In this fun and easy geology science experiment for kids, we’re going to investigate and understand why rivers are crooked.
  • Tall mound of dirt, mud, or sand
  • Water hose and water supply
  • Flower watering can
  • Camera


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  1. Mound the dirt. Make sure that the mound is not uniform. You can add rocks or other obstacles for the flow of water to work its way around.
  2. Take a picture of the mound and determine where you think a river may form.
  3. Fill the flower watering can with water and sprinkle the water over the top of the mountain.
  4. Repeat this step several times if needed and determine if any rivers begin forming as the water works its way down the mound. Take a picture before each round of adding water to the mound.
  5. Now turn on the water hose with a steady stream of water.
  6. Hold the hose in a way so that the steady stream starts at the top of the hill and works its way down the mound.
  7. Do this for a few minutes and take a picture of the mound.


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun investigating and exploring why rivers are crooked!

Wandering Waters: Fun Facts for Kids about Crooked Rivers and their Bends



Fun Facts about Why Rivers are Crooked and Have Bends:


  1. Rivers are rarely straight because they follow the path of least resistance as they flow downhill.

  2. The force of flowing water erodes the riverbanks, causing curves and bends to form over time.

  3. Erosion is more rapid on the outer bank of a bend, creating a concave bank, while sediment deposition occurs on the inner bank, forming a point bar.

  4. Factors such as the type of rock and soil, presence of obstacles, and slope of the land can influence the formation of river bends.

  5. Meanders are large, sweeping curves in a river's course, and they develop as water erodes the outer bank and deposits sediment on the inner bank.

  6. Oxbow lakes are created when a meander is cut off from the main river channel, forming a U-shaped body of water.

  7. River bends can change over time due to the constant movement of water and the processes of erosion and sedimentation.

  8. Rivers with meandering patterns create diverse habitats, supporting a wide range of plant and animal species.

  9. The meandering nature of rivers contributes to the transportation of sediment and nutrients downstream, enriching surrounding ecosystems.

  10. The winding path of rivers adds beauty to landscapes, creating scenic views and opportunities for recreational activities such as boating and fishing.

Explore the curvy world of rivers and discover the secrets behind their bends!


Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about rivers, landforms, erosion, geology, and more!
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Question 1: Why do rivers have bends and curves? A) Volcanic activity B) Human interference C) Erosion and sediment deposition D) Gravity

Correct answer: C) Erosion and sediment deposition

Question 2: What is the term used for the large, sweeping curves in a river's course? A) Meanders B) Rapids C) Waterfalls D) Estuaries

Correct answer: A) Meanders

Question 3: What is formed when a meander is cut off from the main river channel? A) Waterfall B) Estuary C) Oxbow lake D) Delta

Correct answer: C) Oxbow lake