Teaching children about recycling with fun activities

Young children at home or in daycare, pre-school or kindergarten, can develop a love of the environment and commitment to recycling and composting through fun activities.

Many schools are implementing Ontario’s Full Day Kindergarten, a play-based education program.  Within this curriculum are many connections to waste management.  What’s more, these topics can be engaging and fun while supporting a child’s personal and social development.

Whenever it is time to recycle or compost, why not sing a song about the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle)?  There are many great songs to choose from.

There are many crafts you can make using recycling materials.  I love these examples of making penguins from plastic bottles, or animal masks made from recycled paper.  A number of daycares and kindergartens have access to outdoor play space.  One of my favourite craft ideas — perfect for a beautiful spring day — is to make a group totem pole using plastic laundry detergent bottles or large coffee cans.

You can also incorporate recycling and composting materials into various games that help children learn to count, spell, and identify colours and shapes.  For example “count the metal cans in the Blue Box,” or “put food items that start with A in the GreenCart,” or “put all the green bottles in the Blue Box.”

Many children have play kitchens, where they pretend to cook meals.  But does the play kitchen have a Blue Box and GreenCart to reinforce recycling and composting?

There are also a number of waste collection trucks from Playmobil or Plan Toys, perfect for children who love to play with trucks and cars.

Reading is a valuable way to teach the values of reduce, reuse and recycle.  Don’t Throw That Away by Lara Bergen is a delightful lift-the-flap book for ages 4 to 6.  This Is Our World by Emily Sollinger also comes with a puzzle, also for ages 4 to 6.

All publicly-funded schools in Halton also participate in the Blue Box recycling and GreenCart composting programs.  Incorporating many playful recycling and composting songs, craft, toys and books at home and at school can strengthen environmental education and responsible environmental behaviours.

What other activities have you used to teach your children about the importance of recycling and composting?

About John Watson

I'm a communicator, educator and project manager with a focus on environmental and public works issues. I am currently the Environmental Manager for the Municipality of Dysart et al in Haliburton County. Previously, I was the Onboarding Director for ReCollect Systems, where I implemented digital communication products for municipalities and non-profits. For eight years, I was the Waste Diversion Educator Coordinator for Halton Region, where I implemented award winning communications and outreach programs.
This entry was posted in Blue Box, Compost, Education, Green Living, GreenCart, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Schools and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Teaching children about recycling with fun activities

  1. Hi! Thanks for your link to The Kid-Friendly Home. We’ve had fun with the Bottled Penguins. Our wordpress site was just our practice site…we have many new posts at http://www.thekidfriendlyhome.com. Enjoy!

  2. This is awsome. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: New Teacher Experience - newkidinclass | newkidinclass

  4. Pingback: Top 10 blogs about recycling and waste | HaltonRecycles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s