# Vacuole Function Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Alexandra Owens

Alexandra has taught middle school science and has a master's degree in Math and Science Education.

In this lesson, learn all about vacuoles and their function inside of cells. Explore what a vacuole looks like, what it does, and how they look different in plant and animal cells.

## What Is a Vacuole?

When you are asked to clean up your room, where do you put all of your clothes and toys? In a closet? In a dresser? In a toy chest? A cell needs a place to keep things, too! That is the job of a vacuole. A vacuole is a storage area for a cell. It can store food, water or anything else a cell may need to survive.

## What Does a Vacuole Do?

A vacuole looks a lot like a water balloon. There's a thin outer layer, called a membrane, holding everything in. Vacuoles collect ad hold onto all sorts of materials for a cell, including food and water. Sometimes a vacuole holds waste or bad things, as well.

Imagine a vacuum cleaning up a mess--this is a great way to remember what a vacuole does. Think of the letter 'v' for vacuum! A vacuole sucks up materials to hold onto for the cell.

Vacuoles can be large or small. Sometimes they can take up most of the room inside of the cell. The number of vacuoles in a cell can vary, as well. Some cells can have many vacuoles, while others have one large central vacuole.

## Where Can I Find Vacuoles?

Both plant and animal cells have vacuoles, but they look very different. Animal cells have many small vacuoles, and plant cells have a very large vacuoles. This is because the vacuoles in plant cells store a lot of water. This can almost fill up the entire cell, which helps hold the plant cell upright by giving it shape.

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