Toga hönk [Tuga War] – Viking Gross Motor Activity

For our study of Iceland, our gross motor activity was the toga hönk (tuga war) which was an important competition to the Vikings. The name literally means tugging on a loop, or a hank. Not much is known about the exact details, but it is believed that two men sat on the floor or the ground, knees bent, with the soles of their feet pressed flat on the soles of their opponents feet. They pulled on a loop of rope, which may have been marked in the middle with a tag, or with a bit of rope. By pulling on the loop with the arms and straightening the legs, it is possible to pull an opponent over, winning the competition. The competition uses movements and muscle groups similar to those used in rowing a ship, and may have been a way to choose desirable candidates for the crew of a ship.

We did this activity standing up because my girls are small. I bought a small length of rope at the dollar store (originally intended for a dog) and marked our line with a small garden stake (first thing that I had out there that seemed to be able to work) – I first let both girls try to pull me over.

Finally after they seemed to get the concept I let them compete against each other.

They really loved this – much more than I thought they would!

Even Daddy got into the game!

Who would have thought this super simple game and a $1 piece of rope could provide so much fun! Great way to strength little arms and legs, get into nature and provide a discussion about ancient civilizations!

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