Teaching Kids Recycling

Last Updated on May 24, 2022 by ellen

Teaching kids recycling is a fun way to teach the importance of environmental stewardship and help make the world a better place. Here are some tips. 

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Teaching kids recycling is a fun way to teach the importance of environmental stewardship and help make the world a better place. Here are some tips. 

Teaching kids recycling

When growing up, kids learn to take care of the environment. This helps them develop several skill sets, including empathy and responsibility, and helps them learn the consequences of their actions.

By showing them recycling, we can give them a better and healthier future. Recycling helps kids learn to avoid waste by recycling things.

They also get to know about recycling and energy conservation. If kids learn that what they use is used for other purposes, it motivates them to recycle.

Start by talking about why recycling is important. Explain that recycling helps reduce pollution and conserve resources.

Earth Day is a great time to look for more ideas to reduce waste. Check out these garden toys for kids.

Why is it important to teach kids recycling?

There are many reasons it is important to teach children about recycling materials. Recycling can be a fun way for kids to learn about science and the environment.

Repurposing items can save money and will produce less waste in your home. Children can feel proud of themselves when they help.

What are the 4 R’s of recycling?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink. Here are some ways kids can go green.

a colorful pile of plastic bottle caps

How do you explain recycling to preschoolers?

Make it fun! Play games or do activities that educate children about recycling.

Help them understand what can be recycled. Show them examples of items that can be recycled, such as paper, plastic, and glass.

Encourage kids to recycle at home. Set up a recycling bin in your house and let them help put recyclable items in it. Show them the difference between trash and recycling items.

There are lots of fun activities to teach recycling. Fill up large plastic trucks with cardboard and zoom them to the recycling bin.

a toy recycling truck from PLAYMOBIL

Get them a recycling truck to play with.

With PLAYMOBIL City Recycling Truck, kids can separate the recycling into appropriate colored plastic bins for the crew to pick up in the morning! 

The cargo bed lifts back to unload the materials picked up, and flashing lights on the truck alert residents that the vehicle is in route for pick up. 

Load the bin onto the platform at the back of the truck and pull the lever to lift and empty the recycling container. Comes complete with two PLAYMOBIL figures that ride in the vehicle and lots of other accessories for hours of imaginative — and educational — fun!

This truck is lots of fun for children ages three and up. Check out the City Recycling Truck.

a landfill with trucks

Go on a field trip

Take them on a field trip to a local recycling center. This is a great way to get kids involved. And it can help future generations as they get older.

If you have a landfill in your area, you may want to contact your child’s school and have them consider a field trip to the landfill.

Get them involved. Encourage kids to help with recycling efforts at home or in the community.

adults recycling items into buckets

Teach children by example

Lead by example. Show kids how easy it is to recycle at a young age by doing it yourself.

Children learn by example, so you must get into the habit of doing this yourself.

Put things in recycling containers and let them come with you to the recycling facility. Check out these plastic free kitchen tips.

Use recycled materials in craft projects and toys to give things a second life.

  • This guitar uses cardboard boxes.
  • Milk cartons make a wonderful bird feeder.
  • Play tic tac toe with bottle caps.


Teach them about composting

Composting is another way to reduce food waste. And it’s a great way to teach children about the environment and how we can help take care of it.

Encourage them to start a compost bin at home with some simple kitchen scraps. Show them how worms help break down the material in the bin.

Use the compost in the garden. Let them help you plant seeds and watch them grow.

Add the grass clippings after you mow the lawn. Let them help you put the clippings in the compost bins.

Recycling word search puzzle

Have a scavenger hunt

Turn recycling into a game with a scavenger hunt or a word search. Print the word search here. Get the answer key.

Give kids a list of items to find around the house that can be recycled. They can check them off as they find them.

See who can find the most items in a certain amount of time.

Make it a competition to see who can collect the most recyclables in a week.

The winner gets a prize, such as an extra dessert or a new toy.

Make it fun, and you’ll be surprised how much they learn. Here are a few ideas.

  • Food waste
  • Recycling bins
  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic bag
  • Egg cartons
  • Old clothes
  • Bottles
  • Tin cans
  • Paper
  • Packaging

Download and print this free recycling word search for older kids to do. And check out this Earth Day printable.

Read to them

Many children’s books talk about recycling and the environment. Some of our favorites include:

  • The Berenstain Bears’ Recycle It!
  • The Magic School Bus Goes to the Junkyard
  • Liz Learns About Recycling
  • Trash Bash: A Garbage Truck Story

a little girl in the garden

Visit a local park

Get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Visit a local park and explore nature.

Discuss the animals that live there and what they eat. Show them how to leave things as they found them.

Pack a lunch and eat in the park. Bring some recyclable items, such as reusable utensils and a water bottle. Explain the difference between garbage and recycled materials.

Encourage kids to pick up any litter they see. Put it in the trash or recycle it when you get home.

Start a garden

Gardening is a great way to teach kids about recycling. composting, and the environment.

Let them help you plant the seeds and watch them grow. Teach them about the different types of plants and how they need sunlight and water to grow.

Show them how to compost kitchen scraps and use them in the garden.

Plant a tree

Trees are an important part of the environment. They help to clean the air and provide homes for animals.

Plant a tree with your kids and watch it grow. Teach them the importance of trees and how to take care of them.

This is a great way to teach kids about recycling and the environment. And it’s a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.

With these tips, teaching kids about recycling can be fun and easy!

More recycling toys from PLAYMOBIL:

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