41 Mesmerizing Igloo Facts You Should Teach Your Kids About

Shirin Biswas
Oct 05, 2022 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Mar 02, 2022
Edited by Daisha Capers
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Learn some igloo facts with us today!

Igloos are traditional snow houses, which utilize the concept of insulation.

Depending on the needs of people, igloos can be made in several ways. While it may seem that such ideas were developed recently, these houses have been around for centuries!

In all parts of the world, it is a basic principle that communities make use of the resources around them to create a comfortable life.

In the case of the Inuit tribe who had to face extreme Arctic climatic conditions, the only viable resource available was snow. Eventually, they made use of this plentiful resource and came up with the idea of a house that was made of snow.

The architectural genius of the design of igloos is such that it not only traps heat inside it but also allows the inhabitants to feel safe against storms.

The size of these houses is also dependent on the scope of usage. While the smallest igloos can be made in around 30 minutes, the larger ones can take days to finish. Keep reading to know more about igloos!

The Invention Of Igloos

It is rightly said that necessity is the mother of invention, and igloos came into being by the same phenomenon. In Arctic temperatures, where the Inuit live, it is essential that people have a safe shelter where they can live.

While snow houses do not seem like the best way of keeping warm in extremely cold climatic conditions, igloos work on a phenomenon that helps people retain heat inside a house while it is freezing outside.

Whether it be basic igloos or large ones that you may have seen, the primary process of igloo making remains constant in all of them. While the intricacy in designs and architecture may differ, the basic idea remains the same in all cases.

An igloo is a traditional Inuit shelter that was first invented thousands of years ago.

Igloos are made out of snow and ice and can be found in cold climates all over the world.

They are used as temporary shelters by hunters, fishermen, and other people who live in cold environments.

The construction of an igloo is a very precise process. It can take hours or even days to build an igloo correctly.

First, a dome is constructed out of blocks of snow and ice. This forms the basic structure of the igloo.

Next, the interior walls are built, using smaller blocks of snow and ice.

These interior walls help to insulate the igloo from outside temperatures and keep the inside warm.

Then, the igloo's entrance is constructed out of a small block of snow or ice that can be removed easily when needed.

An igloo can be built in as little time as one hour if you know what you are doing!

However, most igloos take at least four hours to construct because there are many steps involved in building them correctly.

The shape of an igloo is important too; it needs to have dome-shaped ceilings with steep sides so snow doesn't pile up on top during storms and collapse the structure beneath its weight!

To build an igloo correctly, you have to be able to carve out blocks of snow and ice with great precision.

Inuit people are known for their igloos which they use as temporary homes during hunting or fishing trips in the Arctic Circle region, where there is no other shelter available from cold temperatures outside.

The igloo has become synonymous with Inuit culture due to its popularity among these indigenous people who live near Canada's northernmost territories, such as the Nunavut Territory located above Manitoba province.

The History Behind Igloos

The idea of using snow blocks to make houses seems quite innovative, and it has been in practice for many years!

Igloos were invented by the Inuit tribe or the Eskimos.

These people were pressed by the necessity of finding a home in extremely harsh conditions that prevail in Alaska, Greenland, and Canada.

Initial igloos were built as temporary shelters to escape the harsh winter of the region.

The invention of these houses dates back centuries ago, and the main principle of igloo making have remained constant even now.

The dome shape of an igloo is inspired by frequent storms that take place in Arctic regions.

In such conditions, any other shape of the house would cause compacted snow to pile on top.

While snow may not sound like the best tool when it comes to the retention of heat, snow igloos provide excellent insulation, which has allowed tribes to sustain themselves in such conditions for many generations.

Igloos can last forever if the temperatures are 32 F (0 C) or below.

The First Igloo Made

The exact timeline as to when the first igloo was made is hard to find since these houses have been in existence for a long time!

While the exact timeline as to when an igloo was first made is unclear, we do know that the culture of using snow blocks to make a house has been in practice for several centuries.

This snow house was invented by the Inuit people or the Eskimos who live in extreme Arctic regions.

In such regions, where temperatures drop very low, people find it difficult to survive without a form of shelter.

Snow blocks that the igloo is made of retain the body heat of its inhabitants, which allows the interior to become very warm in comparison to the outside.

Animal skins are also used to protect the inside of snow igloos from harsh winds, whilst allowing some light to enter.

Traditionally, people would require a snow spade and the help of some able hands to make an igloo.

There essentially are three kinds of igloos; small, medium, and large-sized igloos.

Small igloos are made in about 30 minutes and are used by huntsmen when they are on short trips.

Medium-sized igloos are typically family dwellings that house around five people in a single room.

The largest igloos are used for ceremonies such as weddings.

Igloos often have oil lamps and benches on the inside.

Oil lamps help in providing heat and light, while benches are multifunctional.

Benches can be used for sitting during the daytime and at night they double as a base for beds.

Since the area inside a snow igloo is small, optimum utilization becomes extremely important!

How To Keep Warm In An Igloo

The mechanism of igloos is quite interesting. The basic principle is that snow blocks retain the heat inside, whilst keeping harsh winds from entering the house!

It is easy to stay warm in an igloo, even though the house is made of snow bricks.

Igloo walls protect the inside of a house from extreme weather conditions outside.

At the same time, the hollow ball-like inside of the igloo becomes warm from the body heat of its inhabitants.

A medium-sized igloo can house around five people.

This means that their combined body heat would be able to raise the temperature on the inside of the house.

At the same time, some of the snow blocks towards the inside of the house melt when they get heated.

When no one is inside the house, the melted snow turns into ice.

This makes the house a solid structure made of snow and ice, which makes it possible for people to use it as temporary shelter as well as family dwellings.

People have now been innovating with igloos. In fact, the tallest one yet is 34.4 ft (10.5 m).

The temperature on the inside of an igloo is typically in the range of  19.4-61 F (−7-16 C).

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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Fact-checked by Niyati Parab

Bachelor of Commerce

Niyati Parab picture

Niyati ParabBachelor of Commerce

With a background in digital marketing, Niyati brings her expertise to ensure accuracy and authenticity in every piece of content. She has previously written articles for MuseumFacts, a history web magazine, while also handling its digital marketing. In addition to her marketing skills, Niyati is fluent in six languages and has a Commerce degree from Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has also been recognized for her public speaking abilities, holding the position of Vice President of Education at the Toastmasters Club of Pune, where she won several awards and represented the club in writing and speech contests at the area level.

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