Things that Roll

Baking rolling pin

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.
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Baking rolling pin