Learn about digestion with a detailed digestive system diagram for kids and facts about the digestive system.

What is the digestive system?

The digestive system is a group of organs in our body that work together to break down large indigestible food that we eat into smaller digestible nutrients that our body can absorb.

The food that is broken down into nutrients provide energy that our body uses for activities such as walking, running, and doing things. It also provides energy for our organs to work and for our cells to repair themselves. Additionally, the energy from food also helps maintain the body's temperature at 37 degrees celsius.

Digestive system diagram for kids (with description)

The Digestive System Anatomical Laminated Chart/Poster
Amazon Price: $19.95 $15.06 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 13, 2016)
This laminated chart of the digestive system contains detailed information on each part as well as descriptions of their functions. This is an informative chart to have in the classroom or at home for kids to learn about digestion beyond just the basics. Measures 20 x 26 inches.

Simple printable digestive system diagram for kids

Below is a colorful digestive system diagram for kids labeled with various parts of the digestive system. Click on the picture for a larger diagram.

Simplified Digestive System Diagram for KidsCredit: By Mariana Ruiz Villarreal(LadyofHats) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Where does digestion take place?

Digestion begins when you put food into your mouth

  • The teeth chew and tear food into smaller pieces
  • The salivary glands in the mouth produce saliva which helps break down carbohydrates into simple sugars
  • The tongue pushes food around in your mouth and rolls it into a ball-shaped mass called the bolus
  • The bolus is swallowed and travels down the esophagus (also known as the oesophagus or gullet).
  • The gullet or esophagus is a long tube that connects the mouth and the stomach
  • In the esophagus, the bolus is pushed down into the stomach by muscular contractions and relaxations called peristalsis 

Digestion in the stomach

  • The stomach is a large muscular bag that produces digestive juices
  • In the stomach, the digestive juices mix with the food particles and breaks them down further
  • Hydrochloric acid in the stomach kills bacteria that may be harmful to the body and also helps dissolves the food
    • Vomit is usually sour due to the hydrochloric acid in the stomach
  • The food that is partially digested and mixed with the digestive juices is called chyme
  • The chyme remains in the stomach for some time before it moves to the small intestine
Laminated Understanding the Stomach Educational Chart Poster Laminated Poster 22 x 28in
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(price as of Nov 13, 2016)
This laminated 22 x 28 inch poster of the stomach describes the stomach as part of the digestive system and its function in it. Various parts and layers of muscles of the stomach are described in detail. A little more advanced for the grade school or primary school kid, but useful for those who are interested in more advanced digestion topics.

Digestion is complete in the small intestine

  • The small intestine is divided into three parts - the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum
  • In the small intestine, more digestive juice is produced to break down food particles
  • Most of the digestion takes place in the small intestine
  • In the small intestine, digestion is complete. This means that no more digestion occurs after the small intestine.
  • Digested food gets absorbed by the body through the walls of the intestine
  • Any undigested food passes on to the large intestine

Removing undigested food from the body

  • Some water and mineral salts are absorbed from the undigested food in the large intestine
  • The undigested food is then passed on to the rectum
  • The rectum stores and accumulates solid waste before it is passed out of the body
  • The solid waste eventually passes out from the anus as faeces

Video of the digestive system for kids

Young Scientist Series - Set 6: Flight (Kit 16) - Heart and Lungs (Kit 17) - Digestive System (Kit 18)
Amazon Price: $26.99 $15.01 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 13, 2016)
Making learning about digestion a hands-on experience with this science kit that also comes with projects for two other topics - flight and the heart and lungs.

Other digestion system facts for kids

  • When we swallow food, a flap of tissue called the epiglottis prevents food from going down our wind pipe
  • Besides the muscular contractions in the esophagus, gravity also plays a part in helping food move down the esophagus and into the stomach
  • The human small intestine is the longest organ in our body, reaching up to 9.8 metres or 32 feet. The large intestine, in comparison, is only about 1.5 metres or 4.9 feet long
  • Finger-like projections known as villi line the walls of the small intestine and increase their surface area. This allows the digested food to be absorbed faster
  • Digestive juices contain substances known as enzymes. Different enzymes break down different types of food. For example:
    • Amylase breaks down starch in food into simple sugars
    • Protease breaks down proteins into amino acids
    • Lipase breaks down fats into fatty acids and glycerol
  • The liver makes a yellow liquid known as bile that helps digest fats
    • Bile is stored in the gallbladder and released in the small intestine during digestion
    • Besides making bile to help with digestion, the liver also helps remove toxins from the blood
  • The pancreas produces digestive juices that is released into the small intestine to help digest food
  • The appendix is an organ that is located between the small intestine and large intestine. However, it does not help with digestion in people. In some animals, the appendix contains bacteria that help digest cellulose, a hard-to-digest substance that makes up the cell wall of plants.

Make learning about digestion in an interesting way with disgusting digestion facts

Disgusting Digestion (Horrible Science)
Amazon Price: $6.38 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 13, 2016)
Learn digestion in a fun and memorable way with funny comics, disgusting facts and hilarious stories that will keep you entertained and teach you all about digestion at the same time. This fascinating book will not only get kids interested in digestion but is also a fun read for adults.