Learn About Cells and Organelles for Kids
Your body is made up of cells. Cells are kind of like Lego blocks. Lego blocks can have different shapes and sizes. These different blocks can be put together to make different things: houses, cars or airplanes. Your body has lots of different cells that are put together to make different parts of your body. Cells are often called the building blocks of life. The various parts of the cell are called organelles.
These cells make up different parts of your body, such as your muscles, heart, skin and brain. Cells can’t do much on their own. But together they can make complex things like human beings.
Lysosomes are organelles that like to break things. But this is a good thing for the cell. Lysosomes break down materials that the cell can use. Or they break down things that the cell wants to get rid of.
They are also a little like soldiers. They protect the cell. They attack bacteria that try to get inside.
Mitochondria are often called the powerhouses of the cell. Power stations make energy, called electricity, to heat and light your home. The Mitochondria are organelles that make energy for the cell. The process of making energy for a cell is called cellular respiration.
Some cells have thousands of mitochondria. Muscle cells need a lot of energy, so they have a lot of these little powerhouses. If a cell can’t make enough energy, more mitochondria can be made.
A cell is surrounded by a membrane. The membrane protects and keeps everything inside the cell. The cell membrane is also called a plasma membrane.
The membrane is kind of like a water balloon with holes in it. But these holes can let things in and out.
Think of the membrane as a guard at a gate. The guard decides who can enter or leave. This is what the membrane does. It is semipermeable.
Semipermeable means it allows some things to go through the membrane but blocks others.
Parts of a Cell Rap
Your brain controls everything your body does. The nucleus of each cell controls everything that takes place in the cell. So, you can think of the nucleus as the brain of a cell.
Have you ever followed instructions to figure out how to build something? Did you know that there are instructions in your body that show how to build you?
The nucleus of a cell contains something called DNA. DNA is like a set of instructions to build a plant or animal. Many cells in your body have the complete set of instructions that are needed to build you.
Other Cell Parts
Ribosomes: these organelles are like little factories. They make something called proteins that the cell needs.
Vacuoles: are like storage units. They can store things like food, water and waste products.
Cytoplasm: a fluid that fills the cell.
Chloroplasts: make food in plant cells. There is chlorophyll inside the chloroplasts. Chlorophyll makes plants green.
Golgi bodies: these organelles are like little delivery trucks. They move things around a cell.
Endoplasmic Reticulum: this is like a bunch of tubes that make and move material the cell needs.