Photosynthesis: How Plants Make Food and Energy?

All living things need energy to live, and energy comes from food. But, have you ever seen plants munching on pizza or eating a bowl of cereal? Nope. Plants get their energy in a different way. They use photosynthesis. Here’s how it works:

Plants take water from the soil through their veins, which are called xylem. The water goes to the leaves. The leaves take carbon dioxide from the air into the plant. The carbon dioxide mixes with the water. Energy from the sun helps this process along and turns the combination into a sugar called glucose. The glucose is plant food. It gives the plants energy to grow.

Photosynthesis Facts For Kids

  • Photosynthesis turns sunlight into energy for plants.
  • It happens in the chloroplasts of cells.
  • The main ingredients are water and carbon dioxide.
  • Oxygen is released during the process.
  • The green pigment chlorophyll captures sunlight.
  • The energy is stored as glucose (sugar).
  • It’s the foundation of the food chain.
  • Without it, most life on Earth wouldn’t exist.
  • Plants use glucose for growth and energy.
  • Photosynthesis helps reduce carbon dioxide levels.


Chlorophyll is an essential element for photosynthesis and serves a fascinating function that can intrigue children. This green pigment, present in plants and algae, is tasked with harnessing sunlight, the initial phase of photosynthesis.

It consumes light energy and employs it to mix carbon dioxide and water, ultimately creating glucose, a kind of sugar that plants utilize for energy and growth. Hence, whenever kids observe a green plant, they can associate it with the incredible work of chlorophyll, which transforms sunlight into food, thereby assisting the plant’s growth and survival. Without the presence of chlorophyll, photosynthesis would not occur, leading to the inability of our green, leafy companions to flourish.

Carbon dioxide

Photosynthesis is a unique method employed by plants to create their own nourishment, a crucial aspect of this process being the utilization of carbon dioxide, an ubiquitous gas in our atmosphere. This gas is absorbed by plants through minuscule pores in their leaves, known as stomata, which, in combination with sunlight and water, is converted into glucose.

This sugar acts as a source of energy and contributes to the plant’s growth, essentially allowing plants to ‘consume’ carbon dioxide. Beyond its significance for plant life, photosynthesis plays a vital role for all life on Earth, including humans, as it aids in decreasing the volume of carbon dioxide, a notorious greenhouse gas, thereby mitigating its impact on our atmosphere.

Light-dependent reactions

Light-dependent reactions, an intriguing element of photosynthesis, can be easily comprehended by children. These reactions occur within the chloroplasts of plant cells upon exposure to sunlight, where the pigment chlorophyll seizes the sun’s energy. This energy then serves to break down water molecules into oxygen, hydrogen, and electrons, akin to a mini power plant operating within the plant cells.

Not only does this process contribute to the plant’s food production, but it also generates oxygen – an essential element for all earth’s life forms. It’s vital to note that without these sunlight-dependent reactions during photosynthesis, the oxygen we depend on for breathing wouldn’t exist!

Calvin cycle

The Calvin Cycle, named after its discoverer Melvin Calvin, is a critical component in the photosynthesis process, often referred to as the plant’s kitchen due to its role in food production. Serving as the second phase of photosynthesis following the light reactions, the Calvin Cycle operates independently of sunlight, earning it the additional moniker of ‘dark reactions’.

In this stage, plants utilize the energy previously stored from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide from the environment into sugar, which serves as essential nourishment facilitating plant growth. Thus, the Calvin Cycle plays a crucial role in the plant’s development, effectively ‘cooking up’ the plant’s food for growth.


Stomata, minute openings or pores located on the surface of plant leaves and stems, are integral to the photosynthesis process, which enables plants to transform sunlight into energy. Throughout the day, the stomata open to admit carbon dioxide into the plant, a crucial component in photosynthesis that aids in glucose production, the sugar that fuels the plant.

Concurrently, they expel oxygen and water vapor, by-products of photosynthesis. Therefore, stomata are indispensable for photosynthesis, and by extension, for the plant’s ability to create its own sustenance.


Essential to life on Earth, chloroplasts, the small, green structures located in plant cells, serve as the plant’s food producers by playing a pivotal role in photosynthesis. This process, exclusive to green plants, transforms sunlight into sustenance.

The distinctive green hue of chloroplasts is derived from a pigment known as chlorophyll, fundamental to photosynthesis. The process begins when the chlorophyll within the chloroplasts absorbs sunlight that shines on the leaves, transforming it into usable light energy. This energy, combined with water and carbon dioxide, is then converted into glucose, a sugar variant that acts as the plant’s energy source.

An added benefit of photosynthesis is the release of oxygen into the air, an element vital for human respiration. Without the existence of chloroplasts and the photosynthesis process, life as we know it would cease to exist!


Photosynthesis, the captivating process by which plants generate their own nourishment, is a vital occurrence not only for the plant kingdom but also for humans and all animal species. This is due to the fact that while plants are absorbing sunlight and converting it into sustenance through photosynthesis, they simultaneously release a life-sustaining byproduct – oxygen, the very element we humans inhale every moment of our existence.

Therefore, with every breath we take, we should appreciate the green plants that surround us, diligently performing photosynthesis to provide us with the invaluable gift of oxygen. It’s a truly remarkable process, isn’t it?


The integral role sunlight plays in photosynthesis, a process that enables plants to produce their own food, cannot be overstated. This process is impossible without the sun’s light, which is absorbed by chlorophyll, a green substance located in the plant’s leaves.

This absorbed energy is then used to merge water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air, resulting in the creation of glucose. This type of sugar serves as an energy source for plants, thus essentially making them consumers of sunlight.

Photosynthesis, a remarkable natural process, not only facilitates plant growth, but also generates oxygen, an element vital for our respiration. So, as you bask in sunshine, remember the surrounding plants are industriously creating food and sustaining our ability to breathe.


Photosynthesis, an incredible mechanism by which plants produce glucose, a kind of sugar that serves as their food, is essential for their growth and survival. This process involves the absorption of sunlight through the leaves, water from the soil, and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which are then synthesized to generate glucose.

This energy-rich sugar is stored within the plant and is utilized when required, thus facilitating the plant’s growth and flourishing. Additionally, this glucose is a crucial food source for various animals, inclusive of humans. The absence of photosynthesis would disrupt the production of glucose, and without glucose, life as we know it would cease to exist, underlining the paramount importance of this process.


Photolysis, a key element in photosynthesis, is an essential concept for children to grasp. Simply put, photolysis is the sunlight-induced breakdown of water molecules into oxygen, hydrogen ions, and electrons within the chloroplasts of green plants during photosynthesis.

The resultant oxygen is expelled into the atmosphere for us to inhale, while the remaining components aid in the plant’s food production. Therefore, whenever you spot a plant basking in sunlight, keep in mind that it is actively engaging in photolysis, decomposing water molecules, liberating oxygen for our consumption, and generating its own nourishment!

Basic Photosynthesis Process Image - Science for Kids All About Photosynthesis: How Plants Make Food and Energy
All About Photosynthesis: Basic Photosynthesis Process Explained

Fun Facts about Photosynthesis for Kids

  • In the leaves of a plant is a substance called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll makes leaves green. It also traps the energy from the sun so the plant can use it.
  • When plants take carbon dioxide from the air, they release oxygen. Animals use this oxygen to grow. We release carbon dioxide, which the plants use.
  • Plants also need minerals from the soil to grow. Nitrogen helps them grow and make leaves. Phosphorus helps grow strong roots. Potassium helps the plant make fruit and it keeps them healthy.
  • Plants need large amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The soil doesn’t always have enough of these nutrients. Gardeners use fertilizer to give plants more nutrients. Fertilizers are sort of like vitamins for plants. Some fertilizers are made from chemicals. Others are made from natural things like cow manure. That’s right – poop has lots of nutrients for plants.
Green Leaves (Chlorophyll) Image
In the leaves of a plant is a substance called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll makes leaves green. It also traps the energy from the sun so the plant can use it.

Photosynthesis Vocabulary

  1. Photosynthesis: the process of turning water and carbon dioxide into food
  2. Xylem: plant veins
  3. Glucose: sugar
  4. Chlorophyll: a substance in the leaves of plants
  5. Fertilizer: contains plant nutrients

Learn More All About Photosynthesis

Watch and listen to this video all about photosynthesis:

A video song explaining how plants make food, a process called photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis Q&A

Question: Can gardeners help plants grow?

Answer: Gardeners can’t control sunlight, but they can give plants good soil, fertilizer and water. These things help plants grow.