Spring forward, fall back – sound familiar? The daylight hours will soon be longer, thanks to the arrival of Daylight Savings Time (DST) in March. Setting your clocks – and other timepieces – forward one hour might conjure up a memory or two. Remember the comforting sound of the tick-tock from your grandmother’s old wall clock? How about the special wristwatch you received on the occasion of your high school graduation?  An old steeple clock in your hometown might come to mind. Time marches on, but your group can enjoy a few nostalgic activities related to timekeeping. Choose from the suggestions listed below.

  • WRISTWATCHES: Show some wristwatches – old and new. Ask your group to name classic watch brands such as Bulova, Elgin, Zenith, Hamilton. Ask: Who taught you to tell time? What was the first watch you remember owning? Where did you get it? How much did it cost? Describe the wristband. Did you ever own a Mickey Mouse watch as a kid (or some other character watch)? Have you always worn a wristwatch? Did you ever own a luxury watch, like a Rolex? Have you ever worn a watch that was engraved with a special message?
  • DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME: Share the history of Daylight Savings Time, which was first used during World War I. Ask group members if they remember Daylight Savings Time being observed year-round during World War II. Find out which states do not use DST. Ask participants how they feel about the time change in the spring.
  • DISCUSSION: Explore the meaning of Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, which begins with “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:…” (KJV)
  • MUSIC: Listen to Frank Sinatra’s recording of the following songs: “As Time Goes By,” “Maybe This Time,” “Anytime at All,” “Time After Time,” “Till the End of Time,” “The Second Time Around,” and “It’s Been a Long, Long Time.” Ask participants what the songs have in common.
  • HOURGLASSES: Display an hourglass (old way of measuring time) with white sand and talk about uses for the device. Play a game of Pictionary, using a sand timer.
  • TIMEPIECES: Define timepiece. Invite a professional jeweler to talk about family heirloom pieces, like a grandfather clock, pocket watch, or Rolex. Invite someone in the group to share a family story associated with a timepiece (ex: Great-grandfather’s old gold pocket watch or mother’s antique regulator clock).
  • CLOCK-WATCHING: Show some old military wristwatches, which became popular with soldiers in World War I. Ask participants what they remember about clock factories being converted to manufacture war materials during World War II. Ask: Did you ever work in a wartime factory? What was your job? Did you punch a time clock on your job? Were you ever a clock-watcher at work?
  • TIME MANAGEMENT: Talk about the relevance of the following quote by Ben Franklin: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Ask participants to share tips on using time wisely.
  • PUNCTUALITY: For many people, tardiness is a major pet peeve. Being on time is important to them. Are men more punctual than women? Who shows up on time more often?
  • CRAFTS: Celebrate National Craft Month in March: Create a collage titled “It’s that time of year again…” (Assemble pictures related to events in March –  March Madness, Oscars, St. Patrick’s Day, Baseball Training Camp, Mardi Gras, First Day of Spring, etc.)
  • SPECIAL CLOCKS: Ask participants: What kinds of handcrafted timepieces have you owned? (ex: wall, shelf or mantel clock, grandfather clock, cuckoo) Did you ever give or receive a clock as a gift? What was the occasion? Talk about novelty clocks, like a singing bird clock. Why do you think some people enjoy collecting clocks?
  • CLOCK SOUNDS: Listen to various clock sounds: tick tock, chimes, gong, cuckoo, etc. Write a funny poem about the sound of an alarm clock in the morning.
  • TOWN CLOCKS: Show photos of old town clocks or steeple clocks and other landmarks in small towns. Reminisce about hometown clock shops and the craftsmen who made and repaired timepieces.
  • TIMEX WATCHES: Ask for a volunteer to become a pitchman for Timex watches. Ask a group, write a 30-second commercial for television. Use some of the following words: stylish, accurate, dependable, reliable, durable, shock resistant, or affordable. End the ad with the famous Timex slogan: “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
  • IDIOMS: Discuss the meaning of idioms related to “time”:  a stitch in time saves nine, how time flies, it’s high time, killing time, race against time, give someone the time of day, have time on your hands, make up for lost time, time to hit the road, time is ripe, third time’s the charm, have the time of your life, give a rough time. Share other sayings related to time as they come to mind.


  1. Where is the famous clock Big Ben located? London, England
  2. Name the four time zones in the continental United States. Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific
  3. How many minutes are in one day? 1440 minutes
  4. What’s another name for a regulator clock? Pendulum
  5. Finish this idiom: “Time flies when….” You’re having fun
  6. How is time displayed on a digital clock? As a set of numbers
  7. In New Year’s celebrations, how is Father Time usually depicted? An elderly, bearded man in a white robe, carrying an hourglass
  8. Which European country is famous for making cuckoo clocks? Germany
  9. What is a fob? A chain for a pocket watch
  10. Which host used “Seems Like Old Times” as the theme of his radio show? Arthur Godfrey


“Time as he grows old teaches all things.” ~ Aeschylus (in Prometheus Bound)

“Time, Time, Time” written by Sue Hansen. © 2014 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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