What's the time Mr Wolf?

The Faces Of The Clock

The Big Hand is busy
But the Small Hand has power.
The large one counts the minutes.
But the Little One names the hour.

When both Hands stand at the top together,
It's sure to be Twelve O'clock. But whether
That's twelve at noon or twelve at night
Depends on if it's dark or light.

Teaching time can, literally, feel as if you are going round and round in circles. Every child learns about time in their own time and not necessarily when you would expect. I have always found that you are far better to work at teaching time little and often than trying to achieve a lot in a small amount of time. If you gently plug away at this in the background children will eventually start to make sense of it all and then be able to use time within their every day lives.

This week I thought it would be fun to get crafty again. So, your first activity is to make a clock.

You will need:
A paper plate
Two long thin pieces of cardboard (cardstock)
A split pin (or a bent paperclip!)
Whatever you want to use for decoration: felt pens, crayons, sticky numbers, jewels, stickers.........

What you need to do:

  • Start by writing or sticking on the numbers 1 - 12 around the outside edge of the back of your paper plate. 
  • Using the two pieces of card make your big hand and little hand and stick them in the middle with the split pin. 
  • You may want to add small lines between the numbers to show the minutes 
  • Decorate! 

Once you have your clock you can then do some fun time telling activities. Start by doing a very brief review on telling the time at your child's level and then do some of the games I have added to the bottom of this article to practice that skill. Please, this is a little and often subject, so I would teach and do an activity for no more than 10 minutes and then choose another activity to do the following day for 10 minutes. Again, the next day do 10 minutes. Then leave it for a few days and come back to it. You will find the knowledge has either stayed put and you can move forward or there is a little confusion and you will need to do some more activities at the same level to consolidate.

Normally I differentiate by age. For time I am just going to list the skills that need to be taught starting with the easiest and ending on the hardest. This is because every child learns time at a different pace of learning and does not always fit within the typical parameters for this. I would suggest everyone starts at the beginning and works their way down the list of skills, gradually building them up. For those with children really needing to start at the beginning this is something that will happen slowly, please don't feel you need to be at the bottom of the list by the end of the summer!!

The last two skills are using knowledge of time rather than telling the time. When your child can confidently tell the time they then need to be able to use this knowledge to survive every day life - hence the final two skills.

1. o'clock - can your child confidently read the whole hours on the clock not in chronological order? eg. 1 o clock, 2 o clock, 3 o clock.......

2. Half past - can your child confidently read the clock when it is half past the hour? eg. half past 2 (2 thirty), half past 6 (6 thirty) etc

3. Quarter past and quarter to - can your child confidently read the clock when it is quarter past or quarter to the hour? eg. quarter past 4 (4 fifteen), quarter past 7 (7 fifteen), quarter to 6 (5 forty five), quarter to 10 (9 forty five)

4. 5 minute intervals - can your child confidently show how many minutes past each big number represents? eg. 1 means 5 minutes past, 2 means 10 minutes past, 3 means 15 minutes past - they can show this by counting round the clock using the hands on the clock to help. (You may want to mark the minutes on your clock at this point)

5. Minutes and hours - can your child confidently read how many minutes past a particular hour it is? eg. It is 10 minutes past 4, It is 45 minutes past 6...........

6. Minutes to the hour - can your child confidently read how many minutes to the next hour it is? eg. 20 minutes to 8, 10 minutes to 9, 5 minutes to 2.......

7. Can your child confidently read the television guide and work out when a program will finish?

8. Can your child confidently read a train or bus timetable and work out how long a certain part of the journey may be or what time you would arrive at a particular destination?


What's the time Mr Wolf?
One of you close your eyes while the other sets the clock to a certain time. The one that has set the time then asks 'What's the time Mr Wolf?' and the other person opens their eyes and reads the time.

Drawing the time
Find something to write on and write with that is a novelty eg. chalk on the driveway, whiteboard pen on the window or mirror, paint........ Draw a clock face and then ask your child to draw a specific time on the clock. If it's white board pens this works really well because you can rub the time out and reuse the clock face.

Dice Time
Use two dice. Choose each time whether to throw one or two dice. When they have been thrown add the total and then your child has to show the time on the clock using the number shown on the dice as the hour. eg. dice show 10 then 10 o clock needs to be created. If you are also using minutes throw the dice again and use that number to show where the minute hand needs to go and then your child needs to read the time they are showing on the clock. eg. a 10 was thrown first and then 2. The 10 is for the hour and the 2 is where the big hand needs to be so the time would read 10:10 or 10 past 10.

Have somewhere to keep score. Ask your child to show a particular time on the clock. If they get it right they get the point, if they get it wrong you get the point. You may find your child then wants to swap round and give you some times to show on the clock - they love challenging us adults. Give it a go and have some fun.


  1. You are a superstar Charlotte, thank you. Xoxo hope you are all well. Do you have any top tips for Abs, she has ticked all 60+ boxes and I need to be working on ks1.... Help.., hope you are all well. Xoxo

  2. Wow Abbie, well done :) I would suggest playing lots of number games and really expanding the breadth of her knowledge. Most importantly keep it fun and end before she looses interest. If you are using any of the blog activities see if you can gently extend her thoughts to the 5 ,6 and 7 year old section. I will work on some more ideas for you and email you :)