Nervous System Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Did you know that your nervous system helps you do everything from hitting a home run to answering a test question? In this lesson, you get to learn about the nervous system and how it works.

Nervous System

When you ride down your neighborhood street, you might see wires running alongside the road. These wires, called power lines, are usually held up by wooden poles. They carry electricity from the main energy station to all different parts of your community. Your body has its own way of delivering electrical information called your nervous system. In fact, if you look at a picture of the human nervous system, you might even think it looks like wires running from head to toe.

human nervous system

What Does Your Nervous System Do?

Your nervous system is the way instructions get sent between your brain and your body. These messages get carried over nerves, which are made up of nerve cells. Nerve cells relay messages to each other. This relay is kind of like what happens when your friend whispers a secret in your ear, and then you whisper the same secret in another friend's ear. But, your nerve cells don't use words to share their secrets; instead they use chemicals and electrical signals.

Nerve Cell
nerve cell

Parts of the Nervous System

There are two main parts of your nervous system. They are called the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. Peripheral is pronounced puh-rif-er-al.

The central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord. It's the command center of your body, like the main energy station in your community. Your brain is in charge of just about everything you do. It controls what you think and dream, and how you learn, move and talk. It also controls things that keep you alive, like digestion of the foods you eat, breathing and the beating of your heart.

Your spinal cord is a thick, long bundle of nerves. It's attached to your brain and runs down your back. It has branches of smaller nerves coming off of it. These nerves travel to every part of your body and make up the peripheral nervous system.

Your peripheral nervous system is made up of nerves that carry messages to and from the central nervous system. You can think of them as the power lines we talked about earlier.

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