Canyon Lesson for Kids: Definition, Formation & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Canyons are amazing landforms that can be found in many parts of the world. In this lesson, learn the definition of a canyon, how a canyon is formed, and discover some cool facts about canyons.

Cool Canyons

You've probably heard of canyons before and maybe you've even seen one. But do you know exactly what a canyon is? A canyon is a type of landform (a way in which land is formed over time) kind of like extremely large valleys with very deep sides. Canyons are pretty cool landforms, so let's learn more about them.

Antelope Canyon, located in Arizona, has some breathtaking views.
Antelope Canyon

How Are Canyons Formed?

What would you consider to be a really long time? A month or a year? Canyons form over millions of years. Canyons are created by something called erosion. This is when land is worn away over time by some kind of force, like weather or a body of water. In the case of canyons, a river is what most often causes the erosion. Rivers carve into the land with their rushing waters, wearing away the land and over millions of years, a canyon is formed.

Canyons like this one in New Zealand form over millions of years.

Canyons Around the World

Maybe you've heard of the Grand Canyon, located in the western part of the United States. This canyon is enormous so it definitely earns the description of being grand! It is over 250 miles long, and there are areas where it is over a mile deep! The Grand Canyon has been created over millions of years by erosion from the Colorado River.

The Grand Canyon stretches for hundreds of miles in the western United States.

As huge as the Grand Canyon might be, there are other canyons around the world that are just as impressive. Colca Canyon is located in the country of Peru and it has areas that are nearly twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon stretches from Tibet to China and it is longer than the Grand Canyon.

Canyon Facts

Canyons not only differ in size and location, but there are different types of canyons as well. Slot canyons are more narrow types of canyons that are formed when water rushes through land at quick speeds. Although these types of canyons might not be very wide, they can be really deep.

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