Did you know that you can win the game of tug of war even if you are not the strongest? We love when hands-on learning through play turns into a quiet lessons and today we are going to talk about playing tug of war and how winning the game might be a lot more than brute strength. With this activity you can engage kids’ muscles and competitive spirits while spurring their love for science with a game of tug of war.

## Tug of War Science Game

An educator by trade, I love to think of outside games for kids to play that combine fun, learning, and movement. Enter tug of war!

Read on for how to incorporate a science lesson into a classic game.

## Directions for Tug of War

### Step 1

Stick a piece of colored tape on the ground, making sure it is visible to each child.

### Step 2

Have children grab each end of the rope on opposite sides of the tape. Be sure kids do not wrap the rope around their hands, which can be dangerous.

### Step 3

Each kid should try to pull the other to their side of the tape!

After explaining how tug of war works, challenge your kids to change up teams to see if the game results in different winners.

## Tug of War Safety Tips

• Do NOT wrap the rope around your hand or fingers as it can cause injuries.
• Have a tight grip and don’t let the rope slide in your hands as you can get rope burn aka friction burn.
• Try to play on soft ground without a lot of rocks or debris in case someone falls.

## Science Behind Winning Tug of War

Hint: it’s about friction and mass!

Did you know tug of war isn’t about strength? You don’t have to be the strongest to win. Rather, it’s about friction. Each person on each side of the rope has 4 four forces. Those 4 forces are: ground, tension, friction, and weight.

One person pulls on the rope which caused the other person to pull forward. The frictional force is between the person and the ground. And if all forces don’t add up to 0 the person moves. If it adds up to 0, they won’t budge.

It’s crazy to think that tug of war games that we play at family get-togethers have so much science and math behind it. A tug of war match, a competitive sport and type of game, requires enough force against the force of the opposing team, but how do you do that with your team members?

There is a lot more to it, but for a better explanation we have a great post from the Wired. I really like this simple article from Wired that talks about the science of winning tug of war.

## Tug of War Vs Dog

If you really want to wow your kids, let them watch the Wired video of people playing tug of war with a lion! While I don’t recommend they reenact that game, your kids could also play tug of war with your dogs.

According to DogTime, tug of war can be a great training activity.

Check out this video of a tiny dachshund winning tug of war against mountain dogs:

Ok, that little dog didn’t technically follow the rules!

## History Of Tug Of War

Did you know the game of Tug of War goes back to ancient times. Though the tug of war origin is unknown we know the game was placed in ancient Greece, India, Egypt, and China. It’s a physical exercise that China used to train warriors.

Hope your kids enjoy playing tug of war and learning about science in the process!

# How To Play Tug of War

Tug of war has a lot of science and math behind it. It's a fun physical game that also doubles as an educational science lesson.

## Materials

• At least two kids
• A strong but soft rope <–I like this one because it has a built-in flag perfect for tug of war
• A piece of tape

## Instructions

1. Stick a piece of colored tape on the ground, making sure it is visible to each child.
2. Have children grab each end of the rope on opposite sides of the tape. Be sure kids do not wrap the rope around their hands, which can be dangerous.
3. Each kid should try to pull the other to their side of the tape!

## Looking for More Science Activities? We have Plenty At Kids Activities Blog

How did this change your tug of war strategy?

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My name is Holly Homer & I am the Dallas mom of three boys…