Tuesday, November 22, 2011
If you have every struggled with visualizing time or have a child who does, the Time Timer might be the exact tool you are looking for. Initially designed for the inventor's 4 year old daughter over 20 years ago, the Time Timer has been developed and marketed as an excellent teaching tool for K-12 students, the special needs community, and even adults in the work place. Actually, anytime a visual reminder of the passage of time is more appropriate than a clock itself.
I was given the 3 inch square timer from Time Timer a try. After getting the plastic lid off and finding an AA battery (not included), I simply turned the clear knob on the front to move the red film on the face for the amount of time I needed. As time passed, the red window grew smaller and smaller. Unlike many timers mark the end with an obnoxious ringing noise that won't stop, the Time Timer has a barely noticeable optional ding indicating time is up.
We have used the timer often during the last several weeks. It is easy to use for all of my children- as long as they could get the plastic cover off. At first it seemed the timer was out of sync with our actual clocks, but when I set a regular timer to go off a couple minutes before and watched the Time Timer for the last couple minutes, it did match up. ( It is very possible my children were adjusting the timer to speed up or slow down while they were using it independently. )
The protective cover is frosted, so, while it is still possible to see red film and gauge the passage of time with the cover on, but a very young child wouldn't be able to interfere with the timer if he wanted to. Additionally, this cover serves as a stand when flipped open. This feature aids in making traveling with the Time Timer convenient as well.
We did have a couple issues with the timer. First, my 14 yo tried to set the timer for exactly an hour, but the clear knob on the top, would not allow it to move past the slightly raised area the film comes out of. This caused an issue with my younger children, but was - of course- easy to explain. So, in our experience, the most the timer can be set for is 55 minutes instead of a full hour. We typically work in increments of 45 minutes at the most, so it wasn't a big deal.
The second issue was protective cover was too difficult to remove for some of my children. So, they accidentally wrote on the face of the timer with a pen while trying to pry the door open. This could be a positive thing when very young children are concerned, but could also be frustrating for a child expected to use the clock on his own if he has dexterity issues.
At first, I didn't care for how quiet the timer rang at the end. Since it is meant to be set for tasks like seat work it made sense, though. The timer is quiet enough to not distract other learners if they were each working with their own timer.
I love how the little timer stood on its own and did not distract in anyway, since the timer doesn't tick or make any other sounds until the time is up. The red area just gradually decreases making a very easy and quick way to assess the amount of time left . We use timers a lot, but I find some of my children distracted by the counting down of the numbers. My youngest 2 children don't read a face clock well yet, so this also helps take away the need to know the numbers to know what time is left. My 7 year old often asks "how many is 20 minutes" or something of that nature. The Time Timer answers that frustrating question!
I felt the price point of $30 was a little high for our family, but I understand the work and time that has gone into its production. I don't think it is overpriced, just more than I would typically spend on a timer. I definitely would choose the 12 inch model for a classroom or the watch for an individual. But at $40 a piece for the watches, I wouldn't spend that for my younger children. Plus, I am not sure how practical the watches are outside of a classroom situation. We didn't test one, and so I can't actually speak to that.
I certainly would spring for the $1.99 APP version that can be used on an Ipod touch, Ipad or Iphone. I did not test that version and so I can't compare the usability of the two, but feel it would function even better than the clock version since multiple timers can be set.
The Time Timer is great and I loved it. I am glad I had the chance to try it out, even though I would not have purchased it on my own. I will definitely recommend it to others.
This Time Timer was given to me through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew for free in exchange for my honest review.