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Make a Paper Plate Clock for Teaching Time

As the hands of time tick by, try making a paper plate clock to teach about time. Little ones will be delighted to get to ‘control’ time.

Paper Plate Clock

Why Teach Telling Time Using An Analog Clock

In a world full of digital EVERYTHING, why should we teach preschoolers how to use an analog clock? Won’t they always have access to a digital clock?

Learning to read an analog clock isn’t only about telling time. Shocking, right?

The analog clock is a perfect template for teaching kids fractions. Some places, the US included, use wording reflecting fractions when discussing time. “Half past the hour” or “Quarter to 3” are a few examples.

Paper Plate Clock

An analog clock also creates a visual for our brains of how much time has passed.

Teaching your preschooler to tell time can help alleviate the “WHEN IS SNACK TIME?!” question over and over. Make a paper plate clock and set it to snack time. When your little one sees the paper plate clock and the analog clock on the wall match, it’s snack time!

Items Needed to Make a Paper Plate Clock

*paper plate

*brass fastener

*construction paper or colored cardstock




Paper Plate Clock

Paper Plate Clock How To

1. Have the adult use a pencil and write the numbers near the edges of the paper plate. Pretend the plate is a clock when writing the numbers.

The 12 goes directly on top. 6 is straight across from 12, on the bottom. 3 is on the right, halfway between the 12 and the 6. 9 is directly across from 3.

It’s easiest to start by placing 12, 6, 3, and 9 before filling in the other numbers so you know your spacing is correct.

Paper Plate Clock

2. Have your preschooler use a marker to trace over the numbers. This is perfect for practicing writing numbers for your little one.

3. Using the tip of a pencil or a pen, poke a small hole in the center of the paper plate.

4. To make the arrows, choose two different-colored papers. Using two colors will help your little one differentiate between the arrows when it comes to telling time.

Paper Plate Clock

5. Grab the colored paper for the minute hand. Put one end of the paper on the hole in the center of the plate. Angle the paper so that it touches some of the numbers. Mark on the page where the paper meets the numbers.
From there, create the tip of the arrow at the mark.

6. Do the same to create the hour hand, but make it a bit shorter.

7. Cut out the arrows and then fold the very end of the arrows (not the tip) over gently. Snip it with the scissors. This will make little holes so the hands can be attached to the paper plate clock.

Paper Plate Clock

8. Take the brass fastener and place it through the tiny holes that were just made on the hands. Then, place the fastener and the clock hands through the hole on the paper plate clock.

9. Flip the plate over (while holding the head of the fastener in place) to spread the leg things (?) so the fastener is secured. Try to leave it a bit loose or it will be tough to move the hands.

10. Practice telling time with the paper plate clock.

Paper Plate Clock

Hands-On Telling Time Tool

This quick and simple paper plate clock is a beautiful craft that can double as a teaching tool. Making these paper plate clocks has a hidden bonus: your little one gets some number writing practice!

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