As I’ve been writing about routines and transitions, I’ve thought back to an interesting product I discovered not long ago. This product, called the Time Timer, displays time visually with a red segment that gets smaller as time progresses. This is a great way to help children understand the concept of time. Instead of verbal reminders, which often sound arbitrary to young children who can’t tell if 20 minutes is longer than 5 minutes, time becomes a visual concept.
The Time Timer could be useful for routines at home (“We have 30 minutes to get ready for bed. If there’s time left, we can read an extra story.”) as well as at school (“We will have snack time in 20 minutes.”). It can also be useful for making transition times and time limits more tangible (“Five more minutes until clean up.” or “You have 15 minutes of computer time.”). You may even want it for car rides to answer that constant “How much farther?” question.
When I contacted Time Timer to let them know I would be featuring their product, they were kind enough to offer an 8″ Time Timer to be given away to one of my readers. That’s You!
So here’s the deal: Leave a comment here with at least one way you would be able to use the Time Timer in your home or classroom. (One comment per person, please. New commenters take time to be moderated, so don’t panick if it doesn’t show up right away!) On Monday morning I will announce the winner, randomly drawn from those comments, and Time Timer will ship you your prize. Easy enough, right? Well then, get on with it! Time’s a wastin’!
I would use this time timer in my classroom when I give my preschoolers a 5 minute warning before tidy up time. As the majority of my children are indeed visual learners, it would be undeniably useful in my classroom!
Wow, what a great product! I can think of all sorts of ways this could be used! It would be great to put in my daughter’s room at quiet time so she would know when it’s over!
Wow! I’m the first comment. Well, I have a rather impatient little boy, especially when it comes to food. I would love to be able to show him visually that when I say lunch will be ready in 5 minutes, he can have a better understanding of his wait time. Less abstract.
What a great idea! I am a very visual learner so I love the concept. My toddler also seems to be very visual so it would be a great way to help him grasp the concept of time and ease that transition struggle.
What a neat timer. I have twin 4 year old daughters and we’ve been struggling with the concept of time. They know that we will do certain things at certain times and while they can read the digital clocks, they have no concept of how long 15 minutes is.
This timer would be really useful as we prepare for bedtime – -to show them that we’ll start getting ready for bed in 30 minutes, for example.
I think this is a great tool for clean-up time. Young children are such visual learners and the concept of time is very abstract and difficult for them to grasp. This timer would be the perfect thing to help with clean-up transitions in the classroom.
nikki brewer says
i use this timer in my classroom…then buy another for my house…
classroom use: everything from transitions to time outs…to taking turns on a toy
House use: for supper, time myself on the internet, spend a few minutes in each room picking up….
i would wear that timer out!!!!
Karen B says
I would use it for outside time – on the deck it would be visible for a ways. “Sand time for 10 min then in for dinner!”
What an awesome transition tool! I can also see it being used for various games like timing how fast puzzles are put together (a favorite of my 4’s!) or maybe giving the children 10 minutes to set up a domino train before it’s sent tumbling. Oh, and it would be a cool thing for the discovery center too! The kids could estimate how long it would take an ice cube to melt, or a sponge animal to “grow”. It would definitely be useful in cooking activities to show the kids exactly how long before the muffins are done. There are so many possibilities!
I would use the timer to help individual children know when they will finally get their turn!
Erin Zackey says
I’m starting an outdoor preschool class in the woods this fall and it would be a great tool for us to use to keep us from getting sucked into nature! 😉
My son loves bathtime and many times it can be a struggle to have him come out. I would set the Time Timer on the counter so he could see it and gain a better understanding of what 5 minutes means until he has to come out!
I can think of so many ways to use this!! I would definitely be using it for our bedtime routine. My daughter gets really distracted while getting pajamas on, brushing teeth, etc.
I teach 2 classes of 3 year olds and 1 class of 4 year olds so you can imagine how many students the Time Timer would help! I always like to give my children verbal cues for transitions. A visual cue to accompany these verbal cues would be a dream come true! We would also be able to use it for timing science experiments, cooking, making silence, turn taking… the possibilities are endless!
I love these timers. We used to use them in the school I worked at for kids with autism – a great visual cue. I would use it now for my kids at home, especially when we are working on a less-than-favorite-chore, so they know there is an end in sight.
Awesome product! I could use it to help my toddler understand what I mean when I say, “5 more minutes until supper will be ready.” There are also a thousand ways I could use it in my preschool. I’m all about anything that can help to smooth out transitions.
I would to have this for my kids computer time and for when it’s time to leave the house. This would really help my 4 year old with the transitions.
sally schmidt says
I use them in every classroom I work in. I love giving kids the “choice” about cleaning up: Do you want to clean up in 2 minutes, or in 5 minutes? Do you want me to set the timer or do you? That gets them so busy making choices about the time that there’s no argument about cleaning up! I have 2 at home as well, (one for upstairs, one for downstairs) and have given them as gifts to parents of preschoolers!
Staci A says
This would be perfect for helping my son understand how much time he has left at his sand and water table. Once he gets started, it’s so hard to get him to stop for anything. It would be great for clean up time too. I’m sure my son would work faster if he was “up against the clock.”
During my internship, I loved using the Time Timer for students with behavior problems. It was great to let them know what their choices were, set the timer, and walk away. I think it gave them a lot of responsibility over their own actions.
I would love to share the many ways Time Timer would help in transitions with child care providers who attend trainings I facilitate through our area child care resource and referral. I’m sure they would come up with a variety of creative ways to use one!
I would use the Time Timer along with a verbal warning before transitions, and I would use it when doing our unit on time.
This timer would do wonders for my Pre K studentss concept of time. I give tons of “time warnings” before we end our center play, but regardless of how many times we warn them that clean up is coming, they still think we cut their time short. Being able to actually “see” time would give much more meaning to the concepts we are teaching and using in our procedures.
Melissa Stringham says
I would use this timer for lots of things. It would definitely be helpful for toothbrushing and hand washing, but also as a help for transitioning from one activity to another. I have a couple of kids who would really benefit from the visual aspect of the timer.
I would use this with my 2 year-old daughter who has difficulty with transitions. It would also be great at bedtime and breakfast when we are on a time deadline.
What an awesome product! This would really come in handy when we have our 15 minute “clean sweep” drills every morning and evening to help keep the toy tornado under control.
what a great timer! i would use it to time all sensory diet routines we need to do for my son’s spd.
This summer at the preschool I work at we are doing something new and fun for summer camp…on Mondays and Thursdays we rotate through five classrooms doing different activities: art, science, language arts, gross motor, and cooking. We have twenty minutes for each activity and it has been a lot of fun to work together as a team to set up these activities!
However, teaching the youngest group in the rotation (2 and 3 year olds) the transitions have been a little rough! I have been looking for a timer to use so that the students can begin to see that we have a certain amount of time to do each activity and I think this would be a great way so that the students not only can see when the time has ended, but also when the time is about to end – no surprises there (I have learned surprises are never a good idea when it comes to 2 and 3 year olds…unless it includes cupcakes)!
I think I would use this for bedtime for my 5 year old son and also for when we are trying to get ready to leave the house. He can get ready quickly but it’s often after I’ve yelled, threatened and generally lost it. I’ve been meaning to buy one–I’d love to win one!
Kim T. says
I know I’ve already mentioned it to you, but I would get the most use of it at the computer. It’s been a struggle during these winter/”spring” months to get my 4-yr old off the computer, but he seems to do best when I set the timer on the oven. Having a timer in front of him where he sees the red part get smaller would, I think, simplify the process even more! Thanks for the chance to win!!
My son is starting to be interested in telling time, but the passage of time still eludes him. What a great way to illustrate the concept!
I’d use it to limit screen time, track reading time and countdown time to leave. What a great clock!
Totally want one of those for Grayson! He is constantly asking me “What time is it mommy?” He can’t tell time & doesn’t even understand the concept yet, but I would definitely use it for clean up, playing outside time, and wearing his patch!
katy carter says
Mandi, what a great little timer! How fun! I would this timer all day long. I love how visual it is. I would use it for clean up time, quite time, sharing toys, eating, time outs, my brain is racing with all the many things I can use it for. I know my kids would be very excited about the new timer as well.
Love your blog, you are amazing!!!!
This is a wonderful idea! Ash has such a difficult time with waiting and time outs that this would be something to help him process what is happening.
I could think of tons of ways we could use the timer in our classroom at home…but, one of the best right now would be to help my twin boys as they are learning how to share and take turns.
Great idea!!! My 4 year old and I often have timed races to see who can pick up a mess fastest. This would really help her to visually see how much time she has.
Heidi B says
As a preschool teacher I used these timers all the time! But I don’t have one now that I am at home with my own children. My three-year-old is very interested in schedules and time, so I would use it throughout the day – playtime, clean-up time, outside time, etc.
I think you should have asked us for what we COULDN’T use this handy dandy timer to do! We’d be racking our brains, I bet. But really, I think this timer would get the most use at our house during morning “hurry & get ready for school” time or “hurry & get ready for bed” time.
Did I miss it? So many things, but mostly for getting out the door for school and getting ready for bed. And cleaning up. It seems like one of those things that once you start using it you could use it for everything!