Time is an abstract concept that children find very difficult to get their heads around. It can be very frustrating for us parents too. Explaining when something is going to happen or how long they have to wait can be a real challenge, even if it’s something as short as five minutes.
Getting kids to learn about the passage of time can help alleviate that frustration and give them a greater sense of independence and security. But time has many facets to cover. You can start from the smallest increment of time on the clock, the second, and finish with a year or beyond if you want. And there are many units to hit in between.
Measuring these different increments of time involves a variety of tools and this article will cover some of the best books and calendars to assist you in your endeavor.
But teaching your child about the passage of time also includes the passage of years and that can be done with some interesting and engaging activities. By the end of this article, they will have a better grasp on the topic or time and you will be better equipped to teach them.
The Clock – relating daily routines to the passage of time
Teaching kids about the passage of time can be done with a combination of things: using a clock and relating that to the daily routines. Kids have the opportunity to see a clock the whole day at school or at home, so this is an exercise they can practice whenever they want.
So having a daily routine and sticking to a schedule helps them associate those activities to a certain time on the clock. It’s important to remember that their clock needs to be an analog teaching clock which has the minutes and hours indicated with numbers.
The schedule should also ty into certain senses as well. If you have breakfast every day at 8:00 then when they wake up at 7:45 they know they have 15 minutes to get ready to eat. The smell of breakfast cooking or the taste of milk or juice will condition them to know that it’s 8:00 and they should be reminded of it until they associate it themselves.
Having them relate the clock to daily routines will allow then to develop a sense of security and even foresight as they will learn how to predict what will happen next throughout the day and at what time it will occur.

Telling Time Teaching Clock

Your kids can learn the time with this specially designed analog kids clock that lets them see the time by implementing colored numbers. Each quarter is broken down into a specific color making it easier for your little ones to remember and retain where each minute is. It even has helpful references like “o’clock,” “quarter past,” “half past,” and “quarter to” printed on the face!



Top 10 Calendars for teaching the passage of time

Calendars provide kids with the opportunity to learn many skills related to time. From time management to math skills to prepare for future events, like birthdays or holidays, calendars help turn an abstract concept to a concrete concept.
A great way to promote an understanding of the passage of time is to learn about the seasons and how things change throughout the year. Before breaking out the calendar, discuss the activities you can do in each season.
In Winter you can play in the snow, go ice skating or wear a lot of clothing. In Spring you look at trees with blossoms and prepare the garden. In Summer you go to the beach or fly kits. In Fall you can rake leaves or harvest your garden.
The calendars below will help you with all these activities and more.

Perpetual calendar by From Jennifer:

This wooden perpetual calendar is wonderfully hand-crafted and has many elements for charting the days, months, seasons and weather. Your child can organize their week by plotting the forecast and noting special events. It is made of hard maple wood and is very durable for young learners.

Weekly Rhythm Chart by From Jennifer:

For kids who need structure in their daily routine, this weekly rhythm chart is perfect. It has the days of the weeks with painted wooden tokens for planning the whole day. It’s made of sturdy maple hardwood and is a great learning tool for accomplishing chores and housework.

Annual cycle circle by Playhood:

With this felt annual cycle your kids get a vibrant and engaging material for learning about the four seasons, the twelve months and the number of days in a year. The seasons are divided into their traditional colors and the days have a beaded chain to indicate where in the year birthdays and other events take place. You fill each color field with items that indicate that season. For example in winter put snow mittens, for summer a bathing suit. It’s a very active material for learning with Montessori pedagogy.

Perpetual felt calendar by TinyFairyWorlds:

If you’re looking for an artisanal touch to your perpetual calendar then this felt, hand embroidered centerpiece is perfect for you. It is beautifully hand-crafted and marks the seasons, months and days with adorable fairy figurines. The center season/month piece rotates so that each month can start on day 1. It is amazing!

Waldorf perpetual calendar by MirusToys:

This perpetual calendar from Mirus Toys has to be the most complete and beautiful calendar I have found! It has the usual seasons, months, days of the week and dates like other calendars. But it takes the calendar to a whole new level with its charts for the weather, the phases of the moon and even the day’s temperature! It not only organizes everything in a beautiful place but all the information will satisfy the urges of your child’s curiosity.

Calendar & Weather Pocket Chart by Learning Resources:

This vinyl perpetual calendar is perfect for parents on a budget. It has all the calendar needs one has for teaching the passage of time with handy little pockets.  Not only does it have the dates, days, holidays, seasons and weather, but it also assists with the difficult yesterday, today, tomorrow days.

Daily Kids Calendar and Weekly Responsibility Chart by ScKIDules:

This daily kids calendar has the best selection of weekly responsibilities for kids in the home. They are all depicted with fun illustrations on handy magnetic pieces for easy changing. It’s two-sided for working with on a daily and weekly basis. Your child will love this approach to learning independence and expectations of behavior.

Magnetic Calendar and Responsibility Chart Set by Melissa and Doug:

Perhaps the most famous producer of calendars and responsibility charts, Melissa and Doug don’t disappoint with this comprehensive magnetic calendar and responsibility chart. It serves many purposes, from daily chores to behavioral performance. They hang nicely with a strong cord and high-quality materials ensure long-lasting durable usage through much wear and tear. The pieces are magnetic so they stick nicely to their base.

Kid’s Awesome Activity Wall Calendar 2020:

For older kids who can write their agenda for the month this Kid’s awesome activity calendar is ideal. Every month of The Kid’s Awesome Activity Calendar is chock full of fun prompts, crafts, games, and quirky creatures. Kids can draw and sticker on twelve seasonally themed scenes. In addition, mark events with stickers (camping trip! pediatrician!), keep track of rewards points on the magnetic chart and hold supplies in the handy drop-down storage pocket. It’s the calendar to get the whole family involved!

Johanna Basford 2020 Coloring Wall Calendar:

This wonderful coloring wall calendar from Johanna Basford serves a double purpose. It is perfect for writing the monthly schedule and gives your kids a fun coloring activity. Each month is an intricate and imaginative illustration that satisfies your child’s creative impulses as well as their need to track events and responsibilities. The calendar is printed on high-quality stock specially selected by the artist to provide the best coloring results.


More activities


Nature table

Keeping a nature table of things you collect by walking through the forest in each season will relate those objects to a specific time of the year. Make a little corner table that reminds them that they should add to it as the days and months go by.


Tree poster

A printed poster of a tree, like this one, can also be used to depict the seasons. It should have just the trunk and branches and as the seasons pass you add the seasonal changes (Cotton for snow, pink tissue paper for blossoms, green and fall colored paper leaves and little animals…).



Using a combination of a perpetual calendar and a calendar they can write their schedule of events on is the best method for teaching kids the passage of time. That’s why I put a variety of calendars in this post. They all have their benefits and you should choose those which best fit the needs and character of your child.
I believe teaching the passage of time should assist kids in being more aware of their daily routines and that it shouldn’t take 30 minutes to finish a bowl of cereal or put some clothes on. Nevertheless, I also hope that when the concept of time passing becomes a more conscious entity that we don’t overdo it. Kids are still going to live in the moment, dawdle and get distracted. And that’s fine.
They shouldn’t be learning the passage of time so that we have more time, but so that they can develop their own sense of time, without getting caught up in the breakneck speed of society. They will get sucked in eventually when they grow up; so let them enjoy the aimless, timeless beauty that is childhood, for as long as they can.

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