What Do Worms Eat? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

You've probably seen worms in the park, in your yard, or in the schoolyard, but you may not have thought much about them. Come learn about worms, what they like to eat, and why they are so important.

What Are Worms?

Imagine you are helping your mom plant flowers. As you dig down into the dirt to move it out of the way, you notice something wriggling in the soil. You pick it up and move it to another part of the garden so it doesn't get hit by the shovel. You've just saved a worm!

Worms are long, thin animals that have no bones and live in the ground. They might not seem important, but they have a very important job.


Worms are decomposers, which means they eat and break down dead plant and animal material in the soil. This process puts nutrients that plants need to grow back into the soil.

Worm going back into the ground
Worm going back into the ground

What Do Worms Like to Eat?

Worms can eat a lot of food. In fact, every single day, worms can eat their own body weight in food!

And just like you, worms have favorite foods they like to eat. But the things they like to eat probably aren't what you want to see on your dinner plate. Some of worms' favorites foods are:

  • Dead plants and plant parts, like leaves, that fall to the ground
  • Some living plants
  • Dead animals that are decaying
  • Animal poo
  • Bacteria and fungi
  • Microscopic worms called nematodes and other tiny animals that live in soil

How Do Worms Eat?

When you eat a snack, you chew it with your teeth. Although worms have mouths, they don't have teeth so they eat a little differently than you do.

Once worms have eaten their food by scooping it into their mouth, it travels into their gizzard, which is an organ in their body that grinds it up. Then it travels into their intestines where they get the nutrition they need to live and grow.

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