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Curious George


Experiment with ramps and things that roll.


  • a ramp (try cardboard, a game board, or a picture book)
  • blocks or a box (to prop up your ramp)
  • objects that may or may not roll:
    plastic cups
    plastic bottles
    rolls of tape
    toy car
    socks (a single, and a rolled pair)
    a book
    crumpled paper
    small blocks
    a spoon


Playing with ramps and things that roll helps your child learn simple principles of physical science and engineering. Use these simple activities to experiment together. Talk about what you see.

1. Make a Ramp: Make a ramp by propping up one end of a game board, a picture book, or a piece of cardboard. (Try using a box or a stack of blocks to prop up your ramp.)

2. Slide or Roll?: Gather objects like those suggested above. Ask your child to predict what might happen when you try to send one of these objects down the ramp: What do you think will happen when you put this at the top of the ramp? Will it slide? Will it roll? Will it stay put? Why do you think so? Let your child try it out. As you play, sort your objects into things that roll and things that don't.

3. Experiment: Place one of the rolling objects at the top of the ramp, but face it in a different direction. For example, place a car sideways instead of forward, or stand a bottle up instead of placing it on its side. Ask your child: What do you think will happen? Will this still roll? Then let your child try it out.

Take It Further

Try these additional experiments with your child. Talk about what you discover. Then make up new experiments together!

  • How far do things go when they roll down your ramp? How can you make them go further?
  • What happens when you raise or lower the ramp?
  • How can you make an object roll faster? How can you slow it down?
  • Put something like a phone book at the bottom of your ramp. Race two objects down the ramp and watch to see which will hit the phone book first.
  • Can you find a way to park a toy car on the ramp without it rolling all the way down, or a way to make a rolling object stop halfway down the ramp?
Adult and child rolling a toy car and ball down a ramp.

Age Range: 3-5


  • Science
  • Engineering

Related Episode:
Roller Monkey

Related Books:

  • Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow
    by Darlene Stille and Sheree Boyd


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