Learning The Layers of Soil – A Fun Guide For Kids

Your little one might spend a significant portion of their day digging in the sand and dirt. But when they dig deep enough for the soil to change color, they might have some questions for you. 

Be prepared by referencing these soil layers for kids guide. We’ll discuss all six soil layers and offer a tasty dirt-related suggestion that might help your child better understand the material more easily. Let’s get started!

The Six Soil Layers

When you look out at your yard, what do you see? You might see green grass or colorful flowers and plants. You might see brown trees with lots of green leaves. But you might also spy some dirt. 

Dirt goes by many names. It’s sometimes called earth, turf, ground, and soil. However, no matter what you decide to call it, dirt is what covers a great deal of our planet. Even oceans have bottoms made of soil and mud! Still, not all land is exactly alike. Many types of dirt can be found across the planet.

If you were to cut a huge slice out of the earth and look at the soil, it might resemble a layered cake. The deeper you go, the more rocks, water, pebbles, and minerals you’ll find. In total, most soils have six distinct layers. These layers are sometimes called horizons. The final layer, bedrock, is thick. You’d have to dig down more than twenty miles to get past it! 

Organic Humus

This very top part of the soil is called organic matter, or humus. This stuff is very different from hummus, and you wouldn’t want to snack on it unless you were an earthworm. This uppermost layer is the thinnest and softest of all the soil layers. 


Many people think that the topsoil is the first soil layer, but it’s actually the second one. This part of the ground might be a little more rigid than the surface layer, but it’s still relatively soft and pebble-free. 

You can find roots, insects, and underground animals within this layer. Watch out for moles!


The subsoil layer is often sandy and well-draining. It contains small rocks and pebbles. Because there’s a lot of weight on it, this layer tends to be pretty dense. You might need a pickaxe to loosen chunks from the subsoil, while a shovel works well for humus and topsoil. 


The substratum is a rough and rocky place. Filling the space between the miles-deep bedrock and the far shorter subsoil layer, the substratum might have never seen rain, wind, or weather in general. It’s so dense that it’s challenging even to call it soil. It’s more like a vast crumbly slab of rock with tiny holes in it.


Finally, there’s the bedrock layer. This massive, rocky layer is a part of the earth’s crust. It’s so far down beneath the other soil layers that it often contains flowing rainwater, fossils, and precious gems. 

Make a Soil Layer Snack

Learning can be a lot more fun if there’s food involved! Why not go through these layers and their descriptions while building a soil layer snack? Your child is bound to enjoy the yummy taste of this creative treat, and you’ll likely appreciate the undivided attention you receive in return!

To get started, you’ll need to gather ingredients for each layer. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination when choosing your layers. Ask your child what type of food might work best as topsoil or bedrock. You may be surprised at just how helpful and inspired their answers are. 

If necessary, you can use a helpful reference picture to keep you on track. Still, if you’re short on time or you’d like to prepare this snack ahead of your soil layer lesson, you may want to use the following ingredient guide:

  • Organic Humus – Chocolate pudding, fudge icing, and crumbled bits of milk chocolate work well for this layer.
  • Topsoil – A lighter brown milk chocolate icing might do well as the topsoil layer, though caramel sauce is also a great option.
  • Subsoil – To achieve the perfect tan subsoil, use blondie brownie bits.
  • Substratum – A combination of vanilla icing and chocolate malt balls makes for an ideal substratum. Of course, vanilla pudding and chocolate chips also work well here.
  • Bedrock – To give your snack a solid bedrock base, you’ll want graham crackers and lots of them. Don’t be afraid to stack these several layers high, as the bedrock is the thickest soil layer.

Final Thoughts

Geology and geography are fascinating. Introducing your child to these subjects sooner, rather than later, could help them develop a better understanding of the natural world. It may also help your kid find their place within it. 

Besides, this lesson is an opportunity to get a little messy and have some tasty fun! What’s not to love about these soil layers for kids?

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