Fun Facts About Wetlands for Kids

These fun facts about wetlands can help kids to learn about some of the world's most unique ecosystems!

Updated January 30, 2024
Wetland bird habitat

Wetlands are exactly as they sound: lands covered by shallow water. What many people don't realize is that these unique expanses have a very important impact on our earth and how it functions. Fun facts about wetlands for kids, printable activities, and books can all be great tools for helping your kids learn about these beautiful biomes.

4 Main Classifications of Wetlands

Every wetland is distinct because of its location and foundation. There are four main types of wetland ecosystems for kids to learn about: marshes, swamps, bogs, and fens.

Marsh

Black necked stork

Marshes are not always full of water and they can contain fresh water, salt water, or a combination of both. A tidal marsh forms near a body of water like a river, bay, or stream and its water level rises or lowers with the tide. Conversely, an inland marsh forms near a lake or river when the water table is high.

Common marsh plants include:

  • Papyrus
  • Water lilies
  • Sawgrass
  • Cypress
  • Water chestnut

Critters you find in a marsh include:

  • Ducks
  • Fish like Shad and Herring
  • Shrimp
  • Crabs
  • Herons
  • Butterflies
  • Frogs

Swamp

Swamp near New Orleans

Swamps form in floodplains or other areas with bad drainage and always have wet soil or standing water. The main difference between a marsh and a swamp are the type of plants growing in them. Swamps have trees while marshes don't.

Common swamp plants are:

  • Cattails
  • Reeds
  • Cypress trees
  • Gum trees
  • Mangroves

Animals you might see in a swamp are:

  • Alligators
  • Cranes
  • Deer
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes
  • Woodpeckers

Bog

Meandering stream in peat bog

Bogs only contain fresh water because they are fed by rain and exist in northern climates inside lake basins with poor drainage. The ground in a bog feels like a squishy sponge and is covered by peat, which is decaying plant matter.

Plants you might find in a bog include:

  • Fungi
  • Heather
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Sundews
  • Pitcher plants

Common bog critters are:

  • Hairy canary flies
  • Salamanders
  • Cranes
  • Raccoons

Fen

Natural fen and birch

Fens also contain only fresh water because they are fed by groundwater. These types of wetlands are the rarest and contain more plant and animal species than any other wetlands.

Common fen plants include:

  • Tamarack trees
  • Poison sumac
  • Wildflowers

Creatures you might find living in a fen are:

  • Butterflies
  • Deer
  • Turkey
  • Turtles

Unique Wetlands Around the World

Wetlands are diverse, beautiful ecosystems that occur in areas around the world. Check out some of these famous wetlands:

  • The Florida Everglades sit on a bed of limestone and help make clean water for different parts of the state. 
  • One of the largest wetlands in the world is the Pantanal spanning 150,000 square kilometers in Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay in South America.
  • Australia is home to the Kakadu Wetlands, which house wild horses, buffalo, and alligators together.

Facts About Wetlands and Their Environmental Importance

Wetland ecosystems benefit people, plants, and animals in many ways. They are incredibly productive, play home to diverse species, and protect water quality. Some of their greatest services include:

  • Providing a variety of food sources to support the food chain
  • Naturally improving water quality
  • Promoting diversity of life
  • Protecting against flood damage

Wetlands cover around 6% of the Earth, but in the last few decades, the United States alone has lost half its wetlands. About 30% of the threatened or endangered species living in the United States live exclusively in wetland habitats.

Protecting these areas not only helps these animals, but it also provides important resources for people too.

Fun Facts About Wetlands for Kids

Now that you know the main wetland types, here are some fascinating and fun facts about these enchanting ecosystems.

Fast Fact

World Wetlands Day is Friday, February 2nd, 2024. This day is intended to raise awareness about wetlands and their impact on this world. This year's theme is “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing”

Activities on Wetlands for Kids

Test your knowledge and learn more about wetlands with fun activities about wetland habitats, ecosystems, plants, and animals.

Wetland Search and Find

There are lots of things that harm or threaten to harm wetlands and the animals who live there. Can you spot these harmful items hidden in this landscape? Click on the image to download and print the wetland search and find. Color the whole page and circle the harmful items as you discover them. If you have any trouble, this guide has tips and tricks to help with troubleshooting.

Wetland Matching

There are many animals and creatures living in wetlands and they're all part of a food chain. Use this worksheet to test your knowledge on what different animals eat in this habitat. Click on the image to download the worksheet then click on the print icon. Draw a line from the animal on the left to the food it eats on the right.

Books About Wetlands for Kids

There are so many kinds of wetlands and each one is unique. Reading books and watching movies about wetland habitats and animals helps keep the fun and learning going.

  • Younger readers take a journey through everything above and below the water in Here is the Wetland, an illustrated picture book by Madeleine Dunphy.
  • Wetlands Inside Out by James Bow is great option for older kids because it includes maps, activitiess and focus boxes to present factual information about these ecosystems.
  • Cathryn Sill's book About Habitats: Wetlands shows young readers what a wetland is, who lives there, and why they are important.
  • For a more relaxing activity, try the Wetlands Coloring Book. This fun and free activity from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gives kids the chance to color different types of wetland scenes and it features fun facts about wetlands and the animals that live in them throughout this 24 page book.

Related: Amazing Tundra Facts for Kids

Teaching Kids About Wetlands

Kids can use these resources to learn while adults can use them to talk to their kids and teach them about the wetlands. Of course, nothing helps children learn better than actually experiencing the wetlands. If you have this type of biome nearby, consider taking kids to see actual wetlands to help reinforce what they're learning! 

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Fun Facts About Wetlands for Kids