What time is it?
April 9, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Learning to tell time is one of the things that boosts children´s self esteem but time is such an abstract concept and difficult for them to understand. And teaching them how the hands of the clock work can sometimes confuse them even more.  First they need to get used to both numeric systems (from 1 to 12 and from 1 to 60). Luckily, you and the new What time is it? by Nenuco can help them master this new skill.

Before you Begin…

Teach your children to count to 60: if they don´t, you´ll have a hard time explaining the minutes and they´ll feel all frustrated and won´t pay attention. Every day, you can encourage them to count their toys, the clothes you place into the washing machine or anything else that you think they´ll find entertaining.

Teach them to count in 5´s: Once they learn to count to 60, it´s time to learn to count in 5´s. 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. Use your hands so they understand that 5 fingers plus another 5 are ten and so on.


Children are not conscious of the passing of time. In order to introduce them to this new concept, it´s best if they begin to relate it with their daily routines or while they engage in fun activities. Using sentences such as: “Very good! You´ve jumped 40 times in one minute!” or “Let´s see if you can solve the puzzle in 3 minutes” or even “It´s 9 o clock, time for dinner!” This way they´ll learn that time passes, it moves on even though they do not yet see it happening on a clock or watch.

The clock

Take a big clock with hands that are easy for them to see. The first thing they must learn is that 1 hour is made up of 60 minutes and 1 minute is made up of 60 seconds.

We recommend you begin with the seconds. With the clock right in front of you, count the seconds out loud with your children while you point to the seconds hand. (1 second, 2 seconds,….until 60). They´ll clearly see that the seconds hand moves 60 times and when it reaches the minute, the other hand, the minute hand, moves. This way you can explain that minutes work just like seconds but they go a bit slower.  After they´ve grasped this concept, you can explain that 60 minutes is an hour.

It´s important they learn to associate the numbers of the clock with the hours of the day and that the short hand marks the hours, the long hand marks the minutes and the fast hand marks the seconds.


Let´s play Telling Time!

Once the above concepts are mastered, take an old clock, one, whose hands you can move and manipulate. If you don´t have one, you can make your very own with paper plates such as this one by Meaningful Mama, published by PBS Parents.

Step 1: Turn the hour hand and move it from 1 to 12, in order and repeat the numbers out loud. 1, 2, 3… Then, you move the hands and have them say the numbers out loud to you. You can also teach them to say: o´clock. Or on the dot.

Step 2: Now it´s time for the minutes hand. Ask them which is their favourite hour o´clock and let them place the hour hand in the right position. Then you can teach them the position of the minutes hand. Start with 5´s. (5 minutes 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc.). As soon as they move the minutes hand, you can say: “It is 7:20. 20 minutes have gone by.”  You can then explain the other minutes to them by saying “7 minutes is 5 minutes plus 2 lines.”

Step 3: As soon as they master the hour and minute hands, you can begin to combine them. For example, place the hands so the clock marks 2:03. Then say: “It is 2 o clock and 3 minutes or two o three.”

Step 4: You can play at saying specific times and have them place the hands on the right mark. Once they learn how, you can add another concept like “15 minutes past the hour or 15 minutes till the hour.”

Practice with Nenuco: What time is it?

The new “Nenuco What time is it?” toy comes with stickers that indicate different moments of the day (bath time, lunch time, bedtime, etc.). You can have your children place the stickers on the clock that comes with it. Press the button so the hands move and ask your children to tell the time and what activity it is time for. For example: “It´s 8 o´clock, bath time! If they get it right, they can give Nenuco a bath.

Do your children know how to tell time? What did you do to teach them?

Photo Credits: Famosa

Photo Credits: Janet

CATEGORIES: KIDS & TIC's  |  TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Teamwork with Tickety Toc
Whatsapp groups for parents, yes or no?
Bilingual Apps and what science is saying
Website (optional):