Paper Towel Tube Ramp: When Accumulated Trash Turns Into Science

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Paper towel and toilet paper roll tubes have been accumulating at our house for awhile now despite much eye rolling from my husband when I would tell him I’d think of something to do with them. I finally turned my words into action with this ramp building activity.

Materials:
Tubes
Tape
Wall

Activity:
It’s obvious enough that the objective here is to get something round to roll down the tube ramp. The educational value comes in the planful experimentation to make it work. Have several sizes of objects to test which one will fit through the tubes best. We tried a ping pong ball, a football, and grapes. Encourage your little one to make suggestions about what they think will/won’t work.

Asking questions, experimenting, and problem solving are the essential components of this activity.

This is an exercise in engineering. It would be easy enough for me to just tape up a ramp and say “look things go down” and this is fine for little kids, but the 3+ crowd should help with the process.

We tested the angle and position of each tube placement by dropping our grape through and then adding another tube.

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Eventually little brother ripped the whole thing down, but the learning is in the fixing. So, no worries 🙂