DIY: Practice Clock for Kids

by , posted on August 2nd, 2012 in Games & Creative Play, Play + Learn

Before I turn this post over to our newest contributor Caroline Urdaneta, I believe a little fanfare is in order. You may remember Caroline from her interview here, and you may have seen her on the lovely Terra Savvy, but did you also know that her ridiculously charming blog Salsa Pie was named one of Babble’s 50 best craft blogs? Thrilled doesn’t begin to describe how pleased I am to have her here.

The other day, while in the shower, I called to my 6 year old daughter and asked her to tell me the time. Actually, to be totally honest to you, I told her to go look at my cell phone and tell me what the “numbers” said. She came back a few seconds later and confidently told me, “Mom, the time is: two, dot-dot, zero six.”

Digital clocks are like the velcro to shoe tying when we modern parents try to teach our kids how to tell time. And just like the skill of shoe tying (or writing in cursive even) our kids are learning later and later how to do these simple things. Sometimes they even question the need to know! The solution can be as modern as the problem (like a new app on your iPhone) but you can also turn this challenge into a hands-on teaching opportunity and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s how:

Make a Practice Clock!

Time estimated for project: 10 minutes
Purpose: to introduce children to a traditional clock and the basic concepts of telling time with a hands-on tool.
Age Range: best for children ages 3 years through 8 years

Materials Needed

- One 8″ x 8″ square of thin cardboard (we recycled a cereal box) or heavy card stock paper.
*Tip: you could also use a paper plate, but we opted to recycle cereal box cardboard.

- Two pieces of colored card stock paper, each a different color (we used purple and red)

- Scissors

- One Paper Fastener

- A dark colored marker (we used a black Sharpie)

-Compass (optional) or Round lid (like that from a Cool Whip container)

-Anywhere Hole Punch (or other method for punching a hole in the center of cardboard, like an adult pushing a tack or nail through)

Step 1
If you are using cereal box cardboard measure and cut-out an 8″ x 8″ square. Find the center of your square of cardboard. To do this, measure the middle point of each side then form a cross from those points. The center of the cross is the center of your square. Next, draw a circle. You can either use a compass OR you can just eyeball the center of the circle (like we did) and trace a round top. I used the top of a Cool-Whip container and it was the perfect size!

Step 2
Once you trace your circle, draw the numbers of the clock around the circle with your sharpie. Remember your kids won’t be measuring the distance between each number, so don’t sweat it, but it helps to draw the 12, the 3, the 6 and the 9 first (you can use the original cross you made to find the center of the circle for the placement of these 4 numbers) then fill in the other numbers.

Step 3
Measure the distance from the center of the circle to the numbers on the clock face for the length of the minute hand. Use this length as a measurement for making your minute hand out of the colored card stock paper. Measure a shorter length for your hour hand and on the other color of card stock paper, create the hour hand. To form the hands, cut out the shape on an arrow for each length you have measured.

Step 4
After you have drawn your numbers and created your hands, punch a hole in the center with something like an anywhere punch. Punch holes also in the minute and hour hands too. Attach the hands to the clock with the paper fastener.

There you have it! Your clock is ready for action. With practice, your little one will be reading a clock in no-time and you can check this one off of your list.

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3 Responses to “DIY: Practice Clock for Kids”

  1. Jillian in Italy Says:

    August 4th, 2012 at 5:31 am

    I love the line “digital clocks are like the velcro to shoe tying”. So true. I actually bought my kids swatches a while back so that they would have to tell time “the old fashioned way”. Great post.


  2. Jennifer Cooper Says:

    August 13th, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I love how simple and cool this is. Fantastic idea!


  3. Diana @ Sneakers2Sandals Says:

    September 30th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I just came across your blog and I absolutely love it. I’ve read some really good posts :) I’m studying to be a teacher and this clock is absolutely adorable (and so is your reading nook series!)


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