Learning to Tell the Time

Learning to Tell the Time: For the last month or so I have been trying to tech Monkey how to tell the time, I would be lying if I said it was a simple task. He is slowly starting to get the hang of it and I am confident by the time he goes back to school he will be able to understand, on the hour as well as half and quarters. Part of the reason I want to do this is because in year one he will be spending less time in a ‘free flow’ environment. His lessons will become more structured which I know he will struggle with on a number of levels. The main being that a lot of his close friends are in the same year group but in different classes. He looks forward to free flow because it allows him to play with them. But this will be reserved for just playtimes in September. Being able to read a clock will at least allow him to work out when he will get a chance to see them. Don’t get me wrong he does have plenty of friends in his class as well, but I thought this may help.

With this in mind we have been trying out a few techniques:
  • We’ve hung a special wall clock in his bedroom to get him use to looking at a clock, which has minutes as well as hours on it. Whenever we are in his room together I will encourage him to tell me the time.
  • Learning to count in fives has been an important part – although he doesn’t totally understand how these relate to the clock at the moment (despite the above point). But its definitely helping him to understand.
  • A good teacher friend of mine – Pondering Parenthood suggested – Talking about the short hand of the clock being for hours and the long hand for minutes. Start by talking about what o’clock looks like, and practice telling o’clock times until that’s secure. Then move onto half past. Once your child is confident with o’clock and half past, move on to quarter past and quarter to. Try to make sure that at each stage, you’re using all the different relevant vocabulary; e.g. half past seven, seven thirty; then quarter past seven, seven fifteen, fifteen minutes past seven etc. and don’t move onto the next until those are secure.
  • She also said that you should not move onto digital time until analogue is cemented.
  • I have been reading stories which include a clock such as – Our day with Topsy & Tim,
  • Identify at what time of day certain things happen, such as when we leave the house to go to school, dinner time and bed time. Monkey knows that bedtime is 7pm although he very rarely goes to sleep at this time now!
  • I write out a schedule of when things happen in the day next to a clock face – when he has breakfast, lunch, playtime etc I try and use visual cues for this.
  • We have also downloaded some blank clock faces which we draw the hands onto for different times.
  • I have found a game which Monkey also really enjoys – Orchard Toys Tell the Time
  • Laura suggests having clocks in every room so that they get use to seeing them, the numbers and the hands.
  • It has also helped Monkey having a wrist watch. One with nice easy to see clear numbers. Ice-Watches very kindly sent Monkey (and myself) a watch to help.

Monkey opted for a royal blue Ice Ola Kids Rocket watch with bright yellow numbers. Its perfect for him as its lightweight, durable made from soft silicone and waterproof. The contrasting yellow numbers really stand out so it is easy for him to read. He loves wearing it and has often fallen asleep wearing it.
You can see in this photo how proud he is of it, he normally wears it to school. Thankfully because it is a tough watch and comes with a two year warranty, I don’t need to worry about it. Its also available in eight different colours which you can see on their website ranging from whites, to bright pinks, lilacs and blues. Its well priced at £46. Ice-Watches have very kindly given my readers a chance to win one for themselves in their choice of colour, subject to availability. All you need to do is note the T&Cs and enter via the Gleam application below:
Ice Ola Kids Watch RRP £46

  • Competition is open to residents of UK aged 18 or over
  • There is no cash alternative offered
  • The winner will be drawn at random and will receive an Ice Ola Kids Watch in your choice of colour – subject to availability
  • The competition will close on 8th of September at 11.59pm, the winner will be notified through Twitter
  • The Winner will be asked to provide an email address and full postal address
So that I wouldn’t feel left out Ice-Watches also sent me a City Tanner Taupe Rose Gold watch. I have a bit of a thing at the moment for Rose Gold. I also wanted something that was smart enough for work, but I haven’t worn a watch for several years. So at the same time I wanted something that wouldn’t get in the way. As I am now so use to not wearing one. It couldn’t be bulky. The City Tanner is so light that I often forget I am wearing it. I haven’t found one outfit yet that it doesn’t go with and despite wearing it every day now for a month it looks as good as new. I am so pleased with it. Its available in a range of natural colour options and costs £95. Which for a watch as versatile as this one is great value.

I have some other giveaways running at the moment so please check them out in the Blog Giveaways Page above. Good Luck


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We were given the watches mentioned in the post for the purpose of this review, all words and opinions are my own.


  1. Solange

    Before jumping into the details of a clock face, start with the general concept of time – morning, afternoon, evening. Initially 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”. You can then move on to asking your child when certain things happen – this starts off the idea of blocking time into sections.

  2. KK

    I found the best way to be having a clock prominently placed in the house, and to regularly refer to the time while talking out where the hands are.

  3. Crystal Carrington

    I’ve got a big clock in the lounge and we’ve put post it notes on it to remind Jack. For example 3- Quarter Past. We’ve also been practicing our five times tables so that it’s more familiar for him x

  4. Jodie A Green

    lots of number games to start with so they can read the numbers, counting in 5’s and the main times ie – o’clock, half past, quarter to/past

  5. nolene oneill

    Routine helps a lot! My kids know the Morning Alarm is at 7.30 brushing your teeth is at 7.45 breakfast at 8.00 and so on.. we do have a talking clock which helps the younger ones but it’s a learning tool and is easier for them to get to grips with

  6. maria blythin

    i think its good to practise on a wooden clock or a book which helps to learn to tell the time then get them a little watch x

  7. Rebecca Sutton

    give them something to wait for, tell the time it will be when you need to go out or something, so they then focus on the time and keep looking at the watch.

  8. laura milton

    I would say teaching how to count first off then sticking to a daily routine and always checking in on the time. Draw time sheets and say when the clock looks like this itl be 10am and thats snack time. They will soon get the hang of it

  9. Jo Carroll

    With my little man I’ve pretty much just concentrated on the little hand on the clock and he seems to be pretty good at getting the hang of it.

  10. Naz M

    clocks around the house including their bedroom, let them see the digital clock in the car so they know what those numbers are/what they mean. Read them kids book about clocks/telling the time to make it fun.

  11. Kim Webster-Marsh

    Stick to Analogue and make sure they fully understand this before even attempting digital, use any opportunity to point out the time or ask them the time if you think they may know it as this will boost confidence.

  12. Donna W

    Teaching children the 5 times table first will make it easier for them to count around the clock in minutes. Patience is the key to teaching anything new and also let the child explain what it is they don’t understand so you can explore a different way of teaching it.

  13. Hayley Todd

    My top tips to teaching children to learn the time are, buying a toy electronic clock and make learning the time a fun game too! Always use the clock to show children the time on a large clock face when it’s bedtime, dinner-time etc, make sure they know all their numbers so they can recognise the numbers on the clock face, and start by teaching them the o’clock, then moving on to half-past, etc…

  14. Val Pownall

    Make it fun and start with one of the wooden watch puzzles to get them used to where the numbers are on a clock face. Once they’ve got the hang of that move on to the little hand and big hand and what they do.

  15. Paula Gwynne

    To draw different clock faces and start with 6 o’clock or 12 o’clock. Also draw the clock for tea time, breakfast time, and bedtime.

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