Tic Toc Time: Break down the day to learn how to tell time

Common Sense Media says

Cute beavers busy kids with time-telling games and lessons.






What parents need to know

Ease of play

Play is user-friendly and well explained. Kids mostly need to tap and drag.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

There aren't any issues for kids during play, but the "grown-ups" section (accessible by tapping and holding for three seconds) includes a link to buy more apps.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Play is safe and secure for kids. Parents (or anyone who can tap and hold the "grown-ups" button for three seconds) can connect to Facebook, purchase other apps, or create separate playing accounts for other kids. Parents also can enter personal information that includes name, gender, birth date, and a photo. The privacy policy is clear and available on the developer's website.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tic Toc Time helps kids learn to read analog clocks through a series of discoveries about the passing of time. Graphics benefit kids who have trouble the order of numbers. It is also helpful for kids who have difficulty understanding numbers as concepts. Kids can learn about using a compass, following the sun and shadows, Earth's rotation, and reading a clock. Kids will hear about some time-related vocabulary like "midnight," "quarter till," and "quarter past." In games using the compass, kids will need to stand up and perhaps turn around to align their device with the appropriate cardinal direction. As a reward, kids earn items for a virtual garden (seeds, water, sunlight) when they complete tasks, and can tend to their garden at any time. Parents can set up multiple accounts for different kids, and, although they can include personal information in kids' profiles, they're not required to.

What kids can learn



  • measurement
  • patterns


  • measurement


Thinking & Reasoning

  • investigation
  • logic
  • part-whole relationships

Engagement, Approach, Support


Kids can interact with the beaver family in a variety of ways. Although the design is simple, the graphics are fun, enjoyable, and not likely to overstimulate younger students.

Learning Approach

In-depth lessons on the sun and its relation to our concept of time are an important highlight. However, the jump from there to the more practical parts of time-telling could be better supported for young learners.


Overall, play is pretty self-explanatory, but there isn't always support for finding correct answers. Parents can get a basic sense of kids' progress through simple reports.

What kids can learn



  • measurement
  • patterns


  • measurement


Thinking & Reasoning

  • investigation
  • logic
  • part-whole relationships

Kids can learn about the sun's position in the sky (using shadows to estimate the time), how clocks are designed, and how to tell time on analog clocks. The first set of games -- involving the sun and shadows -- is stronger and does a nice job supporting the concept of how we tell time. However, the clock-oriented games could use more explanation and support for kids who may not get it right away. Overall, time is an abstract, nonetheless very real, part of kids' lives, and Tic Toc Time gives them some concrete and unique ways to understand these important concepts.

This Learning Rating review was written by Mieke VanderBorght

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What's it about?

A cute family of Canadian beavers teach kids how to tell time through a series of interactive explorations about the sun, shadows, and clocks. Kids first learn about cardinal directions, how the sun's position in the sky changes, and how we can use shadows to estimate the time. Then kids build a clock and explore the meaning of the numbers, the big hand and little hand, and some time-related vocabulary. Kids earn supplies to plant and cultivate a garden as they progress through the levels.

Is it any good?


The games in TIC TOC TIME follow a sequence; some of the games, though perhaps not all, may be fun enough to draw kids back for more. The games that explore the sun's position in the sky and the resulting shadows are the best in a number of ways. Using a compass to discover the cardinal directions and, subsequently, the length and position of shadows is a really creative way to introduce kids to the concept of Earth's rotation as it relates to time telling. There's also a brief explanation that connects these games to how clocks are made. These are interesting and concrete ways to help kids conceptualize abstract ideas that affect them every day. 

While the clock-based games are more straightforward, they have fewer in-game supports for finding correct answers, and include some vocabulary that might be a bit much for younger kids. The short explanation of the big hand and little hand might work for older kids, but may confuse the younger set. A lot of kids get confused about the differences between telling time on digital and analog clocks, and the the app would do well to include more support with this. Nevertheless, Tic Toc Time is a good resource for helping kids understand the concepts behind why we tell time the way we do.

Families can talk about...

  • Go outside and look at the sun's location at different times of the day.

  • Make a chalk drawing of your child's shadow in the morning, at noon, and in the afternoon, and observe how it changes shape and position.

  • Practice telling the time throughout the day.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPad
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:September 30, 2013
Topics:Science and nature
Size:77.20 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later

This review of Tic Toc Time: Break down the day to learn how to tell time was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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