Ready to calm the chaos in planning your center rotations?

Mastering the Clock: Creative Strategies for Teaching Telling Time

Have you ever felt like teaching telling time  to your K-3 students is more challenging than solving a Rubik’s Cube? There are so many rules that it can be difficult for students to understand, but it doesn’t have to be so difficult! I have game-changing strategies for teaching telling time that are sure to get your students excited and engaged! From creating your own classroom clocks to a time-based scavenger hunt, we’ve got you covered! How do you make teaching time-telling the highlight of your day? Keep reading to find out! 

Click Here to Pin This Article for Later!

Why Use Strategies for Teaching Telling Time in Your Classroom 

Being able to tell time is a foundational skill all students need. This skill helps our students develop a sense of time management, increases their mathematical understanding, and prepares them for everyday life challenges. When you use fun strategies for teaching telling time in your classroom, students will learn this difficult skill while having a great time! 

Engaging Ways to Introduce Time Concepts 

Before you start getting into all those pesky technicalities of reading clocks, you need to build a foundational understanding of time. You should stay by discussing daily routines and how time organizes our day every single day. To make it more relatable, use real-life examples like what time students go to recess or lunch. This helps students understand the concept of time beyond the clock face. 

Tools for Teaching Telling Time 

When you start teaching students how to tell time, you need the right tools! Traditional clocks are super helpful, but sometimes you have to go beyond your traditional clock. Using interactive games like this BUMP Math Game-Time To The Quarter Hour is a great way to reinforce time-telling skills. These games blend learning with fun making sure students stay engaged in the concepts more effectively. 

Breaking Down Time Telling 

Teaching time is more than just reading the hour and minute hands. It’s about understanding the passage of time. One strategy for teaching time telling is to start with the hour hand and using scenarios students are familiar with. For example, you can talk about the start and end of school. After students have a grasp of the hour hand, introduce the minute hand and explain how it represents small time increments. You can use fun activities that ask students to set time on their clocks. This fosters hands-on learning and helps students get practice!


Vital Skills for Time Telling Mastery 

Telling time isn’t just a math skill. Telling time is a blend of all learning abilities. Students need to have strong number recognition, understand time intervals, and be able to compare and contrast different times. You can incorporate activities to help strengthen these skills like matching digital and analog times or sequencing events in a day with a clock. 

Strategies for Teaching Telling Time with Fun Activities 

Because learning how to tell time can be difficult, you want to use activities that are fun and engaging to help students learn. Here are some strategies for teaching telling time to students that will be so fun they will forget they are learning! 

Daily Time Check-In:

To help reinforce the concept of time, start each with a time check-in. Ask students to share what time it is and talk about any special activities that are going to happen that day. This routine not only helps reinforce time-telling skills but helps build classroom community as well. 

Time-Based Scavenger Hunt:

You can create a scavenger hunt where each clue involves solving a time-telling puzzle. For example, you can say, “Find your next clue at the place where the big hand is on 12 and the little hand is on 3.” You can make this harder as students get more advanced by saying, “Find your next clue at the place where the time read 12:15.” 


Interactive Time Telling Worksheets:

You can use engaging worksheets that require students to draw hands on clocks or match digital and analog times. Using worksheets like these can be great for practicing as well as for assessment. 

Story Time with Time:

During reading, you can read stories that emphasize time like “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle, which focuses on hourly intervals. Then you can talk about the time mentioned on each page or have students move their clocks to that time. 

Craft a Classroom Clock:

Getting students involved in creating a large classroom clock is a great way to get buy-in as well as build classroom community. You can use this for daily time-telling activities and make the learning process more hands-on and collaborative. 

Digital and Analog Time Match:

Have digital and analog clocks showing different times. Students pair digital times with analog counterparts. This helps students understand the two formats of time. 


Time Estimation Games:

Engaging students is a big part of the strategies for teaching telling time. Using games where students estimate the length of various tasks like writing their name or tying their shoes can be fun. Then, measure the actual time talent to develop a sense of time estimation. 

Music and Movement:

Incorporating songs and dances that include telling time is a fun way to get students engaged! This will make learning how to tell time fun and interactive and build a stronger foundation for your students’ time-telling skills. 


Teaching students how to tell time is not all about reading the clock. It’s a gateway to bigger math concepts and life skills like time management. By using creative strategies for teaching telling time as well as engaging tools and step-by-step methods, you can help your students sore. Remember, every moment spent teaching time is a step towards creating more independent, organized mathematicians!

Share With Other Educational Rockstars

Related Posts