Bodies of Water: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Michelle Jones

Michelle has taught at the elementary level and has earned a master's degree.

Water is such an important part of our lives, and all living things need it to survive. It covers most of our Earth in many different forms. This lesson describes the bodies of water and the differences between them.

Water, Water, Everywhere!

What do swimming, taking a bath, and washing dishes all have in common? You need water to do them! There is not one day that goes by when you don't use water, so it's a good thing there is a lot of it. In fact, there is much more water than dry land on Earth.

A body of water is any area of land that is covered by water. What's really cool is that many of the bodies of water all around the world are connected in some way. Here, we're going to look at the types of fresh water and salt water by following the Johnson family on a boat ride.

Fresh water

If you were to take a look at any body of fresh water on a warm summer day, you'd find people fishing, swimming, and riding in boats, like the Johnsons. Fresh water just means that the water doesn't have salt in it. There's a good chance your drinking water comes from one of these sources.

Streams and Rivers

The Johnson family begins their journey down the Niagara River. A river is a flowing, narrow body of water. It flows in one direction, from a high point to a lower point, and usually toward a larger body of water. So, it's open at the end, but has land along the sides of it. Streams are just smaller versions of rivers.

The Niagara River flowing north toward Lake Ontario
Picture of the Niagara River

Ponds and Lakes

After taking in the beautiful view of the riverside, the Johnsons reach a large body of water called Lake Ontario. Unlike streams and rivers, the water in ponds and lakes does not always move the same direction. There are currents, caused by wind and the temperature of the water. The other difference is that ponds and lakes are surrounded by land on all sides. The only opening would be where water flows in and out of it.

How can you tell if a body of water is a pond or a lake? That has to do with the depth and temperature of the water. Ponds are shallow, or not as deep, as lakes. Also, because lakes are deeper, temperatures change in the layers of water, while a pond's water temperature is similar throughout.

This is an overhead view of Lake Ontario. Notice the rivers and streams flowing in and out of it.
Image of Lake Ontario

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