Timers are a must have in any classroom. They are great for fluency timing, teaching waiting, showing when transitions will come, and tracking behaviors. Visual timers have the added bonus of illustrating the passage of time. Many children may not yet understand increments of time so adding the visual component is key. When we say, “wait two more minutes,” you may as well have said, “wait two more hours” for some children because they are still learning about units of time. Let’s go through some of my favorite (and affordable timers).
The Time Timer is a classic classroom staple. It visually counts down the time and you can add an audible ding when the timer is done. Another similar visual timer I like is this one below. It’s the same idea but is a little sturdier and had a louder ding. I think it would work well for alerting when a group is finished with an activity or a reinforcer time is done.
I have been LOVING these sand timers. They come in intervals of 30s, 1 minute, 2 minute, 3 minute, 5 minute, and 10 minutes. It’s great that they are color coded. These are great because they are quiet so they’d be perfect for an activity at a center where you don’t want to interrupt other students or nearby centers. I have been using them with my daughter for transition from un-preferred to preferred activities and she’s generally pretty excited to notice that the sand has all moved that sometimes she barely notices the transition. And for under $7 these are a real deal!
I need some new timers for fluency programs and these come with batteries, are sturdy, and are SIMPLE. For fluency instruction, I just need something straightforward that won’t break. Some of the big packs of 10 or 15 timers that seem like such a deal really aren’t! This set is $8 for two timers and I think are absolutely worth it! I have also talked about this Gym Boss Timer on instastories before. This is my GO TO for interval timings. You can set the interval and it will vibrate at each interval. If you are planning to give praise on a regular schedule or collect momentary time sampling data – this timer will make like so much easier.
Now let’s head over to the world of timer apps. There are a ton and not all are created equal. Here are a few of my favorite free or super cheap timer apps depending on your students’ needs:
Both this Countdown Timer App and this Visual Timer for Kids are more appropriate for younger students but have a cool “picture reveal” setup. The pictures slowly appears as the timer runs out. I think this setup would be great for working on waiting because it’s a great option to focus on. It might be too distracting for using during work time but for waiting – this would be perfect!
This Visual Timer App is a little more involved and is awesome for time management. It uses the framework of an analog clock to assign time intervals to different colors or tasks. I use the same method on a regular analog clock so I love the idea of an app version. Great to advance time skills!