Best telling the time apps for kids

Best telling the time apps for kids
It was recently reported that secondary schools were having to install digital clocks in exam rooms as pupils couldn't read an analogue clock. These great time-teaching apps will help your child master this vital skill (the fun way).

Best for Reception children

Telling the Time Ages 4-5: Andrew Brodie Basics, £3.99, Apple

Andrew Brodie, a former headteacher, helps kids practise the basics of telling the time in this app, aimed at Reception children. It features tasks based around reading and manipulating analogue and digital clocks, as well as understanding days of the week and months.

The first stage is for your child to take the Quick Quiz, which asks them a variety of questions such as: ‘move the hands of the clock to six o’clock;’ ‘which clock shows the time two o’clock?;’ and ‘what day comes after Friday?’ If they need help, they can tap the Digit the Dog character, which will remove one multiple choice answer, narrowing their options.

Once you’ve established which area your child needs practice in, the Let’s Practise! section allows you to create a quiz based around that particular skill, such as telling the time to half past, days of the week, and months of the year. They can also take a timed Progress Test and try to better their previous times and scores. If they get more than seven out of 10, they unlock the next test level.

This app doesn’t actually teach your child how to tell the time, so it’s best for helping kids who have already grasped the basics to become more confident in their skills.

Best for KS1

Telling the Time Ages 6-8: Andrew Brodie Basics, £3.99, Apple

The second in the Andrew Brodie Basics time teaching series is aimed at children in Years 1 and 2.

Building on Telling The Time Ages 4-5 (reviewed above), it uses the same quiz format but features more complex time-telling concepts. For example, questions include, ‘How many minutes in two hours?;’ ‘How many days in four weeks?’ and moving the numbers on a digital clock to match the time shown on an analogue clock.

Your child is tested on telling the time to smaller intervals, including five past/to, 10 past/to and quarter past/to. When they change the time on the analogue clock face, the hands move together, rather than separately, helping to familiarise your child with the way they move in relation to each other.

There’s also a detailed results area which not only gives your child’s scores in the tasks they’ve tried, but also their scores per question type, letting you identify which skills they need to work on.

Best for KS2

Telling the Time Ages 9-11: Andrew Brodie Basics, £3.99, Apple

The third time teaching app from Andrew Brodie Basics focuses on the types of skills your child will learn in KS2. These include not just telling the time to the nearest minute, but also complicated concepts such as time intervals.

In the Let’s Practise! area, your child can practise solving problems involving journey times (e.g. ‘A train leaves at 04:54 and arrives at 07:38. How long did the journey take?’) and start/finish or arrival/departure times (e.g. ‘A film starts at 07:03 and lasts for one hour and 19 minutes. At what time will it finish?’). There’s also a fiendishly difficult Teasers section, as well as lots of opportunities to practise reading analogue and digital clocks.

Older children will enjoy trying to beat their previous top scores and competing against their friends: multiple player profiles can be added to the app. There’s also the opportunity for them to share their results on social media.

NB: the three Andrew Brodie Telling the Time apps are available as a bundle for £4.99

Best for understanding the science of time

Tic Toc Time, £3.99, Apple and Android

Tic Toc Time is designed not just to teach children to read a clock, but to understand the science behind how we tell the time. It involves working through interactive games and tasks in sequence, taking your child through the various concepts that time-telling is based on.

The first stage – The Compass – introduces the four points of the compass and how they relate to the sun’s position in the sky. Holding their phone or tablet, your child has to turn around to find the compass points. Next, The Sun and The Shadow explores the relationship between shadows and the sun, including reading a sundial.

Your child is then introduced to the 24-hour clock face and the concepts of AM and PM before building their own clock by dragging the numbers and hands into position. Only then do they begin to complete time-telling activities, including dragging the hands to a given time position (with the movement of the small hand introduced first), and stop the clock challenges that involve matching analogue and digital times.

Aimed at five- to eight-year-olds, this app isn’t a quick fix as your child has to work through the steps in sequence, but it’s great for enquiring minds who love to understand the reasoning behind what they’re learning.

Best for progressive learning

Set the Clock, 79p, Apple and Android

This simple app will help your child practise time-telling activities in the order that they’re taught at school, beginning with telling the time to the hour, then introducing half-hours, quarter-hours and five-minute intervals.

There are several different types of challenge, including Set the Clock, where your child has to move the hands on an analogue clock face to the given time; Telling the Time, where they have to choose which clock shows the given time from a group of four; Adjust the Clock, where they have to move the clock hands forward or backwards by a given interval; and Set the Digital Clock. Each has five levels of increasing difficulty.

Your child earns bronze, silver and gold medals for solving problems correctly. It’s also great for children who are learning a foreign language at school, as you can set the app to ask questions in other languages including French, German, Spanish and Chinese.

Best for converting digital to analogue

iR Telling Time, 99p, Apple and Android

Developed by Primary Games Ltd, which produces a whole range of curriculum-linked maths apps, iR Telling Time will help your child become faster and more confident with reading and setting an analogue clock.

Each round involves your child being given either five questions, or 10 in later levels. They are either given a time in words (e.g. five minutes past twelve) or as a digital reading on a 24-hour clock (e.g. 22:30); they must then set the clock to the right time by pressing buttons to jump forwards or backwards in one-minute, five-minute and one-hour intervals. Each level is timed so they can challenge themselves to beat their previous scores.

The app, although basic, is a good way to help your child get to grips with how to convert times on the 24-hour clock to analogue, a key skill that is taught in Year 4.

Best for building speed

Stop the Clock, 99p, Apple

Being able to solve mental maths problems quickly, including those involving telling the time, is an important skill for children who are approaching KS2 SATs or the 11+. Stop the Clock is a great way to help them become fast and fluent in reading the 12- and 24-hour clock.

The game involves your child matching four clock faces with the corresponding time written either in words or as a digital time. Once they’ve matched all four, they hit the ‘Stop the Clock’ button to find out if their answers are right – and how long it took them. The app records their best times so they can try to improve on them.

There are various levels of increasing difficulty, starting with telling the time to the hour right through to telling it to the minute. Higher levels also introduce the 24-hour clock, and once your child is feeling really confident, Challenge mode will test them on a range of questions from all the previous levels.

Best for real-life applications

Todo Telling Time, £4.99, Apple and Android

This award-winning app is unlike many others in that it doesn’t just teach children to read a clock, but gives them lots of real-life context to help them develop a deeper understanding of time concepts.

There’s a selection of mini games, each of which helps your child become familiar with a different aspect of time. Ferris Wheel, for example, involves your child putting numbered cars on the wheel to correspond with where the numbers are on a clock face. Schedule asks them to set a time on an analogue clock, then shows them an animation of what happens at that time of day. Train Time involves them reading an analogue clock and making the same time in digital numbers. Each game has different levels, becoming progressively harder.

The app teaches secondary time-telling concepts, like counting in fives and elapsed time, as well as the basics. There’s also a multiple choice Time Quiz which tests their understanding of time with questions like, ‘Which activity takes about one minute? Playtime with doggy/Homework/Putting on Jacket.’

Best for variety

Telling Time – 8 Games to Tell Time, £1.99, Apple

Simply designed with lovely clear clock faces, this time-teaching app is ideal for kids who like to vary the tasks they’re working on.

The first step is to choose which set of times your child needs to practise, including whole hours, quarter past/to, half past/to and beyond. You can also decide what wording you want your child to use (for example, five past or :05). They then have access to eight different games, including Flashcards, Photo Touch (where they have two pictures of clocks and have to pick the one that shows the spoken time), Match Up (where they match the analogue time to a digital time) and Bingo. 

Nifty features include the ability to create different user profiles for different children, including uploading their photo, and to record your own voice speaking the times. The plain layout may not offer enough to hold a younger child’s attention, but is suitably grown-up for KS2 kids who need to practise their time-telling skills.

Best for explaining the basics

Mingoville Fun Clock, £2.99, Apple and Android

Featuring the colourful Jonathan the flamingo, Mingoville Fun Clock is great for kids who are just beginning to tell the time. It doesn’t just get them to practise reading and setting clocks, but also has child-friendly animations that explain how to tell the time on both analogue and digital clocks.

Once your child has watched and understood the videos, they can tackle a selection of different time-telling activities, including building their own clock. One involves tilting the phone or tablet to roll balls corresponding to numbers to the correct position on a clock face; another requires them to choose the right time from a choice of three to make the school bus depart.

With lots of ways to interact, this app will make learning to tell the time fun, with a logical progression through four levels, from telling the time to the hour to reading clocks to one-minute intervals.

Best for time calculations

Kids Time Fun, £3.99, Apple

Primary school children are not just expected to be able to tell the time, but also to make calculations involving time, such as working out how long has elapsed between two given times. Kids Time Fun will help your child practise solving these problems.

There are five different sorts of challenge: Set the Time, Tell the Time, Elapsed Time (‘How much time has passed?’), Time Before (‘What was the time 30 minutes ago?), and Time After (‘What time will it be in one hour?’). There’s also a Mixed mode where your child can test themselves with all five question types.

Your child can choose from four levels of difficulty based on martial arts belts, and can play either with up to 50 practice problems with unlimited time, or see how many they can solve in a fixed time limit.

Best for mastering the 24-hour clock

Telling Time for Kids by Alexandre Minard

Telling Time for Kids by Alexandre Minard, £1.99, Apple

Primary school children are expected to have a sound knowledge of both the 12- and 24-hour clock. This app is ideal for children who can already tell the time, helping them learn how digital times appear on analogue clocks.

The app gives your child a digital time that they then have to make on the analogue clock above by dragging the hands into the right position. But they have to show whether it’s a day or night time by making sure the sky scene at the top of the screen corresponds to the time on their clock. For example, at 11.15, a bright blue sunny sky appears; for 23.15, it’s black and starry.

An alternative game shows a time on a clock face, with the corresponding day or night sky; your child then has to drag the right numbers onto a digital clock, using the 24-hour clock. With two quiz modes and a practice section where your child can create their own times on an analogue clock and see how the digital one appears, or vice versa, this app will help them become fluent with reading both the 12- and 24-hour clocks.