Types of Soil: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

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

Soil is something that is necessary for animals and humans to survive. Learn what soil is, explore different types of soils, and discover what makes some types better for growing plants than others.

What is Soil?

Have you ever been playing outside and an adult reminds you to wipe your feet before you come in the house? Next time this happens, really look at what is on your shoes. While it may look like just dirt, it is actually soil, which is something vital or necessary for human life. Soil is a lot of materials mixed together, including dirt, minerals, animal material, and plant material. Soil is needed for growing plants, and those plants are consumed by animals and humans. There are different types of soils, and some are better for growing plants than others.


Clay soil might be familiar to some of you! You've used it if you have ever made a project in art class with this type of soil. Clay can be gray or red, and it is soil where the particles, or tiny pieces, are packed very tightly together. This causes clay to hold water, because the water cannot pass through the particles that are so closely packed. While this may sound like it is not a problem, for plants clay is not the ideal soil for growing. Plants can rot in the water that does not drain.

The tight particles of clay make it better for art projects than for growing plants.
types of soil clay


If you have ever traveled to a beach, you have already seen this type of soil. Sand is a soil type that is made of small pieces of rocks and minerals. If you pick up sand in your hand, you can pour it easily onto another surface. This is because the small pieces that make up sand are not close together, and they do not stick to one another easily. Because of this, water drains right through sand. That means it is not the best soil for growing plants. While too much water will cause plants to rot, they also need some water, or they will dry out.

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