Learning to tell time on an analog clock face is a right of passage. Once kids learn how to tell time they love to show off their skills, but mastering how to read a clock face is not always easy. This telling time activity uses travel times and real world experience to help kids be less reliant on digital clocks!
Because this telling time activity utilizes practical experience with train schedules, it's great for kids who love transportation. Use the excitement your child might have about attending an event to generate interest in learning how to tell time.
Telling Time Activity Materials
The preparation is very simple, but you'll want to plan your activity around an event or day trip. Then make a travel times worksheet.
- Sheet of paper
- Quarter (coin), or other small round object
Telling Time Activity Instructions
On the left-hand side of your paper, list notable events and breaking points in your day trip. We chose going to theater as our event.
Our notable time intervals were:
- Leave apartment
- Arrive at train station
- Train arrives at station
- Train arrives at 42nd Street
- Show starts
- Show ends
- Time we meet dad at park
- Time we arrive at 42nd Street station
- Train arrival at 42nd Street station
- Train arrival at home station
- Time we arrive at home
We left the middle column of the worksheet blank. This is where you will write the time in number form (aka digital form), e.g. "4:42".
The right hand column consists blank clock faces. For each time, trace a circle around a quarter to make a clock face. Write in the numbers on the clock, but not the hands.
At each designated moment on our journey we noted the time both in the middle and right-hand columns. First write in the time in number format, then your child will draw the minute hand and hour hand in the correct position.
My son loved this activity! I was surprised to find out that he was able to accurately draw the clock hands! I don't remember teaching him that! His mind is like a sponge. Mine is like a sieve.
Our completed time telling activity worksheet:
The completed time travel activity worksheet is a visual aid to help kids develop a sense of how time passes and how the hands on a clock move. They will understand the meaning of the word, "clockwise," and the phrase "time flies when you are having fun!"
Variation: For a more advanced telling time activity, you could easily adapt this so kids make calculations about the time between each event.
Happy Time Travels!
Idea first published 2009, updated 2023.