Spring Forward!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The clocks spring forward to British Summer Time on the 27th of March, which will see the start of lighter evenings. At 1am UK time will skip an hour to 2am, meaning that clocks will need to be reset.

Telling the time can be tricky with so many different concepts to make children aware of, such as the units of time, the way clocks work, and the difference between analogue and digital. Telling the time is a part of the programme of study for mathematics in Key Stages 1 and 2 and falls under measurement.

We have outlined what is expected in each year of study, and have provided some helpful hints and tips to support children’s learning at home and in the classroom.



  • In the Early Years Foundation Stage children are just beginning to understand the concept of time and are taught by putting familiar events in sequence and measuring time using sand timers.
  • They are also learning the days of the week cycle, and will begin to notice that some events only happen on certain days.



Take pictures of your child doing different activities across one day such as eating breakfast, going to school, going to bed etc. You can print these pictures and encourage your child to put them in order from morning to night. Encourage the use of language such as morning, midday, afternoon, evening and midnight. This activity can be adapted for a group setting by asking children to draw what they do at different points in the day.


Year 1

  • Compare, describe and solve practical problems for time
  • Measure and begin to record time
  • Tell the time to the hour and half past the hour, and draw the hands on a clock face to show these times



Get crafty by making a clock with your child out of a paper plate, card and a split pin. Whilst making the clock they will learn about the positioning of numbers on the clock face, the spacing between the numbers and the size of the two different hands. Once they have made their clock they can practise setting O’clock and half past times!



Year 2

  • Compare and sequence intervals of time
  • Tell and write the time to five minutes, including quarter past/to the hour, and draw the hands on a clock face to show these times
  • Know the number of minutes in an hour, and the number of hours in a day



How long is a minute? Ask your child to stand up and when you say go begin to time a minute. Ask your child to sit down once they think a minute has passed. Afterwards talk about how many seconds are in a minute and try again. You can discuss what they think they could do in one minute. Then, use a minute timer for your child to experiment with. This activity is also effective when carried out with a whole class.

Learning Resources Sand Timers


Year 3

  • Tell and write the time from an analogue clock, including using Roman numerals from I to XII, and 12-hour and 24-hour clocks
  • Estimate and read time with increasing accuracy to the nearest minute; record and compare time in terms of seconds, minutes and hours; use vocabulary such as o’clock, am/pm, morning, afternoon, noon and midnight
  • Know the number of seconds in a minute, and the number of days in each month, year and leap year
  • Compare durations of events [for example, to calculate the time taken by particular events or tasks]



Learn this rhyme to help your child remember days in the months and leap year!

Thirty days hath September,

April, June and November;

February has twenty eight alone.

All the rest have thirty-one,

Except in Leap Year, that’s the time

When February’s Days are twenty-nine.

Learning Resources Magnetic Learning Calendar


Year 4

  • Read, write and convert time between analogue and digital 12- and 24-hour clocks
  • Solve problems involving converting from hours to minutes, minutes to seconds, years to months, weeks to days



Say a time and ask your child to set the time on their clock or draw the hands on a blank clock. Call out times in 12 and 24 hours. For an extra challenge, ask what time it will be 5/10/20 minutes and prompt them to record it.

Learning Resources About Time – Telling the Time & Understanding Elapsed Time



Year 5

  • Solve problems involving converting between units of time



Create small cards that display different versions of the same time for example, 5pm/17:00/five O’clock/clock face showing 5 O’clock. Ask your child to match all the different ways of presenting the time. This game also works well in a classroom as a ‘follow me’ style game.

Learning Resources Time Dominoes

Year 6

  • Use, read, write and convert between standard units, converting measurements of length, mass, volume and time from a smaller unit of measure to a larger unit, and vice versa, using decimal notation to up to 3 decimal places.


Pose different time word problems to your child and ask them
to work out how much time has passed in a real-life situation such as visiting
the shops or going to school. Ensure that the problem involves mixed units of
time such as seconds, minutes and hours.

Here is an example:

Karen went to the shops at 12:30pm. She was shopping  for one hour and 15 minutes, what time did she