Arctic Habitat Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The Arctic habitat is a very cold place at the top of the Earth. This lesson will teach you about the Arctic habitat, how cold it gets, what kinds of animals and plants live there and some other neat facts about this icy area.

What is the Arctic Habitat?

Your teacher tells your class that you're going on a field trip and to grab your coat because this is a special one. You get in a transporter and go. When the doors open, you are standing on icy ground with patches of snow. You see polar bears, but this is no zoo. It's a good thing you brought a jacket because you're in the Arctic!

The Arctic habitat is a cold area at the top of the Earth above the Arctic Circle where certain plants and animals live. It is made up of the Arctic Ocean and areas of the U.S., Canada, Russia, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Greenland.

Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle

This habitat has blustery winds and is very cold, with temperatures reaching 94 degrees below zero!

Icy glaciers, the Arctic Ocean with sea ice, and tundra, or flat plains with no trees, make up the Arctic habitat.

Because of the way the Earth tilts, there are days with no sunshine during the winter and days when the sun never goes down in the summer. Imagine how long you could play with friends on days like that!

Arctic tundra with low growing plants
Arctic tundra with low growing plants

Plants of the Arctic Habitat

You might not think plants would grow in such a cold habitat. However, there are about 1,700 different kinds of plants tough enough to live there. But they aren't the tall trees and bushes you're probably used to in your neighborhood park.

Plants in the Arctic habitat usually grow low to the ground and together in bunches because there isn't a lot of soil to grow in.

The Arctic habitat is covered in permafrost, which is dirt that stays frozen like an icy pop and never thaws out. On top of that, there is a thin deposit of topsoil that unfreezes for a short time each year, which is how hearty Arctic plants take root and grow.

Some plants in the Arctic habitat are:

  • Arctic willow - a bush that has leaves shaped like tongues
  • Bearberry - a plant that got its name because bears like to snack on its bright red berries
  • Cottongrass - a short grass that grows what look like tassels of cotton

Animals of the Arctic Habitat

Because they can't put on warm jackets and gloves, the animals that live in the Arctic habitat have special ways of staying warm in their cold surroundings.

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