Eli5: What are leaves made of?


My 3 year old just asked me “what are leaves made of” and I don’t know how to answer that. What do?

In: Biology

They are made out of cells like our bodies are. The difference is that their cells contain cellulose which gives them rigidity and strength, and chlorophyll which is how they make sunshine into food (and why they are green). Water also makes up a fair bit of all cells, ours or plants. This is why people and plants need water.

I know this sounds simplistic but I’m trying to think in terms of 3-5 year olds. If you want to, search out microscopic pics of plant cells online, they are often quite pretty and kiddo might find it cool.

This is a tough one, since it requires explanation of what everything is made of… I’ll do my best…

Every living thing is made up of little structures called cells. Each cell is like a tiny factory responsible for doing different things. Some make food for other factories, some help keep the others safe from danger, etc.

Leaves are made up of a bunch of those little factories, that are responsible for turning sunlight, air, and water into food for the plant, sandwiched between a couple layers of factories that keep the inside factories safe, just like our skin keeps us safe.