Many children, as they grow older, become interested in watches. Some feel that curiosity very early and others take a little longer to get motivated. However, the truth is that, sooner or later, they will have to learn to read the hours since this is one of the first mathematical skills they must develop. How to teach the hours to a child in a fun way ?
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When is the child ready to learn to read the clock?
Some children become interested in learning to read the clock at a very young age; although that does not mean that they already handle the basic concepts. In fact, it is not until around 5 years of age that the child has the necessary skills to understand what time means and how it is measured. At this age they are already able to differentiate between the concepts “today” and “tomorrow” and they have a fairly clear notion of the time that passes between one hour and another.
However, these abilities are not enough to learn to read the hours, it is also necessary that the child knows how to count, at least up to 60. In addition, it is important that they understand that the numbers follow an increasing order which implies that 3 is greater than 2 and less than 4; Otherwise, they will not be able to learn the hours because time is pure mathematics.
Once the child understands the concept of time and knows how to count to 60, they will be ready to unravel the mysteries of the clock.
Teaching the child to read the hours in 3 steps
1. Teach him to read a digital clock
The simplest clocks are the digital ones because they mark the precise time and you only have to read the numbers that appear on the screen so they are an excellent choice to start teaching time to a child. The task is to explain that the first number that appears corresponds to the hours and the second to the minutes. You should explain that the day is divided into 24 hours, that each hour has 60 minutes and each minute has 60 seconds.
For the child to understand this measurement you can use stones of three different colors where one will mean the hours, another the minutes and the third the seconds. This way you can explain to him how as the seconds advance, the minutes pass and the hours also pass. It will be a bit confusing at first but you will soon understand this concept.
2. Help him create his first clock with hands
When the child is able to read the digital clock, it will be time to teach him to read the hours on a clock with hands. A good strategy is to help him build his first clock with hands. You can use a cardboard and cut it out in a round shape and use two straws or pens of different sizes to represent the hands of the clock. You will have to divide the sphere into different sections (which you can distinguish with different colors to make it more fun) for each of the hours and minutes (it is preferable that you represent the minutes 5 at a time).
When the clock with hands is ready, you can play to move the hands towards the color that the child prefers so that together you identify the marked time. You can let the child do it randomly but he will always have to read the time it shows.
3. Let him play with the clock
Children hate doing things out of obligation, so it is convenient that you make this learning a game. Let him play with the clock you have created or give him an old one to manipulate, if it has sound, much better. You can also take advantage and buy him his first wristwatch, preferably with hands, he will feel important and will be more motivated to learn to tell the time.