Waterfall Facts: 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.

Waterfalls are one of nature's most beautiful attractions! In this lesson, learn some new facts about waterfalls. Find out about some of the most famous waterfalls in the world.

What is a Waterfall?

Can you take apart the compound word of waterfall and guess what it is? Waterfalls are areas where a river or stream reaches a drop off or cliff. The water keeps flowing, and it falls over the edge. Usually there is a lake or pond below that the water falls into. Waterfalls can be found all over the world, and they are often very popular tourist attractions!

This ledge waterfall in Iceland is an example of the natural beauty of a waterfall.
Waterfall over cliff

How are Waterfalls Formed?

Rivers are bodies of water that are in motion. Rushing waters can push loose soil and lightweight rocks as they flow through their channels. This is called erosion, where the land is worn away due to the force of the water. However, there are some rocks that are too heavy for the water to move. The water flows over these rocks and the force of gravity causes the water to fall over their edges. In some cases, the land formation causes a waterfall. If there is a cliff or ledge naturally, rushing river waters will simply fall over the edge. There are also waterfalls created by ice that has melted from icebergs.

This cascade waterfall in Ireland illustrates how rushing water can move loose soil but not heavy rocks.
Ireland waterfall example of erosion

Famous Waterfalls

The most famous waterfall in North America is Niagara Falls. This is actually a collection of three different waterfalls, and it is so large that it can be found in two countries! There is a side that is located in the United States, in New York State, and another side that is found in Ontario, Canada. If you want to see the tallest waterfall in the world, head to Venezuela to see Angel Falls. Travel to the western United States and Yosemite Valley to see many spectacular waterfalls as well. Some waterfalls are actually man-made. The tallest man-made waterfall in Europe, the Cascata Delle Marmore, can be found in Italy.

Niagara Falls is an extremely large waterfall that is found in both the United States and Canada.
Famous waterfall Niagara

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