Tractor Ted is a cartoon green tractor who’s the star of many books and DVDs. This is a new character for my boys, which they have just recently been introduced to. We are currently enjoying some of the books and Dvds all about life on the farm and in the countryside. Look out for Tractor Ted reviews and competitions coming up on the blog soon! For now, I have some Tractor Ted free spring printables to share with you!
These activity sheets are a fun way to reinforce early learning concepts with your little ones over the weekend.
Telling the time is such an important skill to have growing up (without it, its impossible to master other important skills such as being on time!!) so I like to encourage the children with time telling and being aware of time, at the level they are each at.
Mr Z at 5.5 years has been able to tell the time reliably a couple of years now. He loves anything to do with numbers, so clocks have always grabbed his interest and he picked up the concept of time quite quickly. Mr T at 4 years has not mastered telling the time yet, although he is able now to recognise a lot more of his numbers which is the first step for him. Even Mr R at 2 years can start to learn awareness of time although he does not really know his numbers yet.
There are different elements to learning to understand and tell the time, and I haven’t always started with a clock for my children although once they understand a little more then a clock does become essential!
Before you can teach a child to tell the time, they need to be aware of time in the sense of “what does a minute mean” otherwise the concept is so abstract and can be difficult. To understand this a sand timer is a very useful tool*
You try just using the little ones from board games or if you find your child really responds well to it get giant sand timers in a variety of times, such as 5 mins or more. This helps as it makes such an abstract concept totally visual. We were recommended when I did the Early Bird course after Mr T’s Autism diagnosis because children with Autism can really respond much better to this kind of visual support but it will help any child to learn! Mr T used to have a very poor understanding of time or the concept of time and waiting, and he would become so upset at the prospect of waiting even 30 seconds! For that reason it became essential to work on his understanding of time for his own well being and happiness, as it’s just not realistic for a child to never have to wait ever!
As well as showing him visual support for time, such as sand timers and I also used the timer on the microwave on occasions (he could see the numbers changing and new to wait for the beep), or counting down numbers slowly on our fingers, I tried to use consistent terminology with him to help him understand time, sequences and waiting. The words we chose for this are “now” and “next” – I was advised that this can be clearer for children to understand than some of the other words like “after” “bla bla and then”. Now and next is short and sweet.
To help reinforce all of this you can introduce more visual support like routine cards to think about what we do during the day, in what order and at what times. Here are some of ours:
Note the “Surprise!” card – always important to include if you are learning daily routines with a child who is likely to be too rigid in their routines!
We do also use clock puzzles and daily routine and time matching games at home, which are great for helping to build awareness of how clocks work and how time is shown and recorded. From what I’ve noticed, children can vary so much in how quickly they will pick up the concept fully.
Here are some of the books, toys and games that we found helpful in learning the time:
Ours is slightly different to this but along the same lines. These type of wooden clock puzzles are so cheap, you can easily find them for under £5 and they help to reinforce how the numbers look around the clock, and help younger children learn and remember the sequence of the numbers. Ours has all the numbers as removable pieces so this one is a slightly easier version.
This book was a great favourite with Mr Z when he was about 3 years old. Linking in learning topics to your child’s favourite interests always helps so anything Thomas related always appeals to my little guys and keeps their interest! On each page he would match the clock hands to the correct time mentioned in the story as the Fat Controller and the engines go about their day. It’s a great book to help learning about time.
Orchard Toys always tend to have great educational products for more topics, and telling the time is no exception!
Having clocks and watches around the house is definitely a help too. You can buy children’s watches cheaply from many places including The Watch Hut. I find it best to have a mix of digital and analog so that they can easily get used to both. Otherwise I have known children who are great at telling the time on digital clocks but find it really hard to translate that over to an actual clock face.
Once they have learned the basics of telling the time, this can be used to help support them in taking responsibility. Mr Z knows that he can come downstairs at a certain time of morning and that he needs to be dressed by a certain time in the morning. So normally I wouldn’t have to remind him too much as he knows. This means that he’s free to play or do his own thing when it is earlier than that, as long as he keeps an eye on the time and does what he needs to do. The result of that is less nagging, a little more independence, and no conflict if your child is able to take that responsibility on board and follow the schedule! Mr T and Mr R are still way far off that so I do still have my fair share of chasing children and trying to keep them on schedule in the morning.
If they are interested in time then you can use that to help support other maths concepts in a practical way throughout the day. Mr Z is always interested in looking at the times on the sat nav and the car display while we are travelling, which gives him something to occupy himself on journeys. It keeps him busy as he can calculate the journey length, when we should arrive, how it’s been affected by traffic delays and anything along those lines. This means as well as telling the time, it gives him a chance to practise addition and subtraction while he works these out and it’s all totally practical information that he really wants to know and will affect his day, rather than just worksheets. Not that work sheets don’t have their place, as my children all enjoy those too!
If you do want some resources and worksheets on time, have a look at these from Twinkl
Twinkl is a website offering a wide range of printable education resources, including worksheets and much more. I have been signed up to Twinkl for quite some time now, and find it really useful to have loads of worksheets all in one place, to save me having to google for different ones all over the place. Recently I was given a premium subscription to try out, and this enables me to have unlimited access to all of the resources on Twinkl and to print full sets at once, saving time.
My 5 year old has been a fan of work sheets since he started nursery at 3 years old, and he loves to have extra to do at home. He will come to me himself and ask if I can print him out some worksheets, his favourite being anything maths or numbers related.
At the moment, Twinkl has a great section focusing on Under The Sea which is quite appropriate for my boy as his school arranges the classes with names after sea creatures. At the moment he is in Shark and will be going up to Whale in September. I had a look through the Key Stage 1 resources, as he is going up to year 1 in September so I would like to encourage him in this level of work. There are some lovely worksheets which he enjoyed doing:
In the collage above you can see
Shark Portrait Page boarder – A simple sheet which comes with the option of being fully lined, half lined or narrow lined. Decorated with a shark border. The border made it more appealing for Mr Z so he was more keen to practise his writing. He seems to be progressing really well with this at the moment and getting more confidence with his writing. He was happy to show me what he can write and spell by himself. His finished work did made me laugh, he had put a sentence about “I like my mum wen she less me to have the copooter and aPad” – clearly a child of the modern generation! It came complete with an illustration of Bejewelled! May I add I don’t let him play on these all the time!
2. The jellyfish page from Under The Sea Description Writing Template. This is a premium resource pack and there are 14 different sea creatures included. I found this set really good, to encourage reading, writing and careful thinking about the characteristics of each animal. The sheets include a word bank at the top and then room for the child to write their own paragraph, using these words as inspiration. This is something a bit different from the usual worksheets I have seen.
Mr Z has not worked through all 14 yet but he enjoyed writing a couple of sentences about some of the sea creatures and felt quite pleased with his finished results. I’m sure he will be asking to do the rest of them soon.
3. Rockpool counting activity from the Seaside theme. This is another premium worksheet and it gives a picture with lots of things to spot and count, then write the number next to the word. I knew Mr Z would love this as it is number related.
I have printed loads more out too for him to use over the Summer holidays, and I am sure I will keep going back to the site to replenish my supply!
For teachers there are also loads more handy resources for in the classroom, for displays and more. I focused more on the worksheets myself but I can see that this would be a really great resource and definitely worth looking into if you are in teaching.
The other area I was really interested in trying out from Twinkl is the SEN section, and I found there are some visual time tables, including editable ones which is useful!
My 3 year old has Autism and has been recommended to use visual timetables at home and at school, and has also started off with using PECS (a picture exchange communication system). It is always good to see resources like this available in case he needs to expand on the words in his PECs folder or for me to make some extra time tables to help with certain situations. I will definitely need to make more for him over the summer holidays to help with his transition from being in a routine of going to nursery and speech therapy sessions, to being at home in a slightly more unstructured routine. I know it will help to keep him calmer if he can see the visual structure of the day and then take the pictures and put them into a “finished” post box once they are done.
Some of the other sections of the SEN area seem to be still under construction with more needing to be added but I am sure that soon there will be more and I will definitely keep checking back as this is a really important area to me. There should be ideas for sensory games, motor skills, communication choice boards and more.
I had a look around the forum too, where you can discuss ideas for educational activities or ask for help locating any resources and also make suggestions for the site. I saw some discussion about adding Makaton or signing resources on the site in future which would be something I would really welcome!
Twinkl are currently offering a free trial of Premium for schools. I can see how handy this would be for schools. I know my son comes home with a lot of Twinkl resources, so obviously his school have already discovered Twinkl!
With the Premium service, there are 10,000 extra resources that you have access to. Without the premium subscribers, Twinkl would not be able to make any resources at all! So by getting Premium you can also feel good that you are helping to support this brilliant service.
It’s definitely worth considering as something beneficial to keep your child busy and keep them learning over the Summer holidays. I will be printing out plenty more worksheets for my 5 year old and I will also be getting ready to print out some of the Eid resources for Eid coming up.
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