Toys that help children learn to tell the time

Nov 2011
Toys to help children tell the time
Telling the time can be a difficult task for any child to master

Telling the time involves a combination of many different skills and concepts; from spatial reasoning to mathematics, it can be a difficult task for any child to master. Luckily, there are a number of toys available that are designed to make the process of learning to tell the time a bit easier for both parent and child.

Let's start with an essential; the clock itself. For children (especially younger ones) the clock might not seem like a lot of fun. However, if you manage to snag a decent piece of equipment, you may be able to muster interest in even the most disinterested of time-tellers. A combination of robust, clunky build, bright colours and fun noises, Tick Tock Musical Clock plays music, makes sounds and has twistable parts for a baby to play with. It's sure to become one of your child's favourite toys and, as they grow, you'll be able to use it to introduce time-telling into everyday play.

For the slightly older child, the Shape Sorting Clock is a slightly more suitable colourful and interactive model. Each hour on the clock is represented by a uniquely shaped and coloured block. It's up to your child to sort the hours so they fit into the correct places on the clock's face. They'll learn which hour goes where and once complete, you can use the colourful minute and hour hands.

If you want to make more of a game of telling the time, then Little Labs' Time Game is the one for you. This board game incorporates all the basic lessons and skills of telling the time, both for analogue and digital clocks. That's not to mention hourglasses and sundials, which while not essentials, are certainly nice additions for the more ambitious parent! Alongside a helpful booklet with step-by-step guides to 'telling the time', this board game is the complete package.

Finally, let's talk owls (or rather the helpful Tic Tock Learnt to Tell Time Clock). This colourful plastic owl features a clock face for a tummy and numbers for eyes. Children have to work out the time on the analogue clock, before the owl's eyes open to reveal the answer in numbers. This is a fun, interactive way to test what they've learnt and most importantly of all, can be used while they're on their own. Since the owl tells them the right answer each time, it's a great way to get them to practice telling the time without mum or dad there to push them along.