Learning to tell time involves many complex skills. Every year I have children who are beginning to take interest in learning about time. The most common question I hear is “What time is lunch?” I fell in love with this idea to make a nature-inspired rock clock. What a perfect way to give children a hands-on clock to explore! I even had all the materials on hand to make this.
While I don’t teach preschoolers to tell time, I do expose them to the concept of time and numbers, which makes this activity perfect! Whenever possible I try to use materials that children can manipulate, that provide children with sensory input, that give children confidence, and that help build a child’s creativity.
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This nature-inspired rock clock is the brilliant idea of The Educators’ Spin On it. They just published a new book, 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities, which has so many great and engaging educational activities. The authors are teachers who have combined their expertise in the classroom to give parents and educators hands-on teaching tools and ideas. I was thrilled with the ingenuity of so many of the activities.
This activity has been reprinted with permission from the publisher of the book 100 FUN & EASY LEARNING GAMES FOR KIDS.
When I heard about this book, I requested a copy from the publisher because I am definitely addicted to collecting books from my favorite types of authors: real-life teachers who understand the importance of meaningful learning!
Nature-Inspired Rock Clock
- 12 rocks
- 2 sticks
When painting materials that could get rained on or would be great in the sandbox, my favorite type of paint is Acrylic Paint.
For the numbers, you could use a different color of paint. Another method would be to write the numbers with Chalk Markers and cover them with mod-podge to make them more weatherproof.
- Paint the rocks.
- Paint a number 1 to 12 on each rock. Allow them to dry overnight.
- Use a small stick and a larger stick to represent clock hands.
This is a perfect math station activity, either indoors or outdoors! Include the preschoolers in the project. Chances are that you may already have a favorite stash of rocks and sticks around. Our rock collection is enormous!
Work on concepts such as counting from 1 to 12, placing the stones in order, identifying the numbers, forming a circle with the numbers, and allowing the children to explore with all the materials.
Here are suggested activities straight from the book, 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities, for children who are already learning to tell time. My five and seven-year-old both love learning about time, so I knew this would be a big hit!
Directions to Play
- Use the rocks to build a clock in the shape of a circle on a flat surface.
- Set the sticks in the middle as the hour and minute hands.
- One child tells a story with a time problem.
Sam went to the park at 8:00.
He stayed for 1 hour and then went home.
What time did he go home?
- The player to the right uses the hands of the rock clock to show the answer.
- If correct, then he gets to make up a time story. If incorrect, he must change the hands on the clock to show the correct time before telling the next story.
– Set the hour and minute hands on the clock. Act out something you would typically do at that time of day.
– Have one player call out a time and another player shows that time on the rock clock.
– Mix the rocks and race to rebuild the rock clock.
This nature-inspired rock clock is a perfect way to expose children to telling time or interested in learning about numbers, and it is a wonderful tool for children are ready to take the leap and learn to tell time.