Recycling with kids is incredibly important to do, and a good concept to promote as parents and educators. Kids will see that recycling goes beyond simply having a second garbage bin. By repurposing items before throwing them away, kids will learn that making new items from recycled ones takes less energy and fewer resources than making products from brand new materials.
Here are 20 activities that demonstrate the importance of recycling while making it doable and functional for kids:
1. Build a robot.
Don’t throw away the cardboard boxes and yogurt containers! Build a robot with these materials.
2. Make seed paper.
Do this instead of tossing shredded paper in the bin.
3. Play a game.
Play games to help kids practice which items can be recycled, and which are waste.
4. Make a bird feeder.
This is one of those activities that demonstrates how much cheaper it is to use recycled materials than to buy something brand new.
5. Paint the symbol.
Practice recognizing this symbol through art. This way, kids can easily identify recycling bins out in public.
6. Make recycling bins for the home.
Making small bins that can be kept indoors allows kids the chance to easily sort the garbage.
7. Try an online game.
There are a few online games where kids can practice recycling in a fun way, like this one.
8. Pack a waste-free lunch.
Use a recycled container in lieu of items in bags. More ideas for a waste-free lunch here.
9. Read the facts.
Recycling 1 ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,000 kilowatts of electricity. The energy that you save can power 1 home for 5 months.
10. Watch a video.
A short, kid-friendly video can really drive the point home.
11. Go on a recycling scavenger hunt.
Head out to a local park and see how much you can collect from the environment that can be recycled! Got competitive kids? Make it a race.
13. Make a DIY toy.
Before recycling items, try to repurpose them. A milk jug or a yogurt container can make for really fun ball poppers for kids.
14. Turn newspaper into building rods.
Check out these amazing play structures and tents made from newspaper!
15. Homemade puzzles.
Instead of throwing away greeting cards, cut them up and make a homemade puzzle. Cereal boxes are great for this, as well.
16. Donate toys and clothes.
Instead of throwing away toys your kids are done playing with, help them choose some to be donated and reused by other children.
17. Take a field trip!
Head out to a local recycling center and watch a bit of the process happen.
18. Spearhead a recycling club.
Help your child start a local initiative in their neighborhood or school.
19. Homemade wind chimes.
String and paint old tin cans to make a nice piece of outdoor musical decor.
There are many other ways to teach kids about recycling and how they can make an impact, but these ones mentioned above certainly make a great start. Kids should feel empowered to contribute to the health of the environment, and can help influence those around them to recycle too!
What are some other fun ways to teach kids about recycling? What other ways can you get kids involved in recycling? What other ways can you teach kids about sustainable living?
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