Great Rope Tug of War African Folktale Lesson Plan

Folk tales and myths were a way to hand down traditions and customs from one generation to the next. The stories are meant to prepare young people for life, and so taught a lesson or moral. The Great Rope Tug-of-War story is an African folktale.

This lesson plan will help you teach the story to your children. A game of tug-of-war is a game of strength where one team can pull, or tug, a team on the other side into the water or mud hole between them.

In the African folk tales, the stories reflect the culture where diverse types of animals abound. The animals and birds are often accorded human attributes, so it is not uncommon to find animals talking, singing or demonstrating other human characteristics such as greed, jealousy, honesty etc.

The setting in many of the stories exposes the reader to landform and climate in Africa. References are often made to different seasons such as dry or rainy season and their effect on vegetation.

Watch the video below by August House/Story Cove to introduce the story.

This lesson is part of the Scope and Sequence for “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know” by E. D. Hirsch Jr. It is available in paperback, hardcover, or Kindle.

Who won the tug-of-war game? You might say that the Rabbit won the contest. Except, he did not even participate. It wasn’t a fair game. Rabbit outwitted the bigger animals!

Why did Rabbit challenge the animals to the game? He wanted to defeat his enemies. At the end of the story, Elephant and Whale think the rabbit is strong the way they are, so they hide from him.

What was the moral of the story? I’ll give you a hint. Rabbit had it on a sign while he was riding the whale at the end.

You can read another Tug-of-War story from the Native Americans Creek/Muscogee Tribe or find books at Amazon.

Books You Can Buy or Find On Amazon

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Tug Of War – An African Folktale printable image


This lesson is based on the scope and sequence in the book, “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know (Revised and updated): Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning ” written by E.D. Hirsch Jr. which is available from Amazon.

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