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To reflect on time as a precious commodity.

by The Revd Trevor Donnelly

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect on time as a precious commodity.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a stopwatch (that you know how to operate and won’t play up on the day!).


  1. Tell the children that you are going to play a game. Ask everybody to shut their eyes. You want every child to try and guess how long a minute is after you say ‘Go’. Suggest they can either try to count the seconds or if they are brave just guess. Ask them to put their hands up when they think a minute has passed.

    Continue timing for longer than a minute, then stop and tell them how long it is since the minute passed (e.g. That’s a minute and twenty seconds, we’ll end our game now.). Comment on their performance. If possible select someone who was spot on!

  2. Ask if they would like to play the game again. Explain that we could play a new round of the game, but we can never go back in time (unlike Doctor Who!) to do the same minute that has just passed! Explain that time can never be had again and this makes it extremely precious.

    If the children are responding, play the game again with more comments afterwards.
  3. Ask if there are some occasions when time seems to go faster or slower than normal (e.g. SATS week)?
  4. Say that you will talk more about time in a moment, but first you have a different question: if the children could have anything they wanted in the whole world, what would they ask for? What would their ‘dream present’ be? Encourage suggestions.
  5. Next, ask them to imagine that you could grant their wish and give them their ideal present BUT they would never have any time with their present to enjoy it. Would they still want it? Explain that time is more important than anything else – without it we could not enjoy ANY of the other things we like.

    And what we do with our time is important!
  6. Time is perhaps the most precious thing – and it is the most precious thing we can ever give to anybody. Perhaps time is a better present than any other. Ask for suggestions of how we can use our time to help others. Explain that if we give our precious time to help others it can often make us feel happier too.

Time for reflection


Take a moment to close your eyes and think about the time you will spend today…

Time you give to learning in school or doing homework…

Time spent with your family…
Time spent with friends…

Time playing…

Then think if there is some time you can give to help other people today.



Loving God,
Help us to use the time you have given us…

for our good,

for the good of others,

and to consider the gift of life you have given all people.



‘Time is a thing’ (Come and Praise, 104)

Publication date: September 2006   (Vol.8 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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