Telling the Time ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

My Calendar

ESL Make a Calendar Activity - Writing - Beginner (A1) - 60 minutes

In this make a calendar activity, students make a calendar and fill it with special days or dates such as birthdays, festivals, national holidays, etc. To begin, students learn and practice the rhyme "Thirty days have September". Next, the students complete a calendar by writing in months, days of the week and dates. When the calendar is complete, students add colour and pictures as desired, highlighting special days or dates such as family birthdays, national holidays, etc. Students then cut out the calendar, stick it together and thread it with a piece of string so it can be hung up.
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Time Pelmanism Game

ESL Telling the Time Game - Reading, Matching and Speaking Activity - Beginner (A1) - 20 minutes

In this fun telling time game, students match times to clock picture cards. In pairs, students take it in turns to turn over one clock picture card and one word card. If a student turns over a matching pair of cards, the student says the time, e.g. 'It's half past six'. The student then keeps the pair of cards and has another turn. The student with the most pairs of cards at the end of the game wins. Afterwards, the students test each other on the times using the picture cards. The students take it in turns to pick up a clock picture card, show it to their partner and ask 'What's the time?' Their partner then tells the time on the card. If the answer is correct, the student scores a point. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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Just Another Day

ESL Telling the Time Activity - Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 30 minutes

In this free telling the time teaching activity, students practice saying times and using the present simple to describe a partner's everyday activities. First, students choose cards that show the activities they do on a normal day and indicate when they do each activity by drawing the time on the clock. Students use the blank cards to add any activities they do every day that are not shown on any of the activity cards. Next, students exchange cards with a partner and lay out their partner's activities in order, according to the times on the clocks. Students then take it in turns to look at their partner's cards and describe their normal day, e.g. 'You wake up at half past six. You have breakfast at seven o'clock. You arrive at class at half past eight, etc.' When the students have finished, they find differences in what they do every day, e.g. 'I wake up at seven o’clock, but you wake up at half past seven'. Afterwards, students take their partner's activity cards and work with a new partner. This time, the students lay out their original partner's cards in the correct order and describe his or her normal day to their new partner using the third-person singular.
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Missing Dates

ESL Dates Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 15 minutes

In this saying dates activity, students practice ordinal numbers, months and dates. In pairs, students take it in turns to ask questions about missing dates in a table on their worksheet and complete the table with their partner's answers. When the students have finished, they check their answers and spelling by comparing worksheets with their partner.
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Miyu's Mystery Timetable

ESL School Timetable Worksheet - Reading, Matching and Writing Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

This timetable worksheet is ideal for practicing time, days of the week and school subjects. Working alone, students read clues on the worksheet and complete the missing subjects in Miyu's school timetable. When the students have finished, draw the timetable on the board and elicit the answers from the class.
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Interactive Version - Here is a school timetable interactive worksheet to help students practice time, school subjects and days of the week.

 

Telling the Time Dominoes

ESL Telling the Time Game - Reading and Matching Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 15 minutes

This fun telling time game helps students practice saying the time with 'past' and 'to'. In the activity, students play a game of dominoes where they match written times to times on digital clocks. The first student puts a domino down either before or after the domino on the table, making sure the written time on one domino matches the digital clock on the other domino or vice-versa. The student then reads the time aloud to the group for confirmation. If the times don't match, the student must take back the domino. Play then passes to the next student and so on. The first player to get rid of all their dominoes wins the game.
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Telling the Time

ESL Telling The Time Worksheet - Reading, Matching and Writing Exercises - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this engaging telling time worksheet, students learn and practice telling the time using numbers and expressions 'past' and 'to'. Students begin by matching time expressions to the number of minutes 'before' or 'after' the hour. Next, students write times in numbers and then match clocks to times. After that, students draw times on blank clock faces. Following that, students write times in words using 'past' and 'to'. In the last exercise, students match times with 24-hour clocks.
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Interactive Version - This telling the time interactive worksheet contains a range of exercises to help students learn how to tell the time with 'past' and 'to'.

 

Terry's Timetable

ESL Timetable Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this free school timetable activity, students practice telling the time, time prepositions and school subjects. In pairs, students take it in turns to ask their partner questions and complete missing subjects in Terry's school timetable. They do this by guessing which subject from the worksheet Terry studies at a particular time, e.g. 'Is the chemistry lesson at 9:30 on Monday?' When both students have finished, they check their answers by comparing timetables.
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Interactive Version - In this free telling the time breakout room activity, students practice telling time and time prepositions by guessing missing school subjects in a timetable and asking questions.

 

Time Around the World

ESL Time Around the World Activity - Reading, Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this time zones activity, students practice asking and answering questions about the time in different cities around the world. The students' task is to find out the time in cities around the world when it is 12 o'clock in London. In pairs, students take turns asking their partner questions about the missing time for each city on their worksheet, e.g. 'What's the time in Singapore?' Their partner replies with the time shown on their worksheet, e.g. 'It's 8 p.m.' The student then writes the time into the table. Afterwards, in pairs, students answer a set of time zone questions.
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Time Bingo

ESL Telling the Time Bingo Game - Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 30 minutes

In this telling the time game, students play bingo using time. To begin, students draw a different time (o'clock) on each clock face on their bingo card, e.g. one o'clock, five o'clock, etc. In the space next to each clock face, students write: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, midday or midnight. Call out times as numbers with a.m. and p.m., e.g. 1 a.m. If the students have a matching time on their card, they cross it off. When a student has crossed off all nine times, he or she shouts 'bingo' The student then reads out the nine times using o'clock and the time expression, e.g. one o'clock in the morning. If the times are correct, the student wins the round. If the student has made a mistake, the game continues. Practice a different time in each round. For example, the next round could practice 'half past', e.g. '1:30 a.m.' and 'half past one in the morning'. Then, move on to 'quarter past' and so on.
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Timetable Battleships

ESL Time Telling Game - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this free telling the time game, students play battleships by trying to find six English lessons in a partner's school timetable. To start, students write six English lessons into the empty timetable on the worksheet. Students write in one triple period, one double and a single period. Students fill in the empty squares with other school subjects, e.g. history, chemistry, etc. The students then play a game of battleships where they take it in turns to ask their partner what they study at particular times and write the answers in their partner's timetable on the worksheet. The first person to find all six of their partner's English lessons is the winner.
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Interactive Version - In this free telling time breakout room game, students practice saying times by trying to find English lessons in a classmate's school timetable.

 

Vocabulary Clocks

ESL Telling the Time Game - Spelling and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

This imaginative telling time game can be used to review telling the time and recently covered vocabulary. Draw a clock on the board. Next to each number, write letters of the alphabet. The first letter of the word is the hour hand and the last letter of the word is the minute hand. Call out a word. The teams then race to call out the correct time. The first team to call out the correct time associated with the spelling of the word scores a point. After all the vocabulary has been reviewed, the game is reversed by calling out a time and having the students come up with a word that starts and ends with those letters. The first team to do so scores a point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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When is your birthday?

ESL Saying Dates Activity - Listening and Speaking - Elementary (A1-A2) - 20 minutes

In this saying dates activity, students practice asking and answering questions about birthdays. Give each student a card that shows a gift-wrapped present and a label. The students write the date of their birthday on the label. Collect in the cards and then redistribute them so each student has someone else's birthday on a card. The students imagine what is under the gift-wrapping of the present (e.g. a box of chocolates) and write the present on the back of the card. The students' task is to find out who their present is for and to give it to them. To do this, the students walk around the class asking 'When is your birthday?' until they find the person who has the same birthday as the one shown on their card. When a student finds the owner of the card, they give it to them and explain what the present is, e.g. 'I bought you a box of chocolates. I hope you like them'. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session to find out what present each student received and if the students like their presents.
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Find Someone Who...

ESL Time Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

In this free 'Find someone who...' activity, students practice asking and answering questions about time. The students begin by going through the items on the worksheet and forming the various yes/ no questions they need to ask in order to do the activity. Students then go around the class, asking each other the yes/no questions for the items on the worksheet, e.g. 'Is your birthday in July?' When a student finds someone who answers 'yes' to a question, the student writes down their name and asks a 'Wh' follow-up question to gain more information, noting down the answer in the last column. When everyone has finished, the students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
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Hear and Say

ESL Time Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 20 minutes

This entertaining time game helps students review and practice telling the time, time prepositions and saying days, months, years, dates and other time expressions. The student with 'start' on their card begins by saying the time expression indicated in the 'Say' column next to 'start'. The other students in the group listen carefully and try to find the time expression in the 'Hear' column on their cards. If a student sees a matching time in the 'Hear' column, they say the corresponding time expression in the 'Say' column for the other students to recognise. Students must add in any prepositions of time or articles that are necessary, e.g. the 28th of March, Monday the 6th, in 2013, etc. If they have a time, e.g. 16:45, they say the time as 'quarter to five' rather than just reading the number. Play passes from student to student until they reach the finish. When the students have finished, they repeat the activity with another set of game cards.
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Our Time

ESL Telling Time Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 45 minutes

In this telling the time activity, students practice telling the time and describing a particular time's importance. Each student writes the names of everyone in the class on a piece of paper and is given a clock card. On the clock face, students draw a time that is important to them. Students then go around the classroom asking and telling each other the time on their clock. Every time a student asks another student for their time, they find out why it is important. The student notes down the time next to the name of the student on their paper and the reason for its importance. In pairs, students then put the names of everybody in the class in order, according to who had the earliest to latest time on their clock. The students also write a sentence for each student about what they do at that time, e.g. 'At half past seven, Steve arrives at the bus stop. At quarter past eight, Kim has breakfast, etc.' Afterwards, there is a class feedback session to review the correct order and answers with the class.
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