Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Exploring Time Through Play

For the last few weeks my children have been exploring measurement (mass) through play. As the interest in measurement subsided, a new area of interest has emerged. My daughter, who is five years old, has been asking me and her older brother a number of times during that day, what the time is. So with her help, we set up an interest table for her and her siblings to explore time.

Vocabulary Understanding
Children are always learning about time when we use time vocabulary when we talk with them. Time Vocabulary can include words such as day and night, before, after, soon, now, later, bedtime, lunchtime, yesterday, last week and today. This is all done naturally throughout our day.

Suggested Learning Steps
It is suggested that when learning to read time, you start with learning to read (analogue time) the hour, followed by half an hour before learning quarter past and quarter to. Once the learner understands analogue time, it is suggested that digital time be introduced and start learning to read time with  five minute intervals. And finally, introducing twenty-four hour time.

Interest Area
I first set up an interest area that included all the resources we have for learning to tell the time. My daughter's especially love sitting at their little table to play with things so I use this area.

Analogue Clocks
I found a magnetic clock a few years ago that my son used to learnt to tell time. It came with both digital and analogue time and is such a great way to keep learning hands-on as all parts are movable. You can find a similar Tell The Time Magnetic Clock by clicking on the link.

My son received a small wooden clock puzzle a few years ago for his birthday gift and it has been one of those learning resources that just keeps being used. This resource not only teaches time but also about numbers.

We have two types of analogue clocks in our home and they both get used for different reasons. The clock on the left (below) we purchased as it numbered the minutes all the way around the clock. We emphasised this by using these free printable clock numbers. To help our son further with understanding quarter past and quarter to, we purchased the Easy Read clock. He has no problems reading time now and can easily adapt between the two clocks.

Digital Clocks
We have digital clocks everywhere around our home with digital watches, microwave times, oven time display, the DVD player and the clock inside our car. On the table I put our cooking timer, which also tells the time, as well as a digital watch and a plastic hour glass for my children to play with.

Books and Posters
I downloaded some FREE time posters to go in our interest area that showed analogue time (they also have printables for digital time available). I also put up our Tell The Time poster that came with our write and wipe book, Tell The Time:Book and Giant Wallchart. Both of these resources help encourage an interest and develop an understanding of time.

There are lots of different picture books that help children learn about the concept of time. One of our favourites is Bad Tempered Ladybird. Andie Jay from Inner Child Learning has complied a list of 10 Children's Books About Telling Time. You can also find 15 book suggestions for learning about time for both early learners and older kids.

Learning about the days of the week, months of the year and important dates is apart of learning to tell time so I've added a little basket with a small year calendar and cards with the names of each month. I made my own cards but you can download FREE printable cards by clicking on the link.

My daughter absolutely loves the little calendar and has been using it to draw and write on. It has encouraged lots of questions from my daughter about what day is her birthday and how long does she have to wait till Christmas!

More simpler calendars have been placed in the interest area too including a Days Of The Week poster I made a few year ago with movable names. I also put our fabric Today Is... chart next to it. You can find a Today Is... by clicking on the link.

Already my children have been busy playing with the different resources that we have in our interest area. They have been dancing around listening to our time songs from What's The Time Mr Wolf? CD which is full of awesome kids songs all about time. I love that each of them are working at their own level and learning about the parts of time that interest them. Have your children been interested in time? What resources to do have and use that encourages an interest in time?

You can find more activity ideas and free printables over on my Maths - Telling Time pinterest board.

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  1. My daughter is 4.5 and very curious about the calendar all of a sudden. She got a Minnie Mouse calendar for Christmas and we've put it on the fridge and she decided to "X" each day and like your daughter she counts down to days like Valentines and is asking when birthdays are, etc. I was glad to read this about calendars because I've read elsewhere that teaching the days of the week/calendar might not be as beneficial as some thing to children of this age. I'm keeping on with the days of the week and the calendar since my daughter shows an interest!

    1. I've read plenty of well-meaning advice about when to teach children to tell time but I always come back to the concept of "follow the child". If the child is interested in the days of the week or wants to learn about the calendar, I don't see why we shouldn't explore these areas of interest with them regardless of how young they are.

  2. Wonderful resources! We could really use them. Thanks for putting it all together. :)

  3. I just love reading your posts! They give me so many ideas and are such great resources. Thank you so much for taking the time to share everything you do! I LOVE that our kiddos are at similar ages and I can take advantage of all you share!

  4. What a fabulous list of material and ideas to teach time to young ones. I really appreciate the "time" you took to cover this topic so thoroughly. Pinning and scheduling. Thanks so much for this post.

    1. You're most welcome and thank you for sharing my post!