Statistics show that 40 million adults cannot tell the time, and more don’t know how to read an analog clock. So to avoid feeding this issue, every teacher should teach their students to tell the time. To make sure the kids understand the lesson, they should introduce teaching aids like time games. But what exactly are time games? Let’s take a look.

Basic concepts of telling time 

We’ve managed to lump time into three main periods in a day: morning, afternoon, and night. The morning starts from past 12:00 am and ends by 12:00 pm, the afternoon begins from 12:00 pm till 6:00 pm, then the evening is from 6:00 pm till 11:59 pm, after which we enter a new day. People may argue that evening starts at 4:00 pm, but from 3:00 pm till 5:59 pm is the late afternoon. 

Using the basic concepts of time to teach kids how to tell time on a watch makes them understand it better. Teaching the kids how to say good morning, good afternoon, and good evening is an excellent way to help them understand the basic concepts of time. Including a greeting in your teaching process will also help them recognize the time of day they are in.

Using manipulatives to teach kids to tell time 

We all know that teaching children math is not a walk in the park, especially when it is a complicated concept like telling time. Time is an exciting yet complex idea for kids; that is why you have to be innovative when teaching kids how to read a clock. Here is a reliable manipulative for teaching kids how to tell time on a clock:

  • Make a paper clock and have them read each time with you, telling them the hours as they count each one. 
  • Color the spaces between the hours to show the hours and what they represent.
  • Make them build and wear paper wristwatches.
  • Make them stand in a circle with tags; then put three kids in the middle of the circle to represent the time hands.

Another effective manipulative to teach kids to tell time is the use of time slots. Here, you can use images of actions, events that the kids are familiar with, or activities that they often repeat at a specific period. Then post labels such as Morning, Afternoon, and Night and have the children sort the pictures according to the time they occur.

An overview of time

For kids to learn how to tell time on a clock, you should first understand what time means to them, then teach them to link it with everyone else’s interpretation of time. For instance, teaching them that the recess bell only rings in the afternoon will help them connect the pattern and recognize when it’s noon. But to break that time into more details, you need to teach them the concept of seconds, minutes, and hours.


The second hand is often the longest and narrowest on an analog clock and moves the fastest. Every time the tiny pointer on the clock moves, a second passes, and if it moves 60 times, we have the next part of the time, which is a minute. In digital clocks, the seconds appear as rapidly increasing numbers from 01 to 59 before a minute passes, and it resets.


The minute hand is the second-longest hand on the clock. We get a minute when the second-hand moves 60 times or when the second set of numbers to the right of the colon (:) on an extended digital clock counts past 60 times. When the number reaches 60 for the minute hand or goes beyond 59 on the digital clock, we get the next part — the hour.


The hour is the third concept of time and the shortest hand on the analog clock that moves the slowest. Unlike seconds and minutes, the hour count does not reach 60 to signify the end of a day. Once an hour hand makes two complete cycles (or 24 clicks) around the face of a clock, the day is over.

Online time games 

Interestingly, time is one of the most exciting math concepts a math teacher will have to teach. Gathering your kids to make them learn how to tell time on a clock can be both fulfilling and frustrating for you as a teacher. The process will be fulfilling for you if they are interested and excited but will become frustrating when they struggle to remember how it works. 

When children are excited about something, it might take more than your teaching skills to get them to understand the fine details. You need time games to make them settle down and learn how to read a clock. The hour hand on analog clocks can get confusing, and digital timepieces that count in double digits after noonday aren’t straightforward either. Luckily, you can use clock games to better explain telling time on a clock, then make the students replicate what they learned without the game. 

Creative teachers understand that it is time for kids to use digital aids when learning. So, instead of discouraging your students from playing, use their love for games to your advantage. There are many free online time games, so scour trusted websites and introduce your class to the appropriate time game for their grade. While the kids are playing and telling the time practice and rehearse group activities to help them remember what they’ve learned.

Are time games good for learning how to tell time?

Timing games for kids open their minds to the concept of time. They make it easy for children to tell the time, even in tricky situations. For instance, the games teach them to read analog clocks even when the minute hand is resting between two numbers. The time games you download will determine how quickly your students learn clock types and interpretations.

Instead of straining to teach kids time by counting on their fingers, introduce time games to their lessons and watch their understanding of time take flight. Telling time games are a great idea for children struggling with basic time concepts; it can spike their knowledge and interest in the concept faster than you’d expect. These time games are colorful and interactive and can be effective conversation starters for timid children.

You do not need to spend weeks trying to make kids understand the concept of time and getting frustrated while at it. Online and offline time games make your job easy by teaching the kids time faster than you ever could. They are modern teaching hacks that you can use to become a better teacher in many ways.

What skills can time games improve? 

Time games don’t merely teach kids to tell time accurately; they also boost other skills in developing children. Some of these skills improve directly from playing the games, while others grow due to the ripple effect of learning. The skills that time games enhance in kids include:


Sometimes, the minute hand does not land on a number; it lands on the dot between two numbers. Kids need to understand that the dot stands for a number they cannot see, representing a minute. Counting games will direct them to identify those little details, tell time more accurately, and improve how precise their estimation of time is.

Period perception

Timing games can help your kids understand that when the hand of the clock is on the number 2, and the sun is bright, they are still in the afternoon, as we were at 12 pm. The kids will learn that specific intervals make up a period. They will understand that the hands on a clock can strike a particular number at different times and represent different periods.

Counting down on a digital clock 

Children can use digital clock games to learn a different way to count time. For example, after 12 pm on the digital clock, it does not go back to one; it goes straight to 13, confusing children. Even if you don’t teach them to read a digital clock in class, they will see one out there and have questions. As a teacher, it is your job to answer their questions, and teaching aids like timing games will help you achieve that goal.

On the brighter side, you don’t need to teach these skills to children through the conventional, stressful process. You can intrinsically teach the kids the basic concepts of time using visual representations and offline games. These games help them develop the zeal to learn while also teaching them time-related terminologies and ideas that will stick with them for life.


Time is an essential aspect of our day-to-day activities; it is also one of the most complicated things to understand, especially when you are a child. Teaching with timing games removes the complexities around learning time and helps kids understand it better and faster. So start planning to add time games to your teaching tools if you want to teach modern-day children more effectively.