In 2022, recycling is more important than ever! As our mountain of plastic rises, and we continue to use more than 12 tonnes of paper each year, it’s vital for the future of our species that we reuse, recycle, and reduce. Equally as important is teaching your children how to recycle. But, that can be tricky when – let’s face it – it’s not the most exciting activity for your little ones!
To help you out and ensure future generations continue to reduce waste, we’ve put together some fun tasks that can make teaching your children a little easier. Let’s get into it!
1. Paint the Recycling Symbols
Kids are often active learners. That means that they need to be doing something to learn, not just being spoken to. So, when teaching your children about the different symbols there are for recycling, it’s a great idea to get them involved! We recommend a little painting time, in which you and your children paint the different symbols onto a large sheet of paper.
As you go through, be sure you tell your child what the symbols mean. Make it fun with different paint colours, glitter pens, and chalks! Hang on your wall when finished for a daily reminder of all the important symbols.
2. Find the Symbols in the Kitchen
Once you’ve taught your child the different symbols, you can improve their memory by finding them in your kitchen.
Create a large bag of clean, dry mixed recycling that’s full of plenty of different types of packaging. Task your child with finding the recycling symbols on the products and then matching them with those they’ve painted (see activity #1), being sure to give them a big cheer every time they get one right.
Up the chaos using a timer or countdown, or make it a race between kids for a fun group game. Once you’ve collected all the different packaging, be sure to recycle them again together!
If you don’t have enough packaging in your recycling, you can also use items around the kitchen that are still in use. Search through cupboards and dive into the fridge to uncover all the sneaky symbols waiting to be found.
3. Create Recycling Bins For Your Household
There’s no better way to get your children interested in recycling than with some group crafts. We love the idea of creating recycling bins together, which is super fun and will ensure your little ones are invested in reducing waste in your home. When they’ve made the bins themselves, why wouldn’t they want to use them?
You have a couple of different options here. The first is simply decorating the plastic bins you already own. Have your child create different signs for each depending on what’s going in them, or a large recycling poster if you have one bin for everything.
Or, you can create bins from scratch using cardboard boxes. Bring out all the best craft materials, including colourful pens and paints, stickers, googly eyes, and glitter! Be sure as your child gets creative that they know what the bin will be used for and why, teaching them all about recycling whilst they have lots of fun.
4. Find the Best Product For Recycling in the Supermarket
When you’re in the supermarket, turn your weekly shop into a fun recycling game for you and your children. Task them with finding the most eco-friendly packaging for the products you need. That means checking if there are plastic-free alternatives, making sure any packaging is recyclable by looking at the symbols, identifying what can’t be recycled, and keeping it out of your trolley.
You could make this even more fun by creating a points system. Plastic-free options get double points, easily recycled get 2 points, difficult to recycle gets 1 point, and not recyclable gets 0 points. Add up your points at the end of your shop to see how well you both did!
5. Repurpose Your Waste to Make Toys
Another way to get creative with recycling is by making toys out of your waste. If your child is old enough, collect a bag of recycling and go through it together, working out fun things you can create. If your little one is too young, you can work out what you’re going to make and bring in their help for the fun bits.
Robots using cardboard boxes and yogurt pots are always a great idea, as are these amazing structures made from newspapers! Remember to teach your little one that you’re reusing the materials to keep them away from the landfill and educate them on which materials can and can’t be recycled as you go.
6. Create a Fact Sheet Together
Mums and dads, get your researching hat on! This task involves taking to the internet to find plenty of recycling facts. Task your little one with creating a big poster that lists the most important facts (in their opinion) of those you find. Go through facts on the internet together but leave it up to your child which they’d like to include.
Once your beautiful poster is done, present it to other family members. Have everyone sit down and listen as you and your child go through the facts together, adding as much theatre to the show as you want. This is also a great activity for reading and writing and is wonderful for kids who like to perform!
Teaching the future generations to recycle and be eco-conscious is one of the most important tasks our generation of parents have. If we want to save the world, our kids need to know how to! These fun recycling activities are a great way to start introducing your little ones to the eco-friendly world in a way that they’ll enjoy.