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Practise telling the time

playing beat the clock telling the time

I didn’t intend to blog this activity. Otherwise I might have spent time crafting the perfect cards to go with it. Ones that made sense in the photos and helped to explain the game. In fact, it was only when one of the children declared that they…

wish they taught telling the time this way at school

….that I even thought to share it in this space. Maybe others might find it useful. So please bear with me.

Telling the time game

This game is based on the old classic “Beat the Clock”. It gives the player a chance to practise digital and analogue time telling. This is an intermediary game, so not suitable for telling-the-time total newcomers.

 * You need an old pack of playing cards (or redundant times table cards), stickers and marker pens.

* Choose an hour. I focused on 4 o’clock for the game, as it is just a happy time of the day, I find, but you can choose any time. Just as long as you are consistent. The important part of this game is to practise the “past” and “to” for the chosen hour.

telling time cards

Basic premise is that they are matching the analogue and digital time for all 12 points on the clock, eg twenty past 4 is the same as 4:20.

Prepare the cards

1. For each of the 12 points on the clock (ie 1 to 12), use four cards. Use stickers to cover up the existing value of the card. Mark the cards as follows:

* write the time in words eg quarter past four

* write the time in digital format eg 4:15

* draw the clock face and mark in the long and short hand eg see above photo

* write the time in 24 hour clock format eg 16:15

2. Repeat for all 12 sets of four cards.

3. Shuffle

playing beat the clock telling the time

4. Starting at the 12 position, put one card on the table, face down, at each position, to form a clock. (marker pen clock hands are optional).

5. Repeat until all 12 positions have four cards.

Playing telling time game

Start the game.

1. Pick up the top card at position 12.

2. Look at the time on the card and put it on top of the pile that the long hand would be pointing to (eg 4:35 on card would go to position 7 on the clock) and take the bottom card from that pile.

3. Repeat step 2 until you can’t go anymore.

4. If all the cards are turned over, you have won.

5.If they are not, then give yourself a life(!) and pick the bottom card from another pile and repeat step 2.

This is a very simple game, but surprisingly effective. I tested it on my 10 and 7 year olds, with good results.

Foot note: We did try it as a memory game too, but too many cards, so I might try again with only 2 card per clock position.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this game exists commercially. I haven’t found it, but I devised this version as a way for my children to practise analogue and digital time telling.

I also have a few learning times tables ideas too

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