Desert Facts for Kids
Did you know there are both hot deserts and cold deserts? A hot desert is a dry place where little rainfall occurs. They are typically very barren, containing little water and life forms. Some plants and animals, however, thrive in the desert biome. Hot deserts are dry, barren areas of land where little rainfall occurs. Cold deserts are located in polar regions. They are known for extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters. These are known as polar deserts and the largest one is the Antarctic Desert, which spans the entire continent of Antarctica! That means deserts are located on every single continent! Keep reading these desert facts for kids to learn about the specific deserts on each continent and their characteristics. We will be focusing mostly on hot deserts, but don’t forget the few cold deserts out there!
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The Sahara Desert
1. The largest desert in the world is the Sahara desert, which covers nearly 9 million square kilometers. That’s over three hundred million square miles!
2. The Sahara desert is located in Northern Africa and covers parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia.
Desert Facts for Kids – The Arabian Desert
3. The second largest desert in the world is the Arabian desert, which covers 2.6 million square kilometers, or one million square miles.
4. The Arabian desert is located in Western Asia and covers parts of Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
The Gobi Desert
5. The third largest desert in the world is the Gobi desert, which covers 1.3 million square kilometers, which is about five hundred thousand square miles.
6. The Gobi desert is located in Asia and covers parts of China and Mongolia.
Desert Facts for Kids – The Great Victoria Desert
7. The fourth largest desert in the world is the Great Victoria desert, which covers 647,000 square kilometers.
8. The Great Victoria desert is located in Australia and covers parts of Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory.
Different Desert Sizes
9. Other large deserts include the Kalahari desert (in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa), the Patagonian desert (in Argentina and Chile) and the Mojave desert (in California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona). Fun fact: The Mojave desert is located in Death Valley, named for its extreme temperatures and harsh conditions.
10. Smaller desert regions can be found in Europe (such as the Tatacoa desert in Colombia), North America (such as the Sonoran desert in Mexico and the Chihuahuan desert in the United States), South America (such as Atacama desert in Chile) and Asia (such as the Thar desert in India).
Desert Facts for Kids – Dry Deserts
11.Deserts are extremely dry and hot places. They have little rain and see three-digit temperatures regularly. Death Valley has an average temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
12. Because of the hot temperatures, the little rain deserts do get is quickly dried up, creating large areas of dry land. The driest place on Earth is thought to be the Atacama desert in Chile, where rainfall has been recorded only a handful of times over the past 150 years. This makes it the driest desert in the world!
The Coldest Desert
13. The coldest desert in the world is Antarctica, which has an average temperature of -58 degrees Fahrenheit (-50 degrees Celsius).
Desert Facts for Kids – The Hottest Desert
14. The hottest desert in the world is the Sahara desert, where temperatures can reach up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). The highest temperature ever recorded in the Sahara desert was 136 degrees Fahrenheit in 1922. That must’ve been one hot day!
15. Some desert regions experience extremely high temperatures during the day, but very cold temperatures at night. This is because desert land doesn’t retain heat well.
16. Some common desert animals include lizards, snakes, rabbits, desert tortoises and kangaroos.
17. Camels and kangaroos are able to survive in the desert since they can go for long periods of time without drinking water. Camels actually have humps that they use to store water. How cool is that?
18. Other desert animals, such as lizards and snakes, spend most of their time in burrows underground where it is cooler.
19. Some desert insects, such as locusts, travel in large swarms and destroy crops and plants of the desert.
20. Despite the dry soil and arid climate, plant life still grows in the desert. Most desert plants have deep roots that help them to find water underground.
21. Some common desert plants include cacti, yucca plants and Joshua trees. Cacti store water in their stems in order to counteract the dry climate and overly dry soil. Have you ever seen a cactus?
More Interesting Desert Facts for Kids
22. The Sahara desert is home to the Sahel region, where some of the world’s poorest people live.
23. Deserts are often used in movies or TV shows as the setting for adventure stories. Some popular desert-themed movies include “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Indiana Jones”, and “Star Wars”. Have you seen any of these movies? Make sure you check them out and try to guess which parts were filmed in the desert. Hint: Look for sand dunes and a whole lot of nothing. Besides the animals and plants that have adapted to the extreme conditions and high temperatures, there isn’t much in the desert.
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