When educating your children, you may overlook recycling for kids. However, here at Summit Children’s Center, we believe recycling is an important concept to promote. A lot of trash is generated every year and the amount of garbage is increasing at an alarming rate. As of now, we are only recycling approximately 30% of waste and the rest of it is sent to landfills, increasing pollution and damaging the environment. We can all take part in recycling and make it an everyday habit especially around our kids. If our children learn to recycle at an early stage of their lives, then good habits or practices will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Why Is Recycling For Kids Important?

Kids must learn how to care for the environment as they grow. It equips them with a variety of skills they will need such as respect, empathy, responsibility, and it teaches them that actions have consequences. Valuable lessons such as sustainability and how the world should be left for future generations are also important. By showing them the importance of recycling we are giving them a brighter and cleaner future.

Recycling for kids also teaches how to avoid waste and save money. They also learn how to conserve both energy and resources through recycling. When children know that the things they use can be made into other useful things, it gives them an incentive to want to recycle. By talking to them about the dangers of pollution even in the sea they gain a better understanding of the ecosystem. At a young age, recycling for kids helps them learn how precious the earth is and why it needs to be protected.

Steps To Get Your Kids Involved With Recycling

To ensure that kids don’t start looking at recycling as just another chore, keep it fun and exciting. Here are some tips to incorporate recycling for kids:

1. Introduce Recycling for Kids Early

It is critical that the kids have an early exposure at home. Ensure that your recycling bins are placed at convenient locations of the house and are easy to use. You should also make it a habit to explain to them what you are doing whenever you are recycling. Remember to lead by example. Kids will often follow their parents’ lead whether we want to admit it or not. You must practice what you preach. 

recycling tips for kids

2. Be Creative

Recycling for kids can be creative! Allow your kids to decorate the recycling bin however they want. Maybe allow them to buy some paint and fabric to add a little personality to the recycling bin. Because they’ll feel proud of their art, they will want to use it after they are done decorating.

3. Give Kids Incentives

You can let the kids save up for what they’ve been wanting most by teaching them to recycle. Instead of just handing them money, teach them how to separate waste for recycling. As they collect it by themselves, you can take them to a local recycling center to get some money for their efforts. Once they realize that they can get money just for getting rid of the trash in a manner that is responsible, you won’t ever have to remind them to recycle. Going green and recycling for kids can double as a way to teach your littles ones about money! 

4. Start A Contest

If you have more than one child, you can turn recycling for kids into a weekly fun competition. Set up a recycling bin in each of their rooms and tell them that whoever does the most recycling gets a prize. It could be staying up an extra hour or hosting a sleepover with friends. That is up to you, but make sure the contest is appealing for kids so they want to be involved.

summit children's center's steps to teach recycling for kids

5. Fun Resources About Recycling for Kids

Did you know there are an abundance of children’s books about recycling and the environment? Find books that are appropriate for their ages to help them learn more about it. Additionally, there are online games for them to learn how to sort recyclables. Visit your local library or Amazon today! 

Recycling for Kids Games And Activities

One of the easiest ways to get kids excited about recycling is by turning it into a game. Here are a few games you can play with your kids to have fun while recycling.

1. A Sort And Recycle Hunt

You can create a scavenger hunt by hiding cards that represent different types of waste, compostable, recyclable and items to donate around the room. Divide yourselves into groups and compete, looking for as many cards as you can find, and sort them properly into the appropriate bins. When the game ends, review the cards with your children and point out the items that were sorted correctly while explaining why each item belongs in each bin.

2. Recycling Relay

Recycling relays work well for all age groups and is such a fun way to teach recycling for kids. Gather a pile of the reusable, landfill and recyclable items. Place three boxes at the end of the area you are playing in, with the reuse box as the closest one, the recycling box midway and the landfill box at the furthest end. The teams playing should figure out what to do with each item; then run and place it in the appropriate box. Having more items to reuse means having more items to recycle, which increases your chance of winning.

how to teach recycling for kids

3. Nature Walk

Taking nature walks is a good trick to help the kids interact more with the environment. Choose a neighborhood that is not very busy to explore with them. Take trash bags and have them look out for litter. When they find it, let them sort it into the proper trash bag. 

How Kids Can Reuse The Items They Recycle

Many of the activities listed above help kids learn to reuse materials. Turn the materials into toys or new art pieces for your little ones. They can build collages by cutting out images they find in newspapers to create collage art. Poetry collage might also be fun and productive. The kids can cut out words and rearrange them into new ideas or sentences.

Old bottles and bottles can be transformed into reusable cups and vases, using decorations and paint. With empty bottles, you can create a water twister or even make your own bowling alley. Even music instruments like a guitar, flute or maraca can be made. Make the kids pick out the items they can reuse and help them see that creating new things out of old ones can be fun.

When kids learn basic recycling skills at home, they can reach out and spread the word to ensure that even their friends and people at school are sorting recyclables. What we do today determines whether or not we have a sustainable future. Teaching them good habits, like recycling for kids, will make sure your children know the importance of helping the environment. Summit Children’s Center supports the green approach and is here to help teach recycling for kids. Contact us today with any questions!