What We Need the Most for a Living

What We Need the Most for a Living

What You Already Know

Plants, animals, and people are living things. Living things are alive. Living things can grow and change. When they grow up, living things can have young living things. Many living things can move.

A need is something a living thing must have to live. Most living things need air, food, and water to live. Most living things need space to grow. Many living things need shelter.

Nonliving things were never alive. They do not grow on their own. They do not change. They do not have needs.

Some nonliving things come from nature. Water is a nonliving thing from nature. Some nonliving things are made by people. People make toys. Some toys look and move like living things. But these toys are nonliving.

All living things have needs. Now we will take a closer look at some of the most important things that living things need.

What Plants Need

Plants need sunlight to live. Some plants need a lot of light. Other plants need just a little light.

Plants that grow outside may get a lot of light. Lots of plants live inside. They need light too. These plants should be near windows.

Plants need water to live. Did you know that the water must be clean? Water could have things in it that can make plants sick. When a plant’s leaves are brown, the plant might be sick. You could water plants with rain that you catch in a cup!

Plants need nutrients. Nutrients help plants grow and make food. Nutrients are found in soil. Plants use their roots to take in nutrients.

Roots grow into the ground. Can you see the roots of this plant?

Plants need space to grow. Their roots need to spread out. This helps them get enough nutrients.

The bigger the plant is, the more room it needs. The roots of this big tree grow deep into the dirt. They also reach out far from the tree. When you sit under a tree, its roots are under you!

What Animals Need

Many living things need clean water. Animals need lots of water to live and grow. Animals can get sick if they drink dirty water. It is important to make sure drinking water is safe and clean.

Animals need food. Food gives animals energy and nutrients so they can live. Animals eat different things. Some animals, like caterpillars, eat only leaves and plants. Other animals eat only meat. A lion eats meat. So does a tiger.


Many animals need air to live. Air is all around. Many animals use their noses and mouths to take in air. Then air goes to their lungs. Lungs help the body use air. Animals need clean air, just like they need clean water. Clean air helps animals stay healthy.

Animals need shelter. A shelter is a safe place to live. Different animals have different shelters. Many birds build nests for shelter. Bees and wasps live in hives. Animals may live in trees or dens. Some animals dig into the ground for shelter.

What We Need

People are living things. We need food and water to live. We get nutrients and energy from food.

Different foods have different nutrients. Eating many kinds of foods is good for you.

People also need air to live. We take in air all the time. We even take in air when we sleep. People need shelter too. Shelters keep people warm and dry. No matter where we live, people need shelter. We need safe places wherever we live.

What Living Things Need

Some Things Plants Need

  • sunlight
  • water
  • nutrients from soil
  • space

Some Things Animals Need

  • water
  • food
  • air
  • shelter

Some Things We Need

  • food
  • water
  • air
  • shelter


Dirty = not clean

Healthy = being well

Lungs = the body part that helps some living things breathe

Nutrients = anything needed for energy and for growth

Soil = the top part of the ground

Space = an area; room

What did you learn?

  1. What do plants need to live?
  2. How do people get nutrients?
  3. Different animals need different shelters. Write to explain what kinds of shelters they use. Use the words from the book as you write.
  4. Alike and Different: How are the needs of plants and animals alike? How are these needs different?

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