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Landforms For Kids – Definition, Types and Examples

If you have been on a holiday with your children, to places like hill stations, valleys and beaches, they may have observed and wondered about the different types of terrain and landforms. Children are quite observant and have the ability to register lots of details in their ever-growing memory. However, they may not know the reason why where are so many different types of landforms, and what they are called.

Let us give them an introduction to various land masses, to aid their understanding of the subject.


What Are Landforms and How Are They Formed?

A landform is a naturally-formed feature on the surface of the Earth. It often has a recognisable shape like a valley or mountain. Landforms can range in size and be small like hills or much bigger like mountains.


These geographical features are found all over the world. Apart from being different in their shapes, they also have different effects on the ecosystem, climate, and weather of the place. For instance, you may have noticed that in the plains, the weather can be much warmer on the same day when it is a bit cooler on a hill station. Some crops grow better in a particular region, while others are better suited for the rest.


Animals too have a preferred terrain, that is why each country has a unique heritage of flora and fauna. Landforms play a huge role in this.The landforms that we see on Earth have been formed over many years. The phenomena that caused the formation of these landforms is the movement of tectonic plates and the process of denudation, which includes weathering and erosion. Some elements were even formed by weather conditions and natural disasters like volcano eruptions.


Different Types Of Landforms With Examples

Is your child still curious to understand, what are landforms? These examples will make the concept clearer for them. You must be familiar with various landforms that you may have observed while travelling or in movies and picture books. Let us take a look at a few types of landforms here:

1. Mountains


Breathtaking to look at, mountains are an interesting type of landform whose height can influence the weather conditions in the surrounding area. They’re popular among thrill-seekers looking to try adventure sports like climbing and skiing.


How Are Mountains Formed?

Mountains are made from elevated portions of the Earth’s crust. To qualify as a mountain, landforms must be 300 meters high.Mountains are sometimes formed when pieces of the Earth’s crust smash together, also known as tectonic plates. This is how the Himalayan mountains were created. Volcanic mountains, on the other hand, are created by molten rock erupting from deep within the Earth.


  • Aspen Mountain (Rocky mountain range, Colorado) – 10,705 ft.
  • Bear Mountain (Kenai mountain range in Alaska) – 4,019 ft.
  • Mount Everest (Himalayan mountain range between Nepal and China) – 29,029 ft
  • Mount Fuji (Fuji Volcanic Zone) – 12,389 ft.
  • Mount Olympus (Olympus mountain range in Greece) – 9,570 ft.

2. Hills


These are a similar type of landform to mountains, except they’re generally considered to be smaller and less steep.

How Are Hills Formed?

Natural hills are formed all the time, by different types of geologic activity. One of these activities is faulting, which happens because the rocks underneath the Earth’s surface are constantly moving and changing the landscape. Hills formed by faulting can eventually become mountains. The Himalayas in Asia, the tallest mountain range in the world, were once tiny hills. The Himalayas continue to grow because of faulting activity beneath the Earth’s surface. Hills are also formed because of erosion, which happens when bits of rock, soil, and sediment get washed away and placed in a pile somewhere else.



  • Britton Hill (Florida, United States) – 345 ft.
  • Munnar (Kerala, India) – 5249.344 ft
  • Pen Hill (Somerset, England) – 1,001 ft.
  • Seven Hills of Rome (Italy) – 124-249 ft.
  • Sparrow Hill (Moscow, Russia) – 260 ft.

3. Valleys


A valley is a type of landform found between two hills or mountains. They can be U-shaped or V-shaped and sometimes have a river flowing through them. Valleys are often green and luscious, with fertile soil and vegetation.


How Are Valleys Formed?

Valleys are created by water running down the side of mountains, wearing away the rock and soil until deep grooves are formed.


  • Lauterbrunnen Valley (Switzerland)
  • Yosemite Valley (California)
  • Valley of the Ten Peaks (Canada)
  • Benasque Valley, Huesca.
  • Barun Valley (Nepal)

4. Plateaus


Plateaus are areas of high, flat land. They have steep sides like a mountain but are topped with a flat surface, like a table. They are found on every continent on Earth and take up a third of the Earth’s land!

How Are Plateaus Formed?

There are two types of plateaus: dissected plateaus and volcanic plateaus. Dissected plateaus are formed by tectonic plates, like mountains, while volcanic plateaus are a result of repeated, small volcanic eruptions over time.


  • Deccan Plateau (India) – 308,882 square miles
  • Antarctic Plateau (Antarctica) – 5.4 million square miles
  • Colorado Plateau (Colorado, United States) – 130,000 square miles
  • Patagonia Plateau (Argentina) – 260,000 square miles
  • Tibetan Plateau (China) – 965,300 square miles

5. Plains


A plain is a wide area of flat land. Like plateaus, plains are found on all seven continents. One common type of plain is a grassland, which is an area mainly covered with grass. This isn’t the only type of plain though; some deserts and forests are also considered plains.

How Are Plains Formed?

Plains can be formed in lots of different ways, including volcanic eruptions and the movement of rivers.


  • Australian Plains (Australia) – 2,966,200 square miles
  • European Plain (Central and East Europe) – 2,000,000 square miles
  • Great Plains (United States) – 1,100,000 square miles
  • The Northern Plain (India) – 270,271 square miles
  • West Siberian Plain (Russia) – 1,200,000 square miles
  • There are few other types of minor landforms too, like desert landforms including dunes, and ocean landforms like archipelagos.

Why Should We Teach Landforms To Kids?

Understanding the world we live in is one of the most important lessons that a child will learn. When they look around them, when they observe their surroundings while travelling, when they hear news about occurrences in some part of the world, or when they see a place much different from their own in movies and on TV shows, their comprehension will be much clearer if they know about the different landforms.It will help them understand natural phenomena like floods, storms and famines and why they are geographically limited to a particular region.

They will have a better understanding of weather conditions. So even if it is summer, and they plan to visit the Himalayas, they would know they must carry a few warmer clothes for the cold weather up in the mountains.

Landform Activities For Kids

Hands-On Activities for Teaching Landforms

Make Earth Layer Beads

Graham Cracker Tectonic Plates

Continents Necklaces

Build Play-Dough LandformsDesign Salt Dough Islands

1. Colour Shading Activity!

What You Will Need

  • Colour pencils
  • Sheet of paper


  1. Here’s a fun activity where children get to bring their artistic abilities on.
  2. Draw a few landforms on a sheet of paper and ask your child to colour it with various shades of brown colour pencils.
  3. They can use the lightest tan shade for plains and beaches, a slightly darker brown for plateus, dark browns for hills and the darkest brown for tall mountains.

Useful Tip: Teach them how to shade, such that they can colour the same mountain in shades of brown to depict the height of the mountain.

2. 3-D Model

What You Will Need

  • Thermocol sheet
  • Tinsel
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Cardboard sheet
  • Colours
  • Glue


  1. Get a thick thermocol sheet and use it as a base.
  2. Roughly, demarcate a section of the sheet to be an ocean, plains, hills, valleys and mountain ranges.
  3. You can use elements like tinsel, kinetic sand, cardboard cut-outs of trees, paper cones to represent mountains, etc.
  4. Paste the various landforms on the thermocol sheet to show a model of how the world has diverse landforms.

3. Colour The Map

What You Will Need

  • World Map/ India Map
  • Colours


  1. There’s only one way to colour the world, and is by travelling across it!
  2. Whenever you travel to any destination, ask your child to identify which landform they visited.
  3. Assign a particular colour to each landform, and let them colour the place on the map accordingly.
  4. Did they visit the hills of Konkan? Let them colour it brown. Did they visit the plains and fields in Punjab? Let them colour it green. Did they visit Marina beach in Tamil Nadu? Let them colour it blue.
  5. This activity will improve their observation skills and make them practice this lesson on landforms.
  6. It will also serve as a fun scrapbooking activity.

4. Create Your Own Landforms

What You Will Need

  • Coloured Clay/ Play dough
  • Paper
  • Colours


  1. Use play dough to create your own landforms.
  2. Use a blue coloured clay to form a flattened feature to denote the ocean. Use a small green patch on it to create an island.
  3. Use small paper cut outs to place elements like trees and shells on your creations.
  4. Next, try making various shapes of a river between landmasses like a peninsula or bay.
  5. Mould some clay in conical shapes to form mountains and hills of various sizes.

With these activities your child will get a first hand knowledge of various landforms and how they are formed. They will be able to recognise and identify them in their surroundings. It will also give them talking points with friends and in class, as they are able to share their knowledge and observations with their peers.

Also Read:

Means of Transport for Children
Layers of Soil for Preschoolers and Kids
Names of Family Members in English for Children



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