Telling Time

Telling Time is a friendly teaching book that works well for 4-8 year olds learning about time. A perfect accompaniment to a gift of a watch or clock. Buy from Amazon: (affiliate link)

I’m a big fan of creating occasion by adding a meaningful gift to a birthday celebration. When the Young Engineer turned four, we gave him the gift of an analogue watch.

There are many resources for teaching children how to tell the time. This book is a particular favourite of ours, as it first explains what time is and what we use time for. Before going on to explain how to read time.

If you are looking for one item to teach a child to read an analogue clock, then this is not the best resource available. I would tend to choose something more engaging, like a watch or clock for their bedroom, or a time telling game.This is a great book to use as we did, as a companion to a first clock or first watch. Kids are engaged by something new, but they don’t quite understand it. And this book explains it all so well.

Also a great idea for teaching analogue time to kids is to use paper plates. You can each design your own clock face, add numbers, then add hands with a split pin and practice different times. This is pretty cost-effective.

Telling Time
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Telling Time is a great book for 4-8 year olds. It explains what time is, how we use it. And how to read both analogue and digital clocks. The perfect companion book to a gift of a first watch or a first clock for any kid. Reasonably priced at around the $10 mark.

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So why do we like”Telling Time”? It’s amusing. It explains things using the sort of sense of humour that the Young Engineer has (i.e. a five-year old one, less the toilet humour). It has a relaxed conversational tone. The book starts with the line.

“When people talk about telling time, they don’t mean, “Hey, Time, I’ve got something to tell you!” No “telling time” just means saying what time it is.”

It explains that we tell time in little chunks; seconds, minutes, hours. And in big chunks; days, weeks, months, years – plus decades, centuries and millennia. Then it goes on to demonstrate digital and analogue clocks.

I like that it explains both sorts of clocks, as many resources I’ve seen can be a little snobby about digital clocks. Insinuating that analogue are preferable. This book teaches evenly about both.

I think this book is best for 4 year olds and up. The examples it uses are more relevant for school aged kids. The concept of learning to read time is quite an abstract idea. And even when presented in practical examples, it was a pretty big concept for The Young Engineer to get his head around at four. I’m glad we started then though, as now, at five, he has a much better understanding of time. He still struggles at times to accurately read an analogue clock. But he gets the basics (when both hands are pointing straight up it’s lunchtime was the first thing he understood). If an eight year old is learning to tell the time, then this would also be a great resource, as it does not talk down or have little kid’s pictures.

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