Teaching Kids How to Tell Time With This Interactive DIY Clock

Learning How to Tell Time With This Interactive DIY Clock

Learning how to tell time can be fun when you use props and games to practice! In a digital era, it is rare for students to have real-world experience with an analog clock. This interactive clock is a great way to get hands-on practice, learning the hours and minutes. To use the clock, start with discovering the parts. Discuss the hour hand, the minute hand, the hour numbers and the minutes with your student. Demonstrate how the hands always turn clockwise. For younger children, start teaching to tell time with whole hours. Gradually bump up the game with 30-minute increments, then 15 minutes, then 5! Eventually, you’ll be working toward elapsed time, for example, “It’s 5:00 now, what time will it be in 20 minutes?” 

Learning how to tell time with your interactive clock will also help your child master motor skills. Spinning the hands and flipping the hours to reveal minutes are excellent work for little fingers. The DIY clock could be used in the classroom for math lessons or as a reference at home, placed near or next to a real clock. 

Someone once told me you can play peek-a-boo with any age and this clock proves it’s true! Your child can learn to tell time as early as 5 or 6 years old but many are still working on it well into 3rd grade or ages 8 to 9.  

Materials needed: 

Just so you know, Bored Teachers may get a small share of the sales made through the affiliate links on this page.

2 sturdy paper plates

Black and Orange fine tip permanent marker

Small piece of colored cardstock

Small piece of pipe cleaner


Small utility knife


1. Label hours 

Begin labeling the hours on the first paper plate using a fine tip marker (this will be the top of your clock). It is helpful to space your hours evenly by beginning with marking 12 at the top, 6 directly under that, and then 3 and 9 opposite each other about halfway between. Then, fill in the remaining hours. Try to write all your numbers facing up (so your child won’t have to turn her head to read the numbers!).

2. Cut slits around each hour 

Using scissors, cut pie-shaped slits around each hour. Stop your slit before you get to the middle, so you don’t cut your plate in half! Leave an imaginary circle (about the size of a cookie) in the middle that does not have any cuts in it. 

3. Stack bottom plate

Take your second paper plate and place it under the plate you’ve just labeled with hours. This will be your “minutes plate.” 

4. Make Clock Hands 

Using a small utility knife, cut the minute and hour hand from colored card stock paper. Make sure the minute hand is noticeably longer than the hour hand. Hold the paper up to your plate to judge the length of the hands. Be sure they do not overlap your writing. 

5. Pipe Cleaner

Using a short length of pipe cleaner, stick it through the hour hand, minute hand, top hour plate, and bottom (blank right now) plate. Leave ends on either side sticking out the front and back, we will call them “tails” for the next step.

6. Twist to secure 

Place one hand on the back “tail” and hold firmly. Twist the front tail to make a little knob that holds the pieces together. 

7. Twist to secure the back

Next, twist the tail sticking out of the backplate so all your pieces are secure. Be sure you are able to spin the hands on the clock (not too tight).  

8. Label minutes 

Using a different color fine tip marker that is clearly contrasting, such as orange, label the minutes on the bottom paper plate. As you lift the pie shape hour, the minute label should “hide” under it. Try to write all your numbers facing up (so your child won’t have to turn his head to read the numbers!).

9. Label hands 

Use a black fine tip marker to label the hour and minute hands.

Make learning how to tell time exciting for your students. This easy DIY will last forever and act as a tool your child can use independently long after the lesson is over! 

Like it? Share with your friends!

Choose A Format
Share your amazing stories, tips, opinions, and other stuff that matters.
Upload your funny, inspiring, DIY, or informative video(s) for the world to see!
Personality quiz
Leave the serious quizzes at school, these are strictly fun! You make the questions and pre-define the results.
Trivia quiz
Time to test your friends' knowledge! You choose the subject and have fun seeing who scores the highest!
Pose any question to millions of educators by creating your own polls/surveys, whether for research, for fun, or for the sake of curiosity!
Share your classroom decor, costumes, funny classroom antics, silly grading moments, or other teacher life shenanigans!