All living things share several major characteristics. I use the acronym "MR. GOSEA" to remember the characteristics of life.
M- Maintain homeostasis- All living things must keep an internal balance. Examples of homeostasis are: they eat when hungry, use insulin to maintain blood sugar levels, breath heavier when they need more oxygen during physical exertion, etc.
R- All living things REPRODUCE.
G- Living things GROW.
O- Living things display levels of ORGANIZATION. These levels (from smallest to largest) are cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and organisms.
S- Living things respond to STIMULI.
E- Living things require ENERGY. They may make the energy (during photosynthesis) or consume it from another organism (and make it via cellular respiration).
A- Living things ADAPT to their environments.
In addition to the characteristics that all living things share, there are also basic things that all living things require. These include food, water, and shelter.