All about Korea Easy Science for Kids - Map of Korea
All about Korea Easy Science for Kids - Map of Korea

Have you ever had a fight with a friend or sibling that you couldn’t solve or win? What did you do? When two countries have this problem, they sometimes call an armistice, which means they agree to stop fighting, but the war may not have really ended. This is what happened to Korea. After World War II, the Soviet Union occupied northern Korea, while the United States occupied southern Korea. In 1950, North Korea – with the help of China and the Soviet Union – invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War. This war lasted for three years and over 3 million people died, including 36,000 American soldiers.

Korea Facts For Kids

  • Divided into North and South Korea.
  • Peninsula in East Asia.
  • Shared language: Korean.
  • Traditional script: Hangul.
  • Famous dish: Kimchi.
  • Korean War: 1950-1953.
  • South’s capital: Seoul.
  • North’s capital: Pyongyang.
  • Known for K-pop music.
  • Hosted Olympics: Seoul (1988), Pyeongchang (2018).

Korean War

The Korean War, lasting from 1950 to 1953, was a pivotal event in Korea’s historical timeline that deeply influenced its population and cultural evolution. This conflict, rooted in ideological differences, pitted North Korea, backed by China and the Soviet Union, against South Korea, which had the support of the United Nations, predominantly the United States.

The war was initiated by North Korea’s invasion of the South, culminating in a stalemate and a ceasefire agreement, rather than a peace treaty, hence the ongoing technical state of war between the two nations.

Despite its brutal nature, the war was instrumental in molding the present-day Korea and led to the creation of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This heavily fortified boundary line between North and South Korea has evolved into a symbol of peace and reconciliation endeavors.

Korean language (Hangul)

Korean, also known as Hangul, is the official language of South Korea. It was intentionally developed during the 15th century by King Sejong the Great and his scholars, a fact that often fascinates kids as it sets it apart from most languages that naturally evolve over time. Hangul’s writing system is unique; it is written from top to bottom in blocks, then proceeds from left to right.

Each block signifies a syllable and contains at least one consonant and one vowel. The scientific design and simplicity of Hangul have earned it worldwide acclaim, especially for its ease of learning for children.

Kimchi and Korean cuisine

Kimchi, a type of fermented vegetable typically involving cabbage or radish along with chili pepper, garlic, ginger, and other ingredients, is a cherished part of Korean cuisine with roots dating back centuries.

This staple food item, consumed with virtually every Korean meal, carries significant health benefits. It boasts a rich content of vitamins A, B, and C, and is teeming with lactobacilli, a healthy bacteria that aids digestion. There are approximately 200 distinct varieties of Kimchi, each displaying its unique taste and texture, a fact that might intrigue children. In Korea, the process of preparing Kimchi is often a family affair, allowing kids to participate and enjoy this cultural food preparation activity.

The significance of Kimchi to Korean culture can be seen in its recognition by UNESCO, which has listed ‘Kimjang’, the traditional method of making and sharing Kimchi, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

K-pop and Korean entertainment

Renowned globally for its dynamic entertainment industry, South Korea is the heart of ‘Hallyu’, also known as the ‘Korean Wave’. This cultural phenomenon is significantly shaped by K-pop, a music genre that has gathered a monumental international following. K-pop, an abbreviation for Korean Pop, captivates audiences with its infectious melodies, coordinated dance routines, and visually impressive music videos.

The performers, termed as idols, undergo intense years of training before making their debut either as a group or a solo act. Among the most celebrated K-pop groups are BTS, Blackpink, and EXO, each boasting fan bases that span worldwide.

Aside from music, the Korean entertainment sphere also encompasses dramas, films, and variety shows, all of which are consumed by millions of people globally. This prosperous industry has notably heightened the worldwide interest in Korean culture, language, and lifestyle.

Confucian traditions

Rooted deeply in Confucian traditions, Korean society significantly emphasizes the importance of education, respect for elders, and strong family values, which even today play a pivotal role in shaping the society.

For instance, the tradition of respecting elders is instilled from a young age and is visible in the way Korean children bow to their parents and grandparents during traditional holidays. Education is another pillar of Korean society, evidenced by the common practice of children studying late into the night to excel academically.

Furthermore, the centrality of the family unit in Korean society is underscored by the continued wide practice of traditions such as ancestor worship.

North Korea and South Korea divide

Despite being situated on the same peninsula, North and South Korea have been distinctly separate entities since 1945 due to divergent political, geographical, and cultural factors. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, otherwise known as North Korea, is governed by the Kim dynasty and operates under a one-party system with a centrally controlled economy. In contrast, South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a democratic state boasting a high-tech, industrialized economy.

Even though they share a common language and history, their political disparities have led to the evolution of completely different societal structures and lifestyles. Therefore, the Korean peninsula serves as an intriguing illustration of the significant role politics play in shaping a country’s trajectory and development.

Taekwondo martial art

Originating from Korea, Taekwondo has grown into a globally recognized martial art that is deeply embedded in Korean culture and revered as the national sport. Epitomizing ‘the way of the foot and fist’, as its name suggests in Korean, Taekwondo is renowned for its emphasis on high kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and rapid, precise kicks.

However, it is not limited to physical prowess; Taekwondo also nurtures discipline, respect, and self-confidence. It’s a significant part of Korean children’s upbringing, with many beginning training at a young age, even as part of their school curriculum, demonstrating its importance to Korean society.

Joseon Dynasty history

The Joseon Dynasty, a crucial segment of Korean history, is particularly important for children to study. Spanning an impressive five centuries from 1392 to 1897, it holds the record as Korea’s longest-ruling single dynasty. The era was marked by the establishment of Confucianism as the state’s ideology, profoundly impacting politics, economics, culture, and social structure.

This period was also a time of significant advancements in Korean arts and sciences, including the construction of Cheomseongdae, the world’s oldest existing astronomical observatory, and the invention of the Cheugugi, the first known rain gauge.

Notably, the Joseon Dynasty saw the creation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet, which remains in universal use in South Korea today. The enduring influence of this dynasty is evident in modern Korean culture, traditions, and societal norms, testifying to its indelible impact on Korean society.

Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a fascinating facet of Korean history that could intrigue children, serves as a geographical divide between North and South Korea. Formed in 1953 under an armistice agreement that concluded the Korean War, the DMZ stretches to 160 miles in length and spans 2.5 miles in width.

Despite the implication of its name, it is among the world’s most heavily fortified borders. Interestingly, due to over 60 years of minimal human interference, this militarized strip has inadvertently evolved into a sanctuary for many endangered species, illustrating an unexpected dichotomy between the political discord of the two nations and flourishing wildlife.

Seoul, the capital of South Korea

The vibrant capital of South Korea, Seoul, is a city that offers a fascinating blend of modernity, culture, and history, making it an interesting place for kids to explore and learn about. As the country’s largest city and one of the most populated globally with over 10 million residents, Seoul is known for its towering skyscrapers, advanced subway systems, and pulsating pop culture.

It’s not only the birthplace of the globally popular K-pop music and Korean dramas but also home to the internationally renowned K-pop group, BTS. Seoul’s rich history is evident in its ancient palaces and traditional markets, while its status as a technological powerhouse is underscored by the presence of leading global tech companies like Samsung and LG.

Despite its bustling urban charm, Seoul also boasts beautiful parks and the Han River, providing ample opportunities for nature enjoyment.

All about Korea Easy Science for Kids - Map of Korea
All about Korea Easy Science for Kids – Map of Korea

Today, Korea is still divided. Northern Korea is a communist state with one of the largest militaries in the world. The people here lack basic resources, such as food, electricity and healthcare. South Korea has become a peaceful and prosperous democracy. People living here still view North Korea as part of their country.

Korea is a peninsula that sits just below China in Asia. Across the sea is Japan. The country has low, rugged hills, swamps and woodlands, but it is very crowded and many natural areas have been destroyed. South Korea is a major exporter of electronics, cars and other supplies.

Kids Science Fun Facts all about Korea - Image of an Electronics Industry in South Korea
Kids Science Fun Facts all about Korea – Image of an Electronics Industry in South Korea

Fun Facts about Korea for Kids

  • North Korea has a population of 22,912,000. 48,294,000 people live in South Korea.
  • North Korea has 46,540 square miles of land. South Korea has 38,321 square miles of land.
  • North Koreans speak Korean, while South Koreans speak Korean and English.
  • North Koreans are typically Buddhist or Confucianists; South Koreans may be Buddhist or Christian.
  • The life expectancy in North Korea is 63; the life expectancy in South Korea is 76.
  • In both countries, 98 percent of adults can read.
Easy Science for Kids on Korea - Photo of a Korean Music Parade
Easy Science for Kids on Korea – Photo of a Korean Music Parade

Korea Vocabulary

  1. Armistice: agreement to stop fighting; the problems may be left unsolved.
  2. Military: arm of the government that provides protection or fights against other countries
  3. Prosperous: having enough resources
  4. Peninsula: an arm of land jutting out from a large body of land

All About Korea Video for Kids

Watch this awesome Korea video for kids:

This is a short documentary video about the civil war on the Korean peninsula from 1950 to 1953.

Korea Q&A

Question: What do people do for jobs in Korea?

Answer: In North Korea, which is a communist country, the government typically chooses jobs for its people. In South Korea, people may work as farmers, fishermen, factory workers, finance workers, doctors, or teachers, among other careers. Women divers, known as Haenyo, dive off the coast of Korea for fish.

Map of Korea

Here’s a map of the country of Korea and all its cities and villages. Zoom in to get into street level or zoom out to see other countries around Korea! You can see the terrain, but also see the roads, images of the buildings and even take a 3D tour through the streets of the cities of Korea, as though you are actually there!