Bay Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Kristen McNeely

Kristen has taught elementary students for five years and has a master's degree in teaching.

In this lesson, you will learn about bays, including where they can be found and how they are formed. We will also explore some famous bays as well as the ecosystems that bays provide.

What Is a Bay?

Let's grab our life jackets and hop on an imaginary boat together! We will explore an extraordinary body of water called a bay. Bays can be found all around the world. This body of water is full of complex habitats that need to be protected.

A bay is a body of water that is partly surrounded by land. Bays empty out into larger bodies of water like oceans and lakes. They are sometimes confused with other bodies of water such as gulfs, but bays are typically smaller. Although bay waters can become choppy depending on weather conditions, they are generally calmer than ocean waters.

Bays Around the World

As we just learned, bays can be found in many parts of the world. Our first two stops bring us to some of the well-known bays in the United States, which include the Chesapeake Bay and the San Francisco Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is very large. With a size of over 64,000 square miles, it stretches across six different states on the eastern side of our country. The San Francisco Bay is located on the western side of the United States in California.

Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay

Let's continue our trip to the other side of the world, where we dock for a moment in New Zealand, home of the Bay of Islands. This bay brings tourists from around the world every year who are drawn to its bright blue waters and white sandy beaches. The Bay of Islands attracts fishermen in search of large fish, like marlin. Tourists also visit this area to sail the waters and explore the beaches that have not been developed with hotels, restaurants, and other construction.

Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands

Bay Formation

Bays can be formed in a variety of ways, including by way of erosion, which is a word used to describe the slow damage of something from nature's forces like wind, rain, or ice. Another way bays can form is when the layers beneath the earth's surface shift, which can cause pieces of land to separate and allow water to flow through.

Bay Ecosystems

Now we need our boat to transform into a submarine so that we can go deep underneath the surface of these fascinating bays. Bays are home to thousands of animal species and unique habitats, which are the places where animals and plants live.

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