What Time Is It?

(for ages 4+)


  • Two different sized round paper plates (any color)
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Paper
  • Cardstock
  • Number stickers (1-12)
  • Metal paper fastener
  • Glue stick
  • Safety scissors

Recipe for Playful Learning!

STEP 1: If you are using plain white paper plates, you can use crayons or markers to make one a different color. Kids will have fun decorating the paper plates in colors that they love.

STEP 2: Show your child a household clock (or find an image online) to use as an example. Using stickers, help your child to place the numbers 12, 3, 6 and 9 in the correct locations around the edges of the smaller plate. Once the numbers are in place, fill in the rest of the numbers.

  • For young children who may have difficulty placing the numbers properly, you can write them on the plate in pencil and have your child match the sticker numbers with your pencil marks to put them in place.
  • Replace or add only at the beginning of the word, or only at the end of the word, to see the changes in your word ladder.
  • Your paper clock can be customized by making the key numbers (12, 3, 6, 9) larger than the other numbers or written in different colors than the other numbers. This can help distinguish the importance of these numbers when teaching time to older children.

STEP 3: Glue the smaller plate on top of the larger plate so that the edge of the larger plate sticks out. Work with your child to write the minutes in increments of 5 or 10 (i.e. 5, 10, 15 or 10, 20, 30) along the edge of the larger plate lined up with the numbers on the smaller plate.

STEP 4: To make the clock hands, cut out two long thin rectangles from the heavier cardstock. Make sure that one rectangle is longer for the minute hand and the other is shorter for the hour hand. Pierce a small hole at each end of both hands.

  • To help your child differentiate between the clock hands, use a marker to write minute on the long hand and hour on the shorter hand.

STEP 5: Put the paper plates on top of each other and pierce a small hole to go through the center of each plate. Line up the holes in both the hour and minute hands with the holes in the plate. Insert the paper fastener through the hands and the plates and secure it to the back of the bottom plate. Make sure that the fastener is loose enough to allow free movement of the clock hands.

  • Start teaching time using times familiar to your child – school time, dinner time, bedtime – and incorporate minutes after your child is comfortable with the hours.

Skills to Practice: Telling Time, Counting, Critical Thinking