Recycling for Kids: Fun Ways to Teach Your Child to Recycle

Dec 10 , 2020

Doan Khanh

Recycling for Kids: Fun Ways to Teach Your Child to Recycle

Teaching our kids how to take care of the earth is a huge responsibility. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or daunting! Recycling is not only just one part of becoming an environmentally friendly family but it’s also a great way to develop good habits for your child. Remember that even the smallest change can make huge impacts over time.

We know that teaching kids about recycling can be quite difficult because the concept is often fairly abstract for them. Luckily, people start to care about the environment more than ever before, which makes recycling fun and easier even for young children. And, there are numerous games and activities related to recycling, designed to help parents teach their kids about the environment. These activities not only make recycling more interesting but also help to reinforce your kid’s understanding of ecological values. So, here are some of the most fun and educational activities about recycling for kids.

Draw the Difference

recycling for kids

It is ideal for young children to learn how to identify every type of rubbish bins through drawing. Also, with all the funny shapes and sizes of bins nowadays, drawing them can be more interesting than ever. Make sure you help your kid label the bins, so they can learn the purpose of each type easier.

Turn Trash into Toys

With a child's imagination, even a useless object can turn into a toy! You just need to guide and help them turn their imagination into reality. And, this activity also lets your kid learn about the foundation of recycling. Moreover, they will understand more about properties and possible applications of materials. For example, common items like cardboard boxes, tin cans, or plastic bottles can be transformed into new objects easily with just a few adjustments. So, instead of buying new toys or materials to make crafts, reuse what you already have at home with your kid! 

Here are some ideas:

  • Cardboard boxes can turn into decorative storage containers, a doll’s house, or a toy boat.
  • With tin cans, you can make pen holders with some paint and stickers. Or, it can be used to make a yardstick catapult for kids to have fun in the backyard.
  • An empty milk jug can turn it into a bird feeder, a toy animal, or even a mask.

Give a Price for Recyclable Objects

Giving rewards when your kid doesn't throw away all of the recyclable objects is a great way to encourage recycling. For example, you can give your kid more screens time or money for collecting a certain number of batteries or bottle caps. This technique is so effective because they can’t say no to rewarding, especially among older children.

Video Games about Recycling

There is no doubt that most kids just love playing video games more than anything! So, you can take advantage of this and start introducing educational games when they are still young. There are many games for PCs and mobile devices that promote environmental sensitivity that is suitable for small kids. Also, sites like even have some interactive games and videos your kid might enjoy. These video games will teach them about recycling and taking care of the earth simultaneously.

Cartoons or Stories for children about Recycling

On YouTube, you can find tons of children's animated series, such as Everything's Rosie that make kids aware of the importance of recycling. If you don’t want your kid to spend too much time on screens, then there are many children's books that are not only entertaining but also fosters recycling among the youngest. We would recommend the Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel, Look after your planet by Lauren Child or Why Should I Recycle by Jen Green.

Sort Through the Trash with Your Kids

When your kid is slightly understanding about recycling, then you can start some “field trips”! However, this can get a little messy and stinky, so have everyone put on gloves and masks. Let your kid help you pull out the trash and sort through it item by item. When you’re done, talk about what you discovered and then put everything to the correct bins.

This helps your kid visually see how much waste your family produces daily. And, this might spark some ideas for how you two can cut down on waste! Try asking your kid questions like “Where do you think all of the trash goes when it leaves our house?” or “What items do you think can be recycled? to start a conversation. On top of that, you and your child can have a competition to see who finds the most recyclable items to make this more interesting.

Create a Recycling Center for Your House

Take out the markers, paper, and start decorating your bins for recycling with your kid. You can also let them write out a list of “recycling rules” like rinsing out food containers, taking the lids off of bottles, and breaking down cardboard boxes. Also, you should separate bins into glass, plastic, and aluminum bins. We know that some communities just take all your recycling items together in one container. But, for teaching purposes, you should separate things so your kid can learn about the different types of recyclables.

Recycle Anytime, Anywhere!

When you are finished training them to recycle at home, it’s time to bring it to higher levels. Nowadays, lots of public spaces or schools have recycling bins for bottles, cans, and other recyclable materials. So, it’s important to remind your kid that they also need to practice their recycling habits in other places. Even when you’re having fun outdoors, like at a cinema or an amusement park, you should help your kids be mindful of what they’re doing with their trash. If there isn’t a place for recyclable materials, try to bring your trash to the closest recycling place you know and recycle it there.

Recycling might seem like just another “boring” thing to fit into busy family lives! But, teaching your kid to be eco-friendly can be way more exciting with these games and activities. We’re sure you and your child will have a lot of fun doing it. And, if you have any more recycling games and activities in your hands, share it with us in the comments!