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The Dust Bowl for Kids and Teachers Illustration

The Dust Bowl

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For Kids

In the 1930s, in the Midwest, across the Great Plains, disaster struck. There were several droughts, one after another. Farms were just recovering when yet another drought hit. Crops died in the fields. Once the crops died, there was nothing to hold the soil in place. Topsoil blew away in huge dust storms. Some of these clouds of dust were 20 feet high. One reached 10,000 feet and blew all the way to New York City. These storms were called black blizzards, and they just kept coming.

In 1933, there were over 35 huge dust storms in one year. Dust got in everything, including food at the table. People were sick. They could not pay their bills because their crops had died. Some people lost their farms to the banks. Other abandoned their homes and moved. It was a massive migration of people. Most headed west. Migrant workers were probably the hardest hit. The Grapes of Wrath, a novel by John Steinbeck, is about the movement of migrant workers, escaping the dust storms and seeking work in California.

The storms lasted for nearly 10 years, and added greatly to the problems of the Great Depression.

Interactive Dust Bowl - What if you had lived in the Dust Bowl?

Dust Bowl Videos (history channel)

The Dust Bowl of Oklahoma

Powerpoints about the Dust Bowl

Return to: The Great Depression for Kids

The Great Depression and the New Deal Interactive Quiz with answers