Since prehistory, humans have found ways to tell the time. Whether studying the position of the sun in the sky, using a sundial, or glancing at a modern smartwatch, we need to know the time to help us organise our day.

Telling the time is an important skill, otherwise how will we know when it is time for dinner, or time to catch a train?

Teach your children about time using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas



The Telling the Time Pack

Time Facts

  • There are 24 hours in a day. Each hour is 60 minutes long. Each minute is 60 seconds long. That means that there are 86,400 minutes in a day (24 x 60 x 60)!
  • Water clocks were used in Ancient Egypt to tell the time.
  • The largest clock faces in the world can be found on the Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Mecca. Each of the four faces is 43 meters (141 feet) across and can be read from 17 kilometres (10 miles) away!
  • Every four years an extra day is added to February. This is known as a leap year and occurs because the earth actually takes 365 and a quarter days to orbit the sun.
  • Galileo Galilei, an Italian scientist, discovered that pendulums could be used to measure time at the beginning of the 17th century.



A simple song about the times we do things during the school day.

Running time: 2:15

Time Trouble

Can the Numberjacks stop Spooky Spoon messing around with time?

Running time: 14:04

A brief history of time telling

This great video from the British Museum is a summary of the history of telling the time.

Running time: 5:55

Number lines for elapsed time

This video demonstrates how to use a number line to solve elapsed time problems.

Running time: 3:24


The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Younger children love this book, which is terrific for learning the days of the week.
The Bad-tempered Ladybird
This story is a great introduction to “o’clock”.
Clocks and More Clocks
Poor Mr Higgins, all the clocks in his house say a different time. what can he do?
A Wrinkle in Time
Find out what happens when Charles goes through a wrinkle in time to find his lost father.
Lift-the-Flap Telling the Time
Find out what happens when Charles goes through a wrinkle in time to find his lost father.
How Do You Know What Time It Is?
Learn about the history of time and how humans measure it.
Get Set Go: Mathematics Telling the Time
Explore how we measure time with a gang of robots.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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