11 Most Interesting Iowa Facts for Kids [UPDATED Facts]

interesting facts about iowa for kids

Have you ever been on an archeological excavation? Sounds fun? Imagine- You’re on an archeological excavation trip across America and while digging you recover bones of a mammoth that lived during the Ice age. Wondering where you are right now? Voila! You are in Iowa.

Iowa, the 29th state to join the United States of America has a lot of surprising facts in store for your kid. Come; join the trip around the Hawkeye State with your little one. Here are the 11 most interesting Iowa facts for kids that can keep them enthralled.

11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Iowa for Kids

Home to yellow cones and fiberglass strawberries, blessed with nature’s abundance and pacing up with technological innovations, Iowa is no less than a fairytale land. What are you waiting for? Pack your backpacks as we are about to start our trip to explore this wonderful state.

1. Iowa is nicknamed as the Hawkeye State

Iowa is named Hawkeye as the tribute to a real life tribal leader of the American Sauk tribe, chief Black Hawk who fought against the settlers. It is also said to be inspired by Hawkeye, the hero of the novel Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper.

The Iowans and the athletes of University of Iowa refer to themselves as Hawkeyes with Herky the hawk as their mascot.

2. Iowa or the sleepy ones

A story regarding the origin of the name Iowa suggests that the state was named after the people of Ioway who are said to be the original inhabitants of the place. And Iowa means “the sleepy ones” which was the name given by other tribes for fun.

With farmlands covering the majority of the land, people of Iowa are definitely not sleepy heads but hardworking souls.

3. Here a bone, There a bone!

In Iowa, you might find bones of Woolly mammoth bones almost everywhere. It is pretty sure that these prehistoric pachyderms lived in this area long ago. The Hawkeyes will not be surprised if they find a mammoth bone in their fields once in a while.

It is also said that people usually stumble upon these mammoth bones especially in Mahaska County.

Woolly mammoth iowa state facts for kid

4. Iowa is the Corn state

Iowa can be called the breadbasket of the US. Being the top producer of corn, Iowa produced more than 3 million bushels of corn alone in 2019, harvesting about 13.1 million acres of land.

90 percent of the land is turned to agricultural fields and Iowa is called “the land where the tall corn grows”.

5. There are more Hogs than Humans in Iowa

Being the number 1 pork producing state of the country Iowa is home to pigs more than humans. For every 1 human, there are nearly 8 pigs and the total number of hog population is estimated to be around 24.6 million. That’s huge!

With more than 5,400 pig farms and one among the largest exporters of pork as 30 percent of the total pig population in America is in Iowa.

6. Iowa, the city of Literature

Iowa is the only city in the United States of America that is designated as UNESCO’s City of Literature. Iowa was chosen for this title on November 20, 2008, and has been teaching creative writing to the world for about 80 years through its influential literary institutions.

One of the major reasons why Iowa is a haven for creative writing is that 99 percent of Iowa’s population is literate with the largest literacy rate in the entire country.

7. Birthplace of sliced bread

Don’t you think breakfasts are better with sliced bread? If so, thank Iowa because pre-cut loaves of bread first originated from Iowa. Otto Frederick Rohwedder, an Iowan, in 1912 invented the bread slicing machine which was first received with skepticism.

Though his invention got destroyed in a fire, he reconstructed the machine and today, sliced bread is an inevitable kitchen staple.

8. Iowa has the sacred Effigy Mounds

Built during the Late Woodland period, an Effigy Mound is a prehistoric burial mound. It contains raised piles of the earth which are shaped like animals including bears, birds, panthers, deer, and bison.

The Effigy Mounds are considered sacred by Native Americans and the archeologists believe that they were built to mark celestial events.

9. Iowa, the only state bordered by rivers

Iowa is the only American state bordered by two parallel running rivers. The Missouri River and its tributary, the Big Sioux marks the Western border. The Mississippi River borders Iowa in the east.

The confluence of the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers marks the lowest point in the state which is 480 feet above the sea level.

10. Iowa has a miniature island

Sabula is Iowa’s only island city. Sabula was once physically connected to Iowa. But the damming project of 1939 submerged the lowland areas leading to the creation of the island. The island is one mile long and a quarter-mile wide with a population of about 576 according to the 2010 census.

With several public parks, pizza places and a historic caboose, this island city of Iowa is perfect for a weekend getaway.

11. Birthplace of first electronic digital computer

Iowa holds the right over the world’s first digital computer. John Atanasoff, a professor at Iowa State University and his student Clifford Berry created the world’s first electronic digital computer and named it the Atanasoff–Berry Computer (ABC).

The computer weighed over seven hundred pounds and had the capacity to solve 29 simultaneous linear equations. Modern computing devices still use some of the design concepts put forward by ABC.

Some Quick Facts about Iowa

Abbreviation: IA
Nickname: The Hawkeye State
Joined the USA:  December 28, 1846 (29th State)
Population (2020): 3,190,369
Located: Midwestern United States
Capital: Des Moines
Biggest City: Des Moines
State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch
State Flower: Wild Rose

Recommended Reads: 11 Surprising Statue of Liberty Facts for Kids

Iowa Facts for Kids Video

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does Iowa mean?

Iowa in Native American origin means “beautiful land”.

Who Discovered Iowa?

In 1673, two French explorers Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette while traveling down the Mississippi River discovered Iowa.

What is Iowa State known for?

Iowa State is known for agricultural products like corn and pork. It is UNESCO’s third City of Literature as well.

What produce is Iowa known for?

Iowa, being the largest producer of Corn in the world is also known as the corn state.

When did Des Moines became the capital of Iowa?

The capital of Iowa was moved to Des Moines in 1857.

How did Des Moines get its name?

The capital city is named after the river Des Moines deriving from French which means “of the monks”. This is probably a reference to the missionaries who visited the land.

How did Iowa get its nickname?

Iowa is nicknamed as the Hawkeye State as the tribute to the tribal chief Black eye.

Are there tornadoes in Iowa?

Yes, Iowa has an average of 40 tornadoes per year. In 2020, the state witnessed 31 tornadoes.

What fruit is Iowa known for?

Iowa is known for its Red Delicious apples.

Does Iowa have 4 seasons?

The climate in Iowa has all four seasons- summer, winter, spring, and fall.

What is Iowa motto?

“Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain” is the state motto of Iowa.

Does Iowa have mountains?

Iowa has 28 named mountains and Hawkeye point is the highest among all. Some of the prominent mountains in Iowa are Pilot Knob and Ocheyedan Mound.

What is the lowest & highest point of Iowa?

The highest point in Iowa is the Hawkeye Point which is 1,671 ft and the lowest elevation is the Confluence of Mississippi River and Des Moines River which is 480 ft.

Amused by the beauty and glory of this state? By now you might have totally agreed with whoever called Iowa, “the beautiful land”. Share these 11 most interesting Iowa facts for kids with your munchkins and let them know about the mighty Hawkeye State.

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