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19 Activities for Kids to Learn About Recycling

Posted by Katie Chiavarone on November 6th, 2017 under Ideas for Kids

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.


19 Activities for Kids to Learn About Recycling | EnviroKidz


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.


19 Activities for Kids to Learn About Recycling | EnviroKidz


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.


19 Activities for Kids to Learn About Recycling | EnviroKidz


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.


12. Read!  

This book list is full of books you can grab from the library and read with your kids.


19 Activities for Kids to Learn About Recycling | EnviroKidz


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. Homemade wind chimes.

String and paint old tin cans to make a nice piece of outdoor musical decor.


19 Activities for Kids to Learn About Recycling | EnviroKidz


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. 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. 


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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!



Author Bio

Katie is a mom of three and self-proclaimed lover of creative and imaginative play. She has a Master’s degree from New York University in Educational Psychology and a background working in special education. As a work-from-home mom, she balances everyday life with her three young kids and the endless search for her identity outside of motherhood. On her blog, Views From a Step Stool, she writes about kids activities, learning through play and parenting.