Introducing your little ones to the concept of reusing items and helping them to understand the amazing things you can do when recycling is incredibly important to do, and a good concept to promote as parents and educators.
It’s great for kids to see that recycling goes beyond simply having a second rubbish bin. By repurposing/upcycling items before throwing them away, kids will learn that making new items from recycled ones takes less energy and fewer resources than making products from brand new materials. And can take this mentality and mindset into their lives in the future!
Here are our favourite top 10 activities to try with your kids this summer!
1. Build a robot
Don’t throw away any cardboard boxes or food containers from the weekly shop! Let younger kids enjoy building a robot from these everyday household items. It's lots of fun and is sure to keep their attention. And will also keep them busy for a while, giving you a little time to put your feet up!
2. Make a bird feeder
This is great recycling initiative which is great at demonstrating how much cheaper it is to use recycled materials than to buy something brand new.
You will need:
- Peanut Butter
- Lollipop Sticks
- Bird seed
- Toilet paper rolls
- Using a lollipop stick, cover outside of toilet paper roll with peanut butter
- Roll the peanut butter covered toilet paper roll in the bird seed until covered
- Thread a piece of string through the toilet paper roll and knot
- Hang where birds can enjoy
3. Make it into art
Help your little ones to start recognising the recycling symbol through art. This way, kids can easily identify recycling bins out in public and have some fun painting too!
4. Plan a recycling scavenger hunt
Head out to a local park or beach and see how much you can collect from the environment that can be recycled! If your little ones are competitive...Make it a race!
Replacing your usual night time story book with a book about recycling, is a wonderful way to celebrate the earth and a great way for your little ones to learn more about recycling in a fun way! Check out some of out favourites below:
- Don’t throw that away!: a lift-the-flap book about recycling and reusing - This book follows an eco-conscious super hero as he teaches kids how to recycle and reuse common household items!
- Charlie and Lola: we are extremely very good recyclers - After charlie convinces Lola to recycle her old toys instead of throwing them away, Lola discovers a recycling competition where they become extremely good recyclers.
- The Berenstain bears go green - The Berenstain bears live in a wonderful place filled with green grass, blue skies, and lots of furry friends. But when the bear family discovers that the town dump is overflowing the bears start trying to find a pollution solution before their beloved county is filled with garbage?
- The adventures of a plastic bottle: a story about recycling - Told from the point of view of a free-spirited plastic bottle, the diary entries are be fun and humorous yet point out the ecological significance behind each product and the resources used to make it.
- The earth book - An amazing eco-friendly picture book printed entirely with recycled materials and nontoxic soy inks, Todd Parr explores the important, timely subject of environmental protection and conservation in his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity.
- How to help the earth-by the Lorax - The star of the Lorax by Dr. Seuss makes his reading debut in this rhymed story that offers kids easy suggestions for going green! This is a great introduction to helping the earth and helping kids step into reading!
- I can save the earth!: one little monster learns to reduce, reuse, and recycle - Meet max the little monster. He is a cute, furry green monster who is an environmental nightmare. Max finds there is a whole big world outside that he can make a difference in the environment.
- 10 things i can do to help my world - Bold, child-friendly illustrations will draw even the youngest listeners to this gentle reminder of the easy, everyday ways we can be kinder to the earth.
6. Make a DIY toy
Before throwing away that milk carton or yoghurt pot, give them a clean and give them to your little ones to make a toy with.
7. Homemade puzzles
Cereal boxes are great for this, instead of throwing them away, cut them up and make a homemade puzzle.
8. Donate toys and clothes
Instead of throwing away toys your kids are done playing with, help them choose some to be donated and reused by other children. This is a great way to have a clear out and help your little ones to help other children. Allowing them to select the toys they would like to donate will be really empowering for them and help them to understand the concept of less is more.
9. Take a field trip!
Your little ones no doubt love robust vehicles and watching machinery. So why not head out to your local recycling center and watch a bit of the process happening. Will give them a great understanding and you can also clear out some items you need to get recycled.
10. Homemade wind chimes
Simple but effective, string and old tin cans make a nice piece of musical decor which your kids can make one sunny afternoon. Let them get creative and paint with their favourite colours!
There are so many other ways to teach kids about recycling and up cycling the list goes on, but these ones above certainly make a great start. Helping your little ones to feel empowered to contribute to their environment can help how they see the world and also to help them influence those around them to recycle too!