Kids learn to tell time by practicing. They first learn to tell time on the hour, then move to the half-hour, quarter-hour, five minutes, and finally to the minute.
One way to practice telling time is through games. I created the game, Time to Tell, to help my daughter learn to tell time. We enjoy playing this game, but also like to add in other fun ways to practice telling time. So we came up with this hula hoop activity to practice telling time.
- drawing a clock
- dividing a circle into equal sections
- number placement on a clock
- telling time
What you need
- hula hoop
- sidewalk chalk
- sticks (One stick should be long enough to almost touch the outside of the circle when placed at the center point of the circle. The other stick should be about half that length.)
What to do
Draw around the hula hoop
Using chalk, instruct your child to draw around the outside of a hula hoop. It is best to use a hula hoop with a diameter less than three feet since we will use a yardstick later to divide the circle into equal sections.
Divide the circle
Divide the circle into twelve sections to make the face of the clock. Use math language as you instruct your child in how to divide the circle using the following instructions. If he does not know the meaning of the terms, help him through each step, but continue using the math language so he becomes accustomed to it and learns what the words mean. The instructions in parentheses are to help you see where you are placing marks. You can say them aloud to your child, but it is okay if he doesn’t know why the numbers go there yet. He will write the numbers for the hours in a later step.
- Lay the yardstick vertically on the circle. Place marks at the top and bottom of the circle. (This will be for 12 and 6.)
- Turn the yardstick ninety degrees and place marks on each side of the circle. (This will be for 3 and 9.)
- Lay the yardstick 1/3 of the way between the marks at the top of the circle and 90 degrees. Place marks on either end of the circle. (This will be for 1 and 7.)
- Lay the yardstick 2/3 of the way between the marks at the top of the circle and 90 degrees. Place marks on either end of the circle. (This will be for 2 and 8.)
- Repeat the above two steps to place two sets of marks between 90 degrees and 180 degrees. (This will be for 4, 5, 10, and 11.)
Here is how the finished circle will look. (It is okay if the spacing is not perfect.)
Instruct your child to write one number at each mark on the inside of the clock face to represent the hours. Begin with “1.”
Instruct your child to write one number at each mark on the outside of the clock face to represent the minutes. Begin with “5.” If you have not discussed that every number on the clock represents five minutes, take this opportunity to talk about it.
Finished clock face
Practice telling time
Practice telling time. Take turns with your child. Ask him to place the sticks on the clock face and you tell him the time. Instruct him to place the sticks (or you place the sticks) on the clock face and ask him to tell you the time.
Find more math manipulative and game suggestions in the math manipulative post series.