Help Your Child Learn:  Telling the Time (Part 2)

Help Your Child Learn: Telling the Time (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of our interactive series on telling the time. This is for children who are familiar with the clock and can already tell the time to the hour and half past. If you're not there yet check out part 1 of the time series.

Learning to tell the time can be difficult for children because it’s a new concept that’s not like anything else in maths. Time also has its own new language so this resource is designed as a verbal 1-2-1 activity for parent and child. It will guide parents step by step through telling the time.

Introducing our interactive clock


One of the problems about teaching the time at home is the lack of an interactive practice clock - so we’ve made one for you. The rest of this series will use this clock to teach time through examples.

Clicking on the image below will open the clock. Note that all links to the clock will open a new tab so you will have to use the tabs / windows to get back to this page.


If you feel confident you can easily create your own clock examples. Here’s a guide to help you.

The clock works in modes. In “Show Clock” mode above you see the clock at full screen on your device. This is what you show the child.

Click “Show Controls” to see the control panel for setting up a new time example.

Control Panel

Hide numbers mode

This allows you to select hour numbers and minute numbers to hide from the clock so that you can ask your child “What’s the missing number?”

Note that the clock hands are hidden in this mode.


Step 1 - There are 60 minutes in one hour

Now open this clock example and ask the questions below. (Remember - examples always open in a new tab / window so read the questions first.) 

The answers are in brackets.

  • Do you know how many minutes are in an hour?  ( there are 60 minutes in an hour )
  • Which hand points to the hours?  ( the small / short hand ) 
  • Which hand points to the minutes ( the big / long hand ) 
  • Where can you see the minutes written on this clock  ( the green numbers )   
  • What time is it ?    ( half past 12 or 12:30 )

In this exercise ask your child: which green minute number or numbers are hidden?


Step 2 - Five and ten past (aided)

In this exercise ask your child: what’s the time?


Step 3 - Fifteen, twenty, twenty-five minutes past (aided)

In this exercise ask your child: what’s the time?


Step 4 - Quarter past and quarter to the hour

Learning about a quarter past and a quarter to the hour is helped by a basic understanding of fractions. Try to mention "a quarter of an hour past . . " as the "of an hour" helps the child understand the idea. The concept of time to the next hour is also tricky so you can use the phrase "a quarter of an hour before . . " at first. You can also draw attention to the hour hand - "The hour hand is little bit before five so the time is a quarter to five".

In this exercise ask your child: what’s the time?


Step 5 - Minutes past and to the hour

"Minutes to the hour" can be a tricky concept for many children but with practice children will be able to tell the time both as "twenty to two" and "one forty". Many countries such as the USA have dropped using time to the hour and they simply say "seven fifty-five" instead of "five to eight". This would certainly make it easier to learn!

In this exercise we're going to make it easier by showing and shading the minutes. Ask your child: what’s the time? If they answer "four forty" instead of "twenty to five" be sure to tell them it's correct but ask for the other way to say it: "twenty minutes to five".

  • Example 1  (ten minutes past three)
  • Example 2  (twenty minutes past nine)
  • Example 3  (twenty-five minutes past eleven)
  • Example 4  (quarter past six or fifteen minutes past six)
  • Example 5  (five minutes past seven)
  • Example 6  (ten minutes to two / one fifty)
  • Example 7  (five minutes to four / three fifty-five)
  • Example 8  (twenty minutes to six / five forty)
  • Example 9  (quarter to five / four forty-five)
  • Example 10 (twenty-five minutes to twelve / eleven thirty-five)


Step 6 - Minutes between 5 o'clock and 6 o'clock

In this exercise we've removed the shader and minute numbers and we're going to go through the times from 5 o'clock to 6 o'clock in 5 minute intervals. As before, take both "five thirty-five" and "twenty-five to six" as correct.


Step 7 - Minutes past the hour

What's the time?


Step 8 - Minutes to the hour

What's the time?

  • Example 1  (twenty minutes to four / three forty)
  • Example 2  (twenty-five minutes to eleven / ten thirty-five)
  • Example 3  (five minutes to eight / seven fifty-five)
  • Example 4  (twenty minutes to twelve / eleven forty)
  • Example 5  (quarter to ten / nine forty-five)


Step 9 - Tell the time to 5 minutes

What's the time?

  • Example 1  (half past six / six thirty)
  • Example 2  (quarter to nine / eight forty-five)
  • Example 3  (twenty-five minutes to six / five thirty-five)
  • Example 4  (twenty minutes past four)
  • Example 5  (twenty minutes to one / twelve forty)
  • Example 6  (ten minutes to ten / nine fifty)
  • Example 7  (five minutes to seven / six fifty-five)
  • Example 8  (twenty five minutes past five)
  • Example 9  (quarter past three)
  • Example 10 (five minutes to twelve / eleven fifty-five)

I hope you found this interactive learning resource useful. In Komodo maths we cover all aspects of telling the time, including AM & PM, 24 hour time, digital clocks, time problems, and much more. You can sign up for a free trial here



I'm Ged, Co-founder of Komodo, ex-maths teacher and dad. If you have any feedback or questions please get in touch.

About KomodoKomodo is a fun and effective way to boost primary maths skills. Designed for 5 to 11 year olds to use in the home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning maths (15 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week) that fits into the busy routine. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in maths - without keeping them at the screen for long.

Find out more about Komodo and how it helps thousands of children each year do better at maths - you can even try Komodo for free.


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