Lightning Facts for Kids – 5 Shocking Facts about Lightning

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Do you know how lightning happen or why it happens? Here are five shocking lightning facts for kids.

Lightning Facts for Kids Fact Number 1: Lightning is Hotter than The Sun

Lightning itself doesn’t have a temperature but it can heat the air around it to 25000 degrees Celsius. That is nearly five times hotter than the surface of the sun!

Lightning can even happen when it isn’t raining and its extreme heat can cause forest fires if the rain isn’t there to dampen the trees.

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Lightning photography

Lightning Facts for Kids Fact Number 2: There are More than Seven Different Types of Lightning

Lightning comes in many forms and some are more common than others. There are many different terms to describe the shape of the lightning strike and the way it moves. Here are a few examples:

Forked Lighting – This is the most common type of lightning to draw, it looks like a zig zag through the sky.

Sheet Lightning – which is the kind of lightning that lights up the cloud like a lamp instead of causing a streak in the sky.

Ribbon Lighting – It looks like a ribbon because multiple strikes happen at the same time and are blown around by the wind.

Ball Lightning – This is a super rare form of lightning that looks like a ball of light, it is so rare that scientists still don’t know how it works.

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Sheet lightning

Lightning Facts for Kids Fact Number 3: Lightning Goes up as Well as Down

When we see lightning it looks like it is travelling from the clouds down to the ground very quickly. A lot of lightning does do this but other types of lightning goes up towards the clouds instead of down towards the ground.

This happens as the electricity charge from the clouds is attracted to the positive electricity charge of the ground. The opposites attract and create lightning from the ground up to the clouds. It all happens so quickly that the naked eye can’t see it.

Lightning Facts for Kids Fact Number 4: When Lighting Strikes Sand it Creates Glass

If you are at the beach the day after a thunderstorm you might find a piece of fulgurite, which is called fossilised lightning or sea glass. It is a strange looking type of glass that is almost shaped like an explosion of sand or a lightning strike. They are formed when the lightning hits wet sand and causes it to melt because of the heat.

Lightning Facts for Kids
A group of coloured glass containers

Lightning Facts for Kids Fact Number 5: Lightning is Only 1-2 Inches Wide.

Even though it may look bigger, especially ribbon lightning. Lightning strikes are only around 1 to 2 inches wide. That’s about the same width as one or two paper clips or the width of the top of a tin of juice.

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Photo of lightning strike

We hope you enjoyed learning more things about rivers as much as we loved teaching you about them. Now that you know how majestic these rivers are, you can move on to learn about other climate and weather stuff like: Thunder, Thunderstorms, Thunder and Lightning, Rainbows, Lightning, Floods, Earth’s Atmosphere, Hurricanes, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Blizzard, Wind and Tsunamis.

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