Language Works

Things that Roll

Ideal for Infant, Toddler

A rolling pin sits on a counter | Bright Horizons | Cooking activities

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to observe and explore their environment to gain an understanding of things. Young children are fascinated with cause and effect—“what happens if I do this?” Simple games like this one are an early precursor to later science learning.

Materials Needed:

  • Objects that roll, such as balls of various sizes, crayons, yarn, a rolling pin, a can, etc.
  • Objects that won’t roll, such as toys, blocks, or non-breakable kitchen items
  • Blanket

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction.


  • Step 1: Spread the blanket on the floor and sit on it facing your child. Roll the round objects across the blanket to your child one at a time. Ask your child to roll the objects back. Talk with your child, describing what is happening. “Look, the ball moves when you push it. It’s rolling!”
  • Step 2: Now offer older toddlers an object that won’t roll and try again. Ask, “Why won’t it roll?” Let your child try a few more times, but stop before they become frustrated. Say, “Yes, round things can roll, but some things can’t roll.”
  • Step 3: Older toddlers might enjoy trying to roll across the floor, or add another challenge by rolling objects on flat surfaces versus inclines.

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