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The Air's Oxygen Cycle For Kids

All living things need oxygen to live, including plants. A scientific process called the oxygen cycle is how this important element travels through the world we live in, providing air for us to breathe. Both animals and plants play an important role in this cycle. When it comes to plants, they use sunlight and water to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. Plants make wonderful air filters and help to produce oxygen. They also filter out bad particles and produce cleaner air for all of us to breathe. As for animals and humans, we breathe in oxygen and then breathe it out in the form of carbon dioxide. This process is known as respiration. The cycle of production and consumption of air is also called the oxygen cycle. Without plants, we would have more carbon dioxide in the air, making it a lot harder to breathe. Water also plays a role in the oxygen cycle because as water travels over the ground and plants and rocks, it breaks down organic material, which consumes oxygen. Without plants there to break up the water and convert it to oxygen, the air cycle would not work as well as it does. This movement of oxygen from one living thing to another is essential to life on earth.

Lesson Plans


  • Carbon Cycles! Game: This game shows students how to follow the carbon cycle through fun, interactive games.

  • Oxygen Cycle Game: Click on the picture to find out more about how each living thing plays a role in the cycle.

  • Oxygen Cycle Jeopardy: This fun game has a Jeopardy format to help teach kids about the oxygen cycle.

  • Magic School Bus Photosynthesis News: Ms. Frizzle has a game that teaches about photosynthesis, the process that plants use to take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.

  • The Carbon Cycle Game: You are an atom going through the process of the oxygen/carbon cycle. Begin your journey here with this fun game!

  • Classroom Game: This game, designed for the classroom, teaches students about the carbon cycle.

  • Cellular Respiration as a Ballgame: This is a physical game designed to show students how cellular respiration (part of the oxygen cycle) works.

  • The Carbon Cycle Quiz: Answer these quiz questions to discover how much you've learned about the oxygen/carbon cycle.

  • Online Test: Take this online test and then check your answers to see how much you know about the carbon cycle.

  • Creating Oxygen Experiment: Check out this experiment that shows how oxygen is created with water and plants.


  • Photosynthesis: A music video by They Might Be Giants explains photosynthesis, a process that creates oxygen.

  • The Carbon Cycle for Kids: Aimed towards kids, this video explains the oxygen/carbon cycle.

  • EPA Video: Watch this video from the EPA for kids about the carbon cycle.

  • The Cycle of Oxygen: This video shows how the oxygen cycle works with an animated video.

  • What Exactly Is the Carbon Cycle?: A video tutorial lesson on the oxygen and carbon cycle, and how it relates to humans and the environment.