Ramps at Home

  • drawing materials
  • objects to send down ramps such as: balls, blocks, marbles, markers, marbles
  • ramp base materials such as: blocks, plastic cups, rocks
  • ramp materials such as: cardboard pieces and tubes, cookie sheets, flat pieces of wood, foam, wood, boxes (for ramps)
  • tape

Ramps at Home

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

Do you remember the excitement of rolling down a hill?

Introduce your child to ramps by sharing stories from your own childhood or by talking about experiences you have had together on ramps. 

Use everyday objects (see materials list) to explore how different objects move down a ramp. Find a space indoors or outdoors where your child can explore ramps over several days.

  • Together build a ramp out of paper towel tubes. Cut the tubes in half lengthwise and tape several together.
  • Position the ramp so one end is a little higher than the other.
  • Have your child send different objects down the ramp. Talk about how they roll, slide, or stay put.
  • Encourage him to draw or write about what he observes.
  • Use his drawings to plan and predict the next ramp exploration.

Here are a few ramp ideas to try:

  • Make two ramps. Send different objects down them at the same time.
  • Make bends in the ramps. See how that affects how different objects move. Do they roll, slide, or stay put?
  • Make ramps of varying steepness. See how far the same object goes down each ramp.

Media Connection: Watch the video PEEP and the Big Wide World “Building Ramps” together. Your child might see some new ideas that he wants to try the next time he explores ramps!

PBS Learning Media
©2004, 2013 WGBH Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
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