Telling Time Games for First Grade

telling time games

Between digital watches and cell phones, learning to tell time is trickier than ever for today's first graders. These telling time games appeal to kids' sense of fun while helping them unlock the mystery of all kinds of clocks.

Getting a Sense of Time

Reading a clock isn't the only thing first graders need to learn. The concept of time is hazy for kids at this age, and they often don't have a good sense of how long a minute or an hour is. These games will give them practice thinking about time.

  • Have kids stand up when you say "go", and start a timer. Tell them to sit down when they think one minute is up. Keep track of who was closest to one minute when they sat down.
  • Have kids choose an activity to do for one minute, such as clapping hands or doing jumping jacks. Set the timer and tell kids when one minute is up.
  • Have your child tell you three things they did right after she woke up (or at around lunch time, or between dinner time and bedtime).
  • What is your child's favorite time of day? Have her write the time and draw a picture of what she does then.
  • Time kids as they jump rope for either one minute or two minutes, then have them guess whether they jumped for one minute or two.
  • Put a stick in the dirt outside, so it sticks straight up. Put a rock where the shadow falls. Come back in an hour and see where the shadow moved.

Telling Time Games With Clocks

When kids begin thinking about different kinds of clocks, they will start to see clocks everywhere. And of course, the more clocks kids see, the more they will want to read them. Encourage children to explore clocks with these activities.

  • Look for clocks and watches in magazines. Have kids cut them out and make a collage by gluing the pictures to paper. Can they read any of the clocks?
  • How many clocks are in your house? Count them. (Remember watches, cell phones, DVD players, etc.)
  • Put colored stickers next to numbers on a real clock to show important times. If you eat dinner at 7:00, put a sticker on the 7 so kids get used to watching the clock as they anticipate dinner time.
  • Ask questions about clocks. How are clocks and watches the same? How are they different? Why do clocks have an hour and a minute hand, and not just an hour hand? How are clocks and calendars similar? Why is a wall clock bigger than an alarm clock?

Asking Questions About Clocks

When kids are learning to tell time, it is worth the investment to buy a play clock with moveable hands. For first graders, focus questions on the hour and half hour. Here are some questions you can ask with a toy clock.

  • Show me 2:00.
  • What time will it be in one hour?
  • What time was it a half hour ago?
  • Show me the time that is one hour earlier.
  • What time is it now? (Match to real clock.)
alarm clock

In addition to telling time games, make a point of talking about time with your child. Give a five-minute warning before it's time to leave. Notice when the clock shows the hour or half-hour, and ask your child what time it is. Talk about what will happen tomorrow, and say what time that event will happen. When you show interest in telling time, kids will often follow suit and become interested as well.

For more time-telling fun, we recommend the Eeboo Time Telling Game, Telling Time Bingo Game or the smart Play Clock that shows correct minute/hour relationships when you turn the hands.


Get your FREE gift:

5 Foolproof Ways to Help Kids Love Math

Foolproof Ways to Help Kids Love Math

Enter your name and email for your free ebook.

“Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself. ”
~John Dewey