Friday, November 12, 2010

Teaching Kids to Tell Time for Nannies and Au Pairs, Step 5

Discussing the Second Hand

The second hand is easy for kids to learn, since it's similar to the minute hand. To reinforce that one-minute equals 60-seconds, stand next to a working clock with its minute hand pointing to an hour or half-hour, and with its second hand pointing to the 12. Have them count to 60 with you, clapping once after each number to keep pace as the second hand moves around your clock. Point out how the minute hand moves forward one-minute in the time it takes the second hand to go all the way around the clock.

Explain some of the uses of the second hand. Let's say you're timing a very short race, or how long it takes an object to drop from your hand to the floor. Give the kids some examples of things that usually take less than a minute, such as chewing a bite of food, sneezing, or posing for a snapshot. Encourage them to think of other possibilities.

If the kids have developed a firm grasp of how minutes and seconds work, you can show them how to time a minute with the second hand by starting from anywhere on a clock and then waiting for the second hand to go once around the clock and return to that same starting position.

Once the kids master telling time, have them put their new skills to use. As an exercise, have them keep a schedule of all their important activities for one day -- what time they start each one and what time they finish it. Then you can help them figure out how long it took them to complete each activity.

Learning to tell time gives kids confidence and a sense of independence. They feel more grown-up when they can see for themselves that it's time for lunch, or that it's an hour past their usual bedtime. And you'll feel a sense of satisfaction too -- that of sharing your expertise. The parents will be thrilled too!


Thanksgiving Turkey Time Game: Print out this turkey with a large round belly. Make a clock face on the belly. For the hour hand, make a feather shape as a spinner. As you spin the spinner, sing the chant. Click here to see this game.

Time for Time Web Site: Time-for-time has a printable clock face complete with attachable big and little hands to offer kids a hands-on learning experience. Click here for fun, interactive telling time games on this site.

Education World Web Site: Education World offers excellent hands-on lessons and printable worksheets and games (including a fun BINGO game) to help kids practice telling time. Check out It’s About Time: Teaching Students to Tell Time. Mathematics Web Site: offers a comprehensive list worksheets to download and use to help children practice telling time (on the hour, half hour, quarter hour, and random times). Click here to see these printouts. provides two online interactive time telling games for kids to play, located at the bottom of the page.

Click here for reference.

Stop by tomorrow for our Weekly Trip to the Library and a book to help teach kids time.

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