Bamboo Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

In this lesson you will learn about a very useful plant, bamboo. Bamboo is found all over the world and is used for many different reasons. Keep reading to learn more about this awesome plant.

A Fast Growing Plant

Bamboo in California
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Imagine that you walk outside one morning and see some small green blades of grass. The next day, those same plants are three feet tall! Wow! You must have bamboo! This is because bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Bamboo belongs in the same plant family as grass. It is common in Asia, where it is used as a building material and for food. That sounds like a weird combination, right?!

What's Special about Bamboo?

If you haven't already guessed, bamboo is a unique plant. It can grow very quickly during its growing season. In a single season, it grows to its full height. Unlike other trees, like an oak tree, when the stalk comes out of the ground, it is at its adult size. Imagine, when a baby pine tree sprouts, it will have a skinny stem that looks nothing like that thick trunk it will have as an adult. Right? Well, bamboo will sprout with a fully formed culm. So what is that? Well, a culm is the hollow stem of the bamboo plant. These culms can grow on any continent, except Antarctica. The best soil and climate for bamboo is found in China.

Although bamboo doesn't grow taller over time, the outside of the culm will get harder and harder. When bamboo culms are hard, after about five to eight years, they are ready to use for building material. There are many different types of bamboo. The largest can grow to more than 90 feet tall, but the smallest will only be a few inches when fully grown!

More Than Just a Plant

Food

In Nepal, Indonesia, and other Asian countries, bamboo is cooked and used in soups, vegetable dishes, and drinks. People preparing bamboo to eat have to be very careful. Bamboo can contain poisons that are dangerous to humans if the plant is not cooked properly!

Construction Material

Bamboo Forms the Walls of this Home in Asia
bamboo home

Did you know that Bamboo has been used to build bridges in India and China? How cool is that! Bamboo has also been used as a decoration for fences or fountains in Japan. Bamboo can grow into shapes like squares or arches. It can also be sliced thinly and used as flooring.

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