Ohio Landforms Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Even though Ohio isn't one of the largest states in the U.S., it has lots of different landforms. In this lesson, you'll find out more about Ohio's many landforms, including a huge cave and a rock bridge.

Shaped by Ice

Can you imagine two-thirds of the whole state of Ohio covered in glaciers? Millions of years ago, it was! A glacier is a huge, slow-moving sheet of ice. As glaciers moved across the land, they left their mark on the landscape. Many of Ohio's landforms, which are features that you can see on the surface of the Earth, were created by these glaciers.

Ohio Landforms

Let's take a look at some interesting landforms in Ohio, many of which were created by those glaciers.


In Ohio there are two different areas with plains, or mostly flat land with only small hills. The Great Lakes Plains begin on the shore of Lake Erie and stretch across northern Ohio. The Till Plains can be found in southwestern and west-central Ohio. The Till Plains are not quite as flat as the Great Lakes Plains, and they include some hills that were formed by the glaciers as they moved through the area. The highest point in Ohio, Campbell's Hill, can be found in this area. It's over 1,500 feet high!


You may know that a plateau is a mountain that has a flat top. The Allegheny Plateau can be found in most of Eastern Ohio, north to the edge of the Great Lakes Plain. Although plateaus usually have flat tops, this plateau has been worn down by erosion; water, wind, and weather have made it crumble, so that it looks more like rounded hills than a plateau.

Ohio River and Rounded Plateaus

The south-central part of Ohio also has plateaus; this area is called the bluegrass area. Here some of the plateaus are flatter on top than they are in the Allegheny Plateau. There are also areas with steeper cliffs and valleys. In this section of Ohio, it's common to find many caves and sink holes. A sink hole is a hole under the ground, usually formed by erosion.

Rock Arches and Rock Bridges

Some of Ohio's most beautiful landforms are its rock arches and rock bridges. These are also caused by erosion and weathering. One of the largest is called ''Rockbridge.'' It's about 100 feet long and up to 20 feet wide.

An Ohio Cave

In Hocking Hills State Park, you can find an interesting landform called ''Rockhouse.'' But to see it, you'd first have to climb halfway up a 150-foot cliff to find the opening of this natural tunnel through the rock. It's about 200 feet long, and the ceiling is between 25 to 40 feet high. That means this cave is taller than a two- or three-story house!

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