All About Force: Push and Pull

Force Quiz
Force Quiz

You can’t see them, but forces make the world go round. Friction happens when two things rub against each other. Friction makes things slow down.

It can also warm them up. Try rubbing your hands together. Are your hands warmer? Gravity is a natural force. It pulls everything down towards the earth.

Force Quiz
Force Quiz

Push and Pull Facts for Kids

  • Push and pull are types of forces.
  • Push moves things away, pull brings them closer.
  • You push a swing to make it move.
  • You pull a door to open it.
  • Gravity pulls objects toward the earth.
  • Magnets can push or pull each other.
  • Friction can slow a push or pull.
  • A tug of war game involves pulling.
  • We push pedals to ride a bike.
  • Pulling a kite string helps it fly.


Basic Physics Concepts

Hey kiddos, did you know that the world of physics isn’t as scary as it sounds? It’s all around us, even when we’re just pushing a swing or pulling a toy wagon.

That’s right! You’re using physics every day without even realizing it. When you push a swing, you’re applying a force that makes it move. This is called a ‘push force’.

On the other hand, when you pull your toy wagon, you’re using a ‘pull force’. These are basic physics principles you can see and feel.

Remember, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So, when you push or pull something, it pushes or pulls back with the same strength.

That’s physics for you, as simple as pushing a swing or pulling a toy wagon.

Force and Motion

You’re on a journey to unravel the secrets of force and motion, aren’t you? Well, push and pull are two fundamental concepts that make things move.

When you push something, you’re applying force to move it away from you. Think about pushing a swing or a shopping cart.

On the other hand, when you pull something, you’re using force to bring it closer. Imagine pulling a door open or tugging a kite down from the sky.

In both these actions, you’re changing the object’s motion. If it was still, it starts moving; if it was already moving, you’re changing its direction or speed.

But remember, the harder you push or pull, the faster the object moves. That’s the magic of force and motion!

Simple Machines (levers, pulleys)

Feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders? Don’t fret; simple machines like levers and pulleys are here to lighten your load!

Did you know that levers and pulleys are types of simple machines that use push and pull forces to make work easier? A seesaw is a perfect example of a lever. When you push down on one end, the other end goes up. Pretty cool, right?

Now, let’s talk about pulleys. Imagine you’re trying to lift a heavy bucket. With a pulley system, you can pull down on a rope, and the bucket goes up! It’s a fantastic way to lift heavy things without using too much muscle power.

So, you see, understanding push and pull can make your life much easier.

Magnets and Magnetism

Ever thought about how magnets stick to your fridge or why they attract and repel each other? That’s the fascinating world of magnetism for you!

Magnets have two poles – north and south. Like poles repel each other, while opposite poles attract. That’s why if you try to push two magnets together with the same poles facing each other, they’ll push away.

Now, think of Earth as a giant magnet. It has a magnetic field that pulls everything towards it. That’s why when you jump, you always land back on the ground.

Magnets can also affect other magnets and certain metals like iron. That’s how a fridge magnet sticks to the fridge. It’s all part of the incredible push and pull facts that make our world so interesting!

Science Experiments for Kids

Unleashing your child’s inner scientist can be an exciting adventure with some fun and easy experiments right at home!

You can start with a simple push and pull experiment using a toy car and a ramp. Just set the car at the top of the ramp and let it go. Your child can observe how the car’s movement is influenced by the pull of gravity.

Next, you can make a homemade magnet using a nail, a piece of wire, and a battery. Wrap the wire around the nail, attach the ends to the battery, and watch as it pulls small metal objects.

Finally, for a fun twist on the push and pull concept, try making a homemade balloon rocket. Your child will be amazed by the push force propelling the balloon along a string!

Gravity and its Effects

Gravity is a mighty force that pulls everything towards the center of the Earth. When you’re on a roller coaster, hurtling down the track at high speed, gravity is what lifts you off your seat at the bottom. Even when you jump, gravity pulls you back down and keeps your feet on the ground. It prevents you from floating off into space.

Gravity also has an impact on the tides in the ocean. The Moon’s gravity pulls on the Earth’s water, causing high and low tides. Despite being invisible, the effects of gravity are everywhere. So, the next time you’re on a swing or throwing a ball, remember that it’s gravity that’s making it all possible.

Friction and its Role

Just like gravity, there’s another force that’s constantly at play in our daily lives – it’s friction, and it’s truly a game-changer!

Friction is the force that resists motion between two surfaces touching each other. It stops your shoes from sliding on a slippery floor and it’s the reason you can hold onto things without them slipping from your grasp.

Friction also plays a big role in movement. When you’re riding your bike, for example, the friction between the tires and the road is what lets you move forward. Too much friction can slow you down, but without enough, you’d just keep sliding around uncontrollably.

Remember, just like gravity, friction is always there, helping to keep things running smoothly in our world.

Physical Education and Sports

Speaking of friction, it’s not just relevant in science, but it plays a critical part in your physical education and sports activities too. Imagine trying to play basketball without the grip provided by friction, or attempting to run on an icy surface.

Now, focusing more on physical education and sports, you get to use push and pull forces all the time. When you’re throwing a ball, you’re using a push force. Similarly, when you’re pulling a rope in a tug-of-war, you’re using a pull force.

Moreover, games like soccer, basketball, and baseball also involve these forces when you kick, dribble, or hit the ball. So, the principles of push and pull aren’t just textbook concepts, they’re vital in your daily life and sports activities.

The Concept of Opposites

In the world around us, we’re constantly met with the fascinating concept of opposites. It’s like a dance of contrasts, present not only in the physical realm, but also in abstract ideas and emotions.

You’ve probably noticed this in simple things like day and night, hot and cold, or in the push and pull of a door. This idea isn’t just important for understanding physics; it’s vital for life too.

Think about it, you breathe in and out, your heart beats fast and slow, and even your emotions can swing from happiness to sadness. So, it’s clear that opposites aren’t just a concept; they’re an integral part of our existence.

They help us understand the world, and more importantly, they help us understand ourselves.

Playground Games and Activities

As you reminisce about your carefree younger years, playground games and activities likely hold a special place in your heart. From tug-of-war to playing on the seesaw, you were unknowingly learning about the principles of push and pull.

Remember how you’d push off the ground to swing higher? That’s an example of a push force. The harder you pushed, the higher you’d go.

Or how about when you played tug-of-war? You’d pull on your end of the rope, trying to drag the other team towards you. That’s a pull force in action.

Even the slide involved both forces. You’d pull yourself up the ladder, then gravity would push you down the slide.

So, without realizing it, your fun-filled playground days were full of science lessons!

When you push a friend on a swing, you are using another force. Pushing moves something in the direction of the push. The harder the push, the further the item goes.

Pulling something has a similar action. The harder you pull, the faster something moves along. Pressure is another force. Pressure is force applied by weight. For example, if you press down on a grape, the pressure squishes it. Walk in snow and the pressure of your feet leaves footprints.

Fun Facts about Forces for Kids

Friction Explanation Image
Friction happens when two things rub against each other. Friction makes things slow down.
  • Any kind of force is really just a push or a pull.
  • Magnetism is a type of force. A magnet might pull an object toward it or push it away.
  • Inertia is not a force. Anything with mass – or anything that has weight – automatically slows down because of that weight. This is inertia. The larger something is, the more inertia it has and the more force you need to make it move. An elephant has more inertia than a caterpillar, for instance.
  • Sir Isaac Newton was one of the first scientists to study gravity and force. Scientists still use his three laws today. The first one says that a body in motion is likely to stay in motion, while a body at rest will stay at rest. A kid playing soccer will probably keep playing. A kid watching movies will probably keep watching movies. The second law says that if a force acts upon a body, it will change the body’s speed or direction. If you kick a soccer ball, it’s going to change direction and speed. Finally, the third law says that for every force and action, there is an equal reaction. If you give that soccer ball a soft kick, it won’t go very far or fast. A big kick sends the soccer ball flying across the field.
  • Springs and elastic are also types of force. Push against them and they resist. They spring back with the same force you gave them.

What is Force for Kids

Force is a key concept in physics, representing a push or pull that affects an object’s motion, speed, or shape. Kids can explore forces in daily activities, like opening doors or bouncing balls, to better understand how objects interact and move in our world.

Newton's Laws of Motion Image - All About Force Facts for Kids
Read on for more all about forces, push and pull.

Force Vocabulary

  1. Force: energy that moves something
  2. Gravity: a force that pulls us down to earth
  3. Mass: weight, bulk
  4. Motion: movement

Learn More All About Force: Push and Pull

Watch this video about push and pull:

A video excerpt of the forces, push and pull.

Forces Q&A

Question: What is velocity?

Answer: Velocity is the speed of an object as it moves in one direction. If it changes directions, its velocity changes too.


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