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Time Is Precious

Time is a gift

by Revd Trevor Donnelly (revised, originally published in 2006)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect upon time as a precious commodity.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a stopwatch or a phone that has a stopwatch.


  1. Explain to the children that you are going to play a game. First, they will need to shut their eyes. Then, you will say ‘Go’ and their job is to try to guess when a minute has passed. Suggest to the children that they can either try to count the seconds or just guess. Ask them to put their hand up when they think that a minute has passed.

  2. Ask the children to shut their eyes, say ‘Go’ and then start the stopwatch.

    Run the stopwatch for longer than a minute before stopping it. When you stop it, tell the children how long it has been since one minute passed. (For example, you could say something like, ‘That’s one minute and 20 seconds; we’ll end our game now.’)

    Comment on the children’s performance. If possible, select someone who was spot-on with their timing.

  3. Play the game again.

    Explain that although we can play the game over and over again, we can never relive that particular minute or, unlike Doctor Who, go back in time to have the same minute again. Explain that time can never be had again, which makes it extremely precious.

  4. Ask the children if they can think of any occasions when time seems to go faster or slower than normal.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Examples could be holidays going quickly, homework taking ages or break-time disappearing.

  5. 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?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  6. Next, ask the children 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 to do. What we do with our time is important.

  7. Time can be the most precious thing in the world, and the most precious thing that we can ever give to anybody. Perhaps time is a better present than any other.

    Ask the children to suggest 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 how you will spend today.

– You will give time to learning in school or doing homework.
– You will spend time with your family.
– You will spend time with friends.
– You will spend time playing.

Consider whether there is some time that you can give to help other people today.

Dear God,
Help us to use the time that you have given us
For our good and for the good of others,
And to consider the gift of life that you have given to all people.


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

Publication date: August 2018   (Vol.20 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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