Teaching time zones in simple way

teaching time zones

Teaching time zones to a 5 year old is not an easy task… unless you lived in different time zones and a child can relate to a time being different at different places. (here it is another advantage of moving so much).

My daughter has been familiar with time zones for quite a while now and I just realized that I have never really talked to her about it. It just came naturally.


We are a super international family, who has family and friends spread literally all over the world. Even us, we managed to change 3 countries in 1 year.

She always asks me:

What time is where Sibel lives,

What time is where grandma lives?

When is lunch time for Madi?

Instead of answering those questions every day I used an opportunity (like always) to teach the time zones. We didn’t get too much into the geographical stuff except for this short but great video to get the basic fact about time zones and how they change.


Teaching Time zones craft and activity

To illustrate that and to understand it better we made world clocks. It turned out into a fun game. We hung the board on the wall (where kids could still reach) and whenever they wanted to see what time is where their favorite people lived they had to turn the clock around little bit.

teaching time zones1. To make these world clocks we used:

  • plastic lids of yogurt containers (we use big big jars)
  • some plastic paper for the clock arrows (I cut out mine from an old cellphone box)
  • some markers to mark the hours
  • small nails to secure the arrows and the clock to the board
  • scissors to cut the arrows
  • cardboard to attach the clocks on

2. We made 4 world clocks but if you are teaching time zones on a more professional level (a class) you could make 24 clocks for each time zone. It is very easy and super fast to make. It took about 5 min each (with the help of a child).

teaching time zones 3. My main goal for this world clock and time zone activity was to start practicing time telling. Kids get very intrigued and motivated when the subject is about their loved ones. It is much more interesting and exciting to learn what time is in your best friend’s house (who lives across the ocean) or when is grandmother having lunch, or to know that your cousin is going to bed when you are just eating your breakfast.

teaching time zonesSo we play those games often and without realizing my daughter is practicing her time telling. Oh, and there is a perfect motor skills activity for your toddler. Arrow turning was so much fun for a 2 year old.

Another great learning activity through play – playtivity!

Please check the rest of our playful educational activities for kids.


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