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Polar Habitats Lesson for Kids: Description & Facts

Instructor: Candice Case

Candice teaches 1st grade and has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

Learn about the polar habitats, on the continents of the Arctic and Antarctic, including the plant and animal life found there and the local climate. We will also learn about what makes the polar regions different from any other place on earth.

The Polar Habitats

Imagine you're on an area of land that is surrounded by ice and snow. You must be freezing! High winds may be blowing, and it could be hard to tell when day begins or night ends. A mother polar bear could walk by with her cubs, and a few moments later a killer whale could pop out of the water. You may also notice there is a lack of people around you, and little rainfall. Where on earth could you be? You must be at one of the polar habitats.

Icebergs and mountains in Antarctica
mountains

The Northern Polar Habitat

The region to the north of our planet is called the Arctic. The Arctic is home to an average temperature of minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit! The Arctic is inhabited, which means it has people living there. It also has a variety of animals that call the Arctic home. Some of the mammals that live here include polar bears, arctic foxes, arctic wolves, narwhals, sea lions, orcas, walrus, seals, and other types of whales. There are also wolves, foxes, hares, lemmings, reindeer, and oxen.

The Arctic is characterized by its land mass. It is made up of different bodies of land that are surrounded by the ocean waters. The Arctic habitat is the warmer of the two polar habitats.

The Southern Polar Habitat

The region to the south of our planet is called the Antarctic. Unlike the Arctic, it is uninhabited, meaning it has no one living there, except for scientists who only stay for about 3-6 months at a time. There's also a small number of tourists who explore the area each year. For the most part, the land has been reserved for doing scientific research. The only true inhabitants of the Antarctic are penguins, seals, whales and albatross.

The Antarctic is a single main body of land that contains a large ice sheet that's always there, no matter the season.

Emperor penguins living in the Antarctic
emporer

What's the Weather Like?

The polar habitats only have two seasons: summer and winter. These are not the typical summers that you may experience in your hometown. They are very cold and winter-like, but what makes them summers is that they receive 24 hours of pure sunlight during these months. In the winter, they experience the exact opposite - pure darkness.

The polar habitats are home to strong, chilly wind. While they have plenty of snow, the Arctic and Antarctic receive very little rainfall. This qualifies them to be deserts.

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