13 Recycling Activities For Kids

Recycling is what can keep the world going for future generations. One of the biggest gifts you can give to your child is teaching them about recycling and make it fun. As they grow up, recycling will be second nature to them, and slowly the amount of waste in landfills can start to go down.

There are many different activities that kids can do when it comes to recycling. In this article, you will learn about the most popular activities and different ways to help teach your child about recycling. Read on to find out fun ideas to not only keep your child entertained but to help make a better and healthier earth.

Recycling Contest for Your Kids or Students

A simple way to teach your kids about recycling is to make a game out of it. This can mean several different things or activities. Let’s look at a few different recycling games to play:

  • Seeing who can gather the most recycling over some specified period of time (week, month, etc.)
  • Playing a bingo game where every time they find a certain item that is recyclable and save it from the trash, they get to mark it off.
  • Picking up trash from a park/public area to recycle
  • Hosting a recycle drive to get schools or people in town to be more aware of recycling.

All of these are fairly simple but will make such a big impact in your town and even on the earth. Your child will also be learning great habits that will last a lifetime. They will be more likely to recycle as they grow up and get their friends to recycle.

Scavenger Hunt for Recycling Products Around the House

This activity can be done: 

  • At home 
  • At the park 
  • At school 

You simply write down a list of items to find or types of items. Kids will have fun searching for what items can be recycled compared to what can go into the trash. They can learn about how different glass, plastic, and paper are in landfills and what can be done with them instead. 

As a reward, they can have fun creating fun projects with the recycling they find or win a small prize. You can even find printouts or create a custom one for items you know you will have hidden around the house.  Your kids will also get a little exercise running around to find items before the time runs out or the other kids do.

Creating A Visual Recycling Activity for Kids

While this is not so much a product recycle as a plant recycle, it is still a nice visual for kids to see. Pumpkins are very popular around the fall, but after Halloween passes and snow starts to hit the ground, they are usually tossed. Instead of tossing your pumpkins, grab one and stick it in a clear bin with a lid.

That’s it. Over time the pumpkin will break down into mush, but after months, you will see a seedling sprout. The pumpkin seeds will sprout and start to grow little seedlings. Once this happens, simply transplant the seedling into the soil, and you will grow a new pumpkin plant.

Kids can see how easily the pumpkin broke down and grew back, and it is a great teaching moment as you can show them the plastic container never broke down, and that is precisely what happens to plastic in the landfills. Natural things break down while others are around for years to come.

Making Robots From Cereal Boxes

One thing is that many homes with kids have is cereal boxes. Sometimes many different ones every week are tossed into your trashcans. Instead of tossing these boxes, your kids can make awesome and big robots. You will need a few other items from around your house to make the best robots, but they’re things you can find, such as:

  • Empty and washed-out sturdy cans that are not as wide as the bottom of the box. These will be the legs.
  • Toilet paper rolls are for the arms
  • Bottle lids, pipe cleaners, or any other small items for decorations and eyes
  • Foil to make antennas
  • Paint to decorate 

The design possibilities of the robot are pretty endless as every child has a different imagination. The options are limitless. Grab a bunch of items that you would otherwise toss and let your child’s imagination run wild.

Having Fun With Paper Towel Rolls Tunnels

Every home has toilet paper rolls, and many have paper towel rolls just laying around. There are tons of uses, but a very fun one is to make a fun tunnel for marbles. You can attach the cardboard rolls to a wall or a piece of cardboard you were going to throw away. 

If you place a Velcro ring on the wall and then on the toilet paper roll, your child will be able to create their marble maze. Your children can even paint the rolls. If you run out of rolls, different junk mail can work too. Thicker paper works great and holds its shape when rolled. Grab a few marbles and a small container to catch them at the bottom, and your kids are set.

How To Make Toilet Paper Race Cars

Race cars are yet another activity to create with toilet paper rolls. They are in every home, so they are very easy to find, and the options are endless. One fun activity is creating a racecar. You only need a few items such as:

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Sucker stick or small dowel rod
  • Apple sauce pouch lids, bottle lids, or any other small plastic circle
  • Glue or tape
  • Hole punch

You simply use the hole punch to make a hole on each side for the dowl rod to sucker stick to go through. Then hot glue or tape the wheels to the ends of the sticks. The cars can be decorated in any way your child would like or left as is. 

Create Bubble Blowers Out Of Old Bottles

Every kid loves bubbles. That’s what makes this such a great activity. Kids will recycle all of the water bottles or soda bottles around the house to create a fun toy. There are two different ways to make a bubble blower out of a bottle.

One method is to simply dip the end of the bottle into a bubble solution and squeeze. The bubble will come out. Keep in mind this only will work with more durable plastic that will expand back, not a very thin/flimsy bottle.

The other option is cutting a bottle in half then putting a cut sock or pantyhose on the end of the bottle. Your child will dip the cut end into a bubble solution then blow through the mouth part of the bottle. Not only will bubbles come out, but it creates a bubble snack that kids love. Little kids might have trouble with sucking in a bubble instead of blowing. It’s best to keep an eye on them as they learn.

Creating Handmade Wind Chimes Out of Soda Tabs and Cans

There are so many different ways to create wind chimes out of things you can find around the house. Wind chimes are simple to create and can even be given as gifts from your children. To make a wind chime that will make noise, you need to have something metal to bang against each other. This is where old cans come into play.

A parent will need to clean and tape off any sharp parts before handing them off to the child to decorate. You can use any cans from your pantry. Different size cans for one wind chime are better than everything being the same size. Children can paint, add stickers or even add glue to sprinkle glitter all over them.

For a bonus, you can add:

  • Soda can tabs
  • Soda cans
  • Tuna fish cans
  • Metal bolts
  • Meatal washers
  • Plastic bottle caps can make a deeper sound when they bang into the cans

With all of these added on, you will get to enjoy the banging and clanking around when the wind blows. After kids decorate them, an adult can drill a hole in the can to tie a string through. The string can also be tied around the cans if a drill is not available. 

Making a Bird Feeder Made From Old Can

This is not only a fun activity for your child to do but will make for a fun time bird watching. You can take any can and turn it into a bird feeder, but it’s a better idea to use a larger can so bigger birds can fit. Cans with reliable plastic lids work best as you can cut the lid in half. 

The half of lids can be used to help hold in the birdseed. If you don’t have one, then you can use a small piece of plastic and tape it. Your child can decorate it if they like or just tie it to the tree or porch as is. Birds will love the space to hop in and get a snack.

Transforming Pool Noodles Into Race Car Tracks

Bright-colored foam pool noodles can be found at almost every store during the summer months. They typically do not hold up very well to the elements for the next year if you buy the less expensive ones. They also can get cracks in them, or some kids just live to bite holes into them. Instead of tossing the pool noodles, you can make a noodle racetrack.

All you need for this activity is a noodle and a knife/scissors. You cut the noodle in half lengthwise, and then you have yourself two very long racecar tracks that can hold a hot wheel or matchbox car perfectly. You can put them end to end to create one long track, or your children can race two cars side by side on two tracks.

Using Old Bottles as a Ring Toss Game

This is a very simple game that anyone can do. All you need for this activity is a six-pack of sodas, or you can use cans that have been rinsed out. Then you need to make a ring that is big enough to go around the bottles with a little extra space. The bottles can have stones put in the bottom to make them a little heavier.

Kids take turns tossing the ring onto the bottles. If they get bored with ring toss, you can always grab a small bowl and let them the bowl. This shows them that there are many ways to reuse something as simple as a plastic bottle and to have fun with it.

Make Handmade Puzzles From Items Around The House

Every thin cardboard product around your house can be turned into a puzzle. Many cereal boxes have designs on the back. You can cut them up and let your child put the design back together. It’s such a simple concept but very fun to build all the different cereal box puzzles. 

Anything can turn into a puzzle. You can glue a picture to a box, then cut it out and have them do a puzzle about anything. If your child is good at cutting, they can even glue a picture to a cereal box, then cut it out and give it to a grandma or parent to do with them. It’s a gift that has meaning behind it.

Using a Toilet Paper Roll as a Bird Feeder

Last but certainly not least is yet another toilet paper roll activity. This can be done with toilet paper rolls or even a pinecone. It only takes a few items to create:

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Peanut butter
  • Birdseed
  • String
  • Stick or dowel rod

You poke a stick through the bottom of the roll for a perch. Then your child will coat the toilet paper roll in peanut butter with as much as they can. Kids usually love to smear the peanut butter all over their bird feeder. After it’s fully coated in peanut butter, they roll it in birdseed. Then hang it from a string into a tree. Sit back and watch the birds come and enjoy the treat.

Making Recycling Fun For Children of All Ages

With the activities in this article, your children will see recycling is fun. They will also have a better grasp of just how easy it is to recycle, which will give them a greater chance at recycling as they get older. 

It is such a simple thing that many people overlook. With these activities, your kids will start to point out what can be recycled and what they could do with it.

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