The Toddler Ball Run was developed to engage toddlers in play that causes them to think about speed, momentum and gravity. Certainly they won’t use those terms, but we know these concepts will drive their interest! Perfect for supporting physical science and your STEAM curriculum! Each run has a different design affecting the ball differently adding a compare and contrast element to the play. Each run comes with built in holes for ball storage.
- Toddler Ball Run set of 2
- 10 2″ wood balls
Intended for indoor use only.
Each Toddler Ball Run is 47-1/2″ X 11-1/2″ X 1″
Appropriate for 18 months +
From the Classroom:
Toddlers are natural scientists – they explore and test everything! We like to present the ball run flat on the floor to begin. Many children will hold on to the ball and move it along the track without letting go. They’ll test cars, trains and toy animals, too. Others will push the balls along with their fingers, hands or with another ball. This initial experimentation can take place over several minutes, hours, even days.
Physical Science – After the children have exhausted possibilities for play with the run positioned flat on the floor, it’s time for adults to add a bit of elevation to one end. Use a block, a small stack of carpet squares, a cushion, whatever you have in your classroom. Just a little elevation will cause gravitational force to act on the ball and send it traveling down the run. The higher the elevation, the faster and farther the ball will travel because slope effects speed and distance.
Spatial Relationships….toddlers also love to put the balls in their nesting holes and take them out, just as they would manipulate a knob puzzle. This action of fitting an object into a space gives the young child a means to learn about spatial relationships and how objects can be combined. Don’t be surprised if they bring blocks and other items over to nest in the holes. Testing whether or not objects will fit into the holes is just one way they are growing their mathematical knowledge.
Challenges for Toddlers:
- Invite your kids to make a trap or box to catch the ball at the end of the run.
- Changing elevation affect distance – Ask – how to get the ball to travel all the way to end of the room or all the way down the hall. Adults are very likely to want to solve this problem for their children, but resist the urge to interfere, rather let the children’s trial and error drive the play for days! You’ll be glad you did as the opportunities for you to make observations and assessments concerning critical thinking, logic and reasoning will unfold before you.
- Try placing the two ball runs next to one another with some large stacking materials near by. Ask – how to get the balls to reach the end of the runs at the same time. This is tricky, but given enough time to experiment, your toddlers will learn that adjusting the elevation will adjust speed.
After several weeks or months, offer the Toddler Ball Runs with ramps. Encourage the children to create long paths at the ends of the runs. Then explore elevation and speed to see just how far the ball will travel down the path.