An experiment with time

Age group

3-5 yrs

Number of children:

8-12 ppl

Areas it develops: language skills: use of past and present time, understanding order, before/after, problem solving skills

All children can experience how time passes but consciously noone really focuses on it. Throughout the game they’ll xee that sometimes time passes slower and sometimes it passes quicker. They can feel time on their own selfs and they can even learn about time keeping tools, naturally in a fun, playful way.

This activity is especially beneficial for kids, who experience difficulties with understanding the concept of before and after, or with differentiating between past and present.


  • a clock (in the smart phone or a digital one)
  • tea filter
  • rice/sand/soaked leaves
  • water
  • ticking clock

How long does it take?


Through a tea filter drip sand mixed with water, or through rice or maybe even soaked leaves. Measure how long it takes for the whole amount of water to filter through the sieve. This should be done by an adult with a phone. Then, the adult should write down the digits seen on the phone on a paper. Let’s read it out together! Then, the adult should organise the pieces of paper with the times on it by shortest to longest and lastly they should also discuss out loud that it took less time for water to drip through leaves than sand.

Experience the passing of time


We can all experience the passing of time. Let’s focus on it a little! Ask them to be silent for a minute, to stand on one leg, or to tiptoe or to stroke each other’s back. It is important to throw in some pleasent and unpleasent activities too, so that the kids can say which activity felt longer. When the adult gives the instructions they should always be really clear in a sense that the time (one minute) should be highlighted. The adult keeps the one minute and states when it starts and when it’s over.

Where does ticking come from?


Hide a ticking clock in the room! The children have to find it only following its voice which requires complete silence. This game can be played in pairs or in trios too.

Children who have difficulties with understanding instructions or with finishing tasks can be involved easily in this activity, in fact it is highly beneficial for them.