The Peripheral Nervous System Lesson for Kids

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.

Your peripheral nervous system is like a system of wires that travel around your body. These wires are called nerves. Learn about the nerves and the two parts of the peripheral nervous system: the somatic nervous system and autonomic nervous system.

Peripheral Nervous System

Inside the walls of your house there are a lot of wires. This system of wires allows electricity to flow through your house so you can do things like turn on the lights and plug things in. Your body has its own set of electrical wires called nerves. These nerves travel to every part of your body. They carry important messages. These messages tell your brain what's going on around you and tell your muscles and other body parts what to do. When we put these nerves together, we call them your peripheral nervous system. Peripheral is pronounced puh-rif-er-al.

Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems
Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems

Types of Nerves

Your peripheral nervous system works with your central nervous system, which is made up of your brain and spinal cord. In a way, the nerves of your peripheral nervous system are like mail carriers because their job is to carry messages between your brain and your body.

There are two types of mail carriers, or nerves, at work. Some peripheral nerves carry messages from your sensory organs (i.e. your skin, eyes, ears, tongue and nose) back toward your central nervous system. These are called sensory nerves. Other peripheral nerves carry orders from your brain to your muscles and organs. These are called motor nerves.

Nerve Cell
Nerve Cell

Parts of The Peripheral Nervous System

Your peripheral nervous system is made up of two parts: the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.

The word somatic is a fancy word for body. It's pronounced so-mat-ik. Your somatic nervous system sends messages to your muscles so you can voluntarily move parts of your body. If something is voluntary, then you choose to do it. So, voluntary movements are things like typing, smiling and shooting a basket.

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