Difference between living things and non-living things

Through this article primary children can learn the differences between living thing and non-living thing. Adults can easily identify the difference between the living things and non-living things, but kids who are yet exploring the world around them cannot easily distinguish things around them.

In Science, every child learns the differences between living and non-living things. They see several things around them, but can they quickly identify the living and non-living things? Adults can identify the living and non-living things instinctively. But the children cannot easily identify living or non-living things as their sensory system is still developing. They should consider some points to differentiate living and non-living things. Following are the characteristics of living -things:

Characteristics of living things

The primary children usually study the following differences between living and non-living things.

  1. Living things need food to grow We eat fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, meat etc to grow healthy and strong. Animals also eat grass, plants or flesh of other animals. When we water the plants, it is food for them. Living things require food to grow

  2. Living things grow: A small plant grows into a big plant or a tree. An infant becomes a toddler after some years and then becomes an adult after some years. A butterfly is just an egg initially. Then it grows into a caterpillar and becomes a pupa later on. Then it grows into an adult butterfly

  3. Living things reproduce the same kind: A woman gives birth to a baby girl or a boy. A cat gives birth to a kitten and a dog gives birth to a puppy. Birds lay eggs and hatch them to extract their younger ones from the eggs

  4. Living things show movements: Living things move from one place to another. We can easily walk from one place to another with our legs and hands to perform tasks. Animals can walk or run with their four legs. A bird can fly in the sky with the wings

  5. Living things breathe: The living things breathe oxygen to survive. Living things cannot survive without oxygen. We breathe through our nose. The birds breathe through air tubes and chambers. The fishes breathe through their gills

Characteristics about non-living things

Non-living things are the objects or things that do not breathe, eat food, grow, reproduce and show movements. So the table that is placed in the living room of your house is a non-living thing because it does not move, breathe, eat food, grow or show movements. The non-living things can move only if we apply force to it. But plants, do not move and hence why are they known as living things? Plants grow, need food, breathe carbon-dioxide released by human beings, reproduce sexually or asexually. A young child may develop a curiosity that a car can move from one place to another, requires fuel as food, but why is it known as a non-living thing? It cannot grow like the other creatures. It is moving because a human being is applying force to move it.

The main characteristic of a living thing is that it grows. So you should show two types of objects to your child namely a living object and a non-living object. You can show your child a plant and a ball. That way you can show how a small plant is growing every day. Also you can show a ball to your child and show that it is not growing day by day even though the plant is growing.


Author: Dr. Sanchita Ranjan23 Nov 2020 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

A nice article was written by the author to make understand children regarding the difference between living and non-living.
Most of the children having the curiosity to know about this difference. They can't differentiate between living and non-living as their mind is growing. There are many difference between living and non-living but the main difference is as living can reproduce but non-living can't.
Apart from that, living things can grow, move and breath but non-living can't do like living.

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: