 60. By taking this early step, you will ensure that they learn with confidence and ease, without growing frustrated early on and losing motivation.
2. Invest in a good-sized clock
What could be worse than learning to read the time while squinting at a tiny wristwatch? There are so many affordable, fun and child-themed clocks on the market, to make the whole learning experience much easier. A clock without a glass or plastic cover is ideal, so you can easily manoeuvre the hands.
Once your child has developed more confidence, you can then bring in a digital clock, and get them to match the digital time with the analog by moving the clock hands.
3. Get creative!
Cut out a circular piece of paper (or use a paper plate) and fold it into four equal sections. Teach your child how to draw the face of a clock on the paper, using the creases you’ve made as a helpful guide. Your child can even create ‘pie slices’ by drawing a line from the centre of the clock outwards to piece off each ‘hour’, and then colouring each pie slice differently. Use a pencil to act as clock hands, and use the pie slices by explaining that anything within a certain slice is _ o’clock (e.g. the first red slice is 1 o’clock, the second orange slice is 2 o’clock etc.)
4. Practice counting by 5’s
This helps with one of the trickiest parts in learning to tell the time; associating the hour ‘number’ with the minutes (e.g. if the little hand points to the number 8, this indicates 40 minutes). Practice counting by 5’s together, until they can do it fairly quickly without pausing. Then try pointing to numbers at random on the clock, until your child can quickly figure out the minutes that correspond with the number. Mathseeds Level 77 lesson teaches kids to count by 5s in a fun and interactive way.
5. Count down to an exciting event
It can be anything from New Year’s Eve, your child’s birthday or reaching your destination after a long road trip. You can prepare a bag of delicious treats and share them around each time your child reads an hour passing.
Mathseeds is the fun online maths program for ages 3-6. Children work through a sequence of interactive lessons and enjoy collecting exciting rewards, watching colourful animations and enjoying great songs throughout the program.
Visit www.readingeggs.com for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs and let your child experience the fun way of learning early mathematics.