Fascinating Desert Facts For Kids
Look at the beautiful world around you. There are so many different things to explore and know about. We have all kinds of animals, plants, and terrains to discover and explore. If you look at the terrain, we have so many different kinds of it! We have oceans, forests, plateaus, plains, and more. One such beautiful and intriguing terrain are deserts.
Deserts are barren areas of land where the precipitation received is less than 10 inches of rainfall per year. From sand dunes to camel rides, your kids have likely seen deserts in cartoons and movies but did you know that not all deserts are hot? From coastal deserts to the largest ice desert in Antarctica, there is much to explore in this world about deserts. If your kids have always wanted to learn more about deserts, this article will be very informative for them.
What Is a Desert?
A desert is defined as a barren area where little to no rain occurs, which makes it unsuitable for habitation for plants and animals. About one-third of the Earth’s surface is arid or semi-arid.
Characteristics Of a Desert
Each terrain has a different and unique characteristic feature. Here are some characteristic features of a desert. You can compare them to any desert you may have visited in your life!
Less Rainfall – In desert regions, there is less to almost no rainfall. This occurs due to a lot of different reasons. Absence or lack of rain is one of the main reasons for the arid climate.
High Temperatures – Deserts are known to have very extreme temperatures. They are usually very hot during the day and freezing cold during the night. This is one of the reasons why they are not suitable for habitation.
Lack of vegetation – Due to the area’s high temperatures, low precipitation and infertile soil, you will find scarce vegetation here. However, you will find plants that have adapted to the arid climate.
Unique Animals – To be able to live and thrive in such harsh conditions, the animals in the region have developed unique characteristics and behaviours. You will not find these animals anywhere else on the planet.
What Are The Different Types of Deserts?
Like different types of desserts, there are also different types of deserts. Read closely and attempt to understand the difference between both! Meanwhile, here are some different types of deserts:
- Hot deserts
- Cold deserts
- Semi-arid deserts
- Coastal deserts
Fun Desert Facts And Information For Children
Deserts are environments that are hostile to animals and where lifeforms find it challenging to thrive. From the scorching hot landscapes to sandstorms and the icy cold terrains, spending life on deserts isn’t easy.
Here are some fun desert biome facts along with what you want to know about rainfall in deserts and other statistics.
1. Antarctica Is A Huge Ice Desert!
Did you know that the snow never evaporates in the desert of Antarctica? Besides being the largest ice desert in the world, it measures very close to the size of Russia stretching across 5,339,573 square miles! The Antarctic desert is also the coldest in the world and experiences winter temperatures of -49 degrees Celsius on average, with the lowest temperatures recorded being -94.7 degrees Celsius and -92.9 degrees Celsius
2. People Do Live In Deserts
Unlike the deserts you find in movies and videogames, people do live in desert areas across the world. Over 1 billion of them, in fact, but life’s hard in these regions. Water is scarce, and crops don’t fare well in desert landscapes. Adapting to life in deserts is a challenge in reality.
3. Desert Plants Store Water
Thought plants wither away in these terrains? Not quite. Their leaves store up water and use it during times of drought. Most desert plants have leaves that are nicely padded to lock in the moisture whenever it does rain.
4. The Arabian Desert Falls Under Deserts And Xeric Shrublands
The Arabian Desert is regarded as the world’s 4th largest desert and is considered the biggest one in Asia. The World Wide Fund classified it to be falling under the ‘Deserts And Xeric Shrublands’. ‘Deserts And Xeric Shrublands’ refers to deserts that take up 10% of the Earth’s surface area, in terms of land, thus making up the largest terrestrial biome.
5. Desert Biomes are Desert Ecosystems
A desert biome is a desert ecosystem created due to the low amounts of rainfall received every year. One of the best desert biome facts is that they divide the world’s deserts into four major groups – coastal, semi-dry, icy and hot and dry.
6. Animals Come Out At Night
Animals don’t appear during the day in deserts, except for the camels who take travellers across the dunes. Most desert animals are nocturnal by nature and appear at night. Some of them live in burrows, and you can find more than 200 rattlesnakes in one square mile of a desert!
7. Weather Is Different For Every Desert
Not all weather is the same for every desert. Hot and dry deserts stay warm all-year round and scorching hot during the summers. The rainfall happens in short bursts, and sometimes it doesn’t even hit the ground. Coastal deserts have cool winters with moderately long summers that are warm. Icy deserts get hot summers, but the winters are freezing. These get very little snow or rain and are found in the mountainous regions of the world.
Cold deserts lie in flat areas of the world and are found somewhere between polar regions and tropics. The largest sand desert in the world is Rub al-Khali which translates to the ‘Empty Quarter’ in Arabic.
8. Yukon Has The Tiniest Desert In The World
Yukon, Canada has the smallest desert in the world. Its size is only one square-inch mile, and it is called the Carcross Desert
9. The Driest Desert In The World Hasn’t Received Rainfall Since It Was Found
Scientists have studied the driest desert in the world and have found that it hasn’t received any rain for more than 40 million years. It’s called the Atacama desert, and to this day no records can be found of it getting any rainfall.
10. Deserts Can Be Diverse
Although desert climate can get unpredictable and life is harsh, not all deserts are the same. Some deserts have diverse ecosystems with oasis, mammals, tall mountains, and more. The vegetation can be as diverse than what’s found in rainforests in some of them.
List of Biggest Deserts In The World
Deserts come in all shapes and sizes, just like animals and plants! Here is a list of some of the biggest deserts in the world. We have listed them in descending order.Antarctic Desert
1. Arctic Desert
The Arctic desert covers the island groups of Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Severny Island and Severnaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean. The environment is cold and harsh.
2. Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert on the planet and is located on the African continent. The desert covers large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.
3. Great Australian Desert
The Great Australian Desert covers about 18% of the Australian mainland. It covers areas from South West Queensland, Far West region of New South Wales, Sunraysia in Victoria and Spencer Gulf in South Australia to the Barkly Tableland in Northern Territory and the Kimberley region in Western Australia.
4. Arabian Desert
The Arabian Desert is located in Western Asia and covers almost the entire Arabian Peninsula. It stretches over Yemen to the Persian Gulf and Oman to Jordan and Iraq.
5. Gobi Desert
The Gobi Desert is the widest desert in the west. Overall, it is considered to be a cold desert with frost and occasional snowfall. It is a source of many important fossils, including the first dinosaur eggs to be discovered.
6. Kalahari Desert
The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savanna in Southern Africa. It covers much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa. However, the desert hasn’t always been a dry desert. Fossils from the area suggest that it was much wetter and cooler in the past.
7. Patagonian Desert
The Patagonian Desert is also known as the Patagonian Steppe. It is the largest desert in Argentina and occupies 673,000 square kilometres of area. It is a cold desert where the average temperature is only 3 °C.
8. Syrian Desert
The Syrian Desert is also known as the North Arabian Desert or the Jordanian steppe. The desert covers parts of southern Syria, eastern Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia, and western Iraq. The desert ecosystem is in threat due to drought, over-grazing, hunting and other human activities.
9. Great Basin Desert
The Great Basin Desert experiences hot and dry summers while the winters are snowy. The desert extends across large portions of Nevada and Utah, and extends into eastern California.
Other Interesting Facts About The Desert For Children
Here are some other interesting facts about deserts for children:
- Plantlife is scarce in deserts. You will find many shrubs, bushes, and a few kinds of grass in desert terrain. The roots of desert plants run very deep into the ground since they look for moisture and collect it whenever it rains
- One of the best Sahara desert facts is that it’s the largest hot desert in the world. Temperatures average around 122 degrees Celsius during the summers
- You can spot wandering birds in deserts. Tough desert animals like camels, tortoise and snakes adapt to harsh environments. Most desert animals live in their dwellings throughout the day, and some live underground. You will find desert tortoises in the southwestern parts of the United States
- Dust storms in deserts may travel beyond a 100 miles. Animals in deserts adapt to the harsh environment by storing water in their bodies
- The camel can survive days without food and water. It stores body fat in its hump
- Some of the popular activities among tourists visiting desert biomes are hiking, rock climbing, and ATV bike rides
- Europe is the only continent that does not have a desert biome. Desert landforms refer to elements like Yardangs, desert pavements, rock pedestals and rock pedestals
- Some deserts get a lot of rain at once and then experience long periods of drought. A desert habitat is classified as any area in the world that receives less than 10 inches of rainfall every year
- Desert climate can get wild, depending on the amount of precipitation they receive. True deserts don’t hold onto any moisture in the air and experience wide temperature changes. There are deserts where the temperature may get hot during the nights, and cold deserts at high altitudes can be drier than hot deserts
- Some desert plants like the Saguaro Cactus can live up to more than 150 years!
Fun Things To Do In a Desert
There are a lot of things you can do in a desert. You can experience the desert lifestyle with the locals or have a fun picnic in the sand. Here are some fun things you can do in a desert:
- You can go rock climbing
- Dirt biking
- Riding on camels
We hope you enjoyed our desert facts. Your kids will be amazed by the beauty and wonder of deserts once they start reading more about them. If they want to learn more about deserts, show them some movies and National Geographic documentaries that cover the theme of deserts. There are history and a lot of interesting facts, just waiting to be explored. By the time they’re done, they would want to go on a vacation or a trip to a desert with you. We recommend that too (if you can go for it).