I ask Katie to do something.
Katie: This is going to take forever!
Me: How long is forever?
Katie: It’s so long that you can’t count.
Me: Can anyone count that long?
Katie: No, even if they count for 100 years.
After she finishes what I asked her to do:
Me: Did it really take forever?
Me: How long did it take?
Katie: Probably 5 minutes.
Indeed, it did take pretty close to 5 minutes! Recently I have been amazed by both how good and how bad her time estimates can be sometimes. A few weeks ago Katie wanted to see how long it would take me to put together a jigsaw puzzle of hers. She ‘timed’ this by counting while I was working on it. When I was done, she was up to 88.
Me: So long did it take?
Me: 88 what?
Katie: 88 Minutes.
Me: That can’t be; 88 minutes is more than an hour!
Katie: Then 88 seconds.
I told her that 88 seconds was probably closer to the truth, but also tried to impose on her that a second is a specific unit of time and that one can only estimate it by counting. What have been your experiences with kids’ sense of time?