How To Teach Kids About Recycling

We probably know ways we can celebrate Earth day but do kids understand the significance of Earth day? Okay maybe they know that by earth day we are talking about protecting the earth. Do they really know how to go about achieving this? It’s time we taught these youngsters what it means and how to go about treating mother earth right!

Let’s break this down a little further by focusing on a common term……Recycling.

Recycling is a term we use every now and then but when it comes down to recycling how do we teach children what it means? In order to recycle an item say for instance a glass bottle, first we need to ensure that we have tried everything possible to reduce and reuse. If this is not possible, we can think of ‘recycling’. Wondering how to teach your kids how to recycle?

Here are 4 ways we can teach kids about recycling:


Kids love singing especially when it comes to theme songs for TV shows or movies they love. It is easy to pass a message across to kids in form of songs and videos because when you convey a message this way kids enjoy it. Put on a DVD on recycling and how it’s done before you know it, kids are already singing away!!!!

2. Read ‘eco’ books to them:

kids love it when you read to them. There are many wonderful ‘green’ books out there that are just perfect for children. Here are great books to start with:

  • Don’t Throw That Away!: A Lift-the-Flap Book about Recycling and Reusing (Little Green Books)
  • I can save the ocean
  • Michael Recycle
  • Fancy Nancy: Every day is Earth Day
3. Adopt good 3Rs habit and kids will emulate your ways

When kids see that you’re reducing, reusing and recycling, they will automatically follow suit even without you having to remind them all the time.

4. Make a trip to the recycling center

A great way to explain recycling and how the whole process works is by taking kids to the recycling center so they can see how materials such as cans, plastics bottles, paper, cardboard are sorted and processed. Kids love going on trips. They get to see what recycling is all about and they also get to see beautiful sights along the way. Below is an interesting video that explains what happens at the recycling center after materials are picked up from your curb. You can also do a quick google search to locate your nearest center. Watch and enjoy!


5. Games

Put together a waste sort game. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get 4 bins or bags ready – label one bin ‘garbage’, the next ‘reduce’, the third bin ‘reuse’ and the last ‘recycling’, you can also label reusable bags instead of bins.

  • Cut out pieces of reusable paper and write the following on each – banana peel, broken rubber bands, cardboard, plastic bottle, apple core, sheets of paper, newspaper, gently used sweater, a story book, a glass jar, milk jug, aluminum can. Note if you have these at your disposal, you might as well use the physical items instead of writing them out on sheets of paper.
  • Ask the kids to place each item in the bin they belong.

The results should look like this:

Garbage Organics Reuse Recycle
Broken Rubber Bands Banana peel Story book Milk jug
    Gently used sweater Aluminum can
    Toy Newspaper
    Sheets of paper Cardboard
    Glass jar Plastic bottle


From the table above, we can see that only one item really needs to go in the garbage. If we stick to the 3Rs rule in this order – Reduce Reuse Recycle, the amount of garbage we generate will be next to nothing!

In some cases, milk jug, newspaper and cardboard could be reused, so results may vary.

There are tons of recycling kids activities, crafts and DVDs. The only thing is that some activities may require adult supervision depending on the kids’ ages.

So, these are simple ways kids can learn about recycling and the environment. Please leave a comment below. If you’d like to add any other method(s), please leave them below. Thank you.

8 thoughts on “How To Teach Kids About Recycling”

  1. I really like this post a lot because to teach our kids about this very important topic is crucial. I like the way you are making it fun to do. I will be taking tips from here and implementing it with my children. Thank you for the great information.


    • Hi Said, I’m glad you like my post. If we are going to teach kids something we have to make it simple for them to understand and enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. What a great and fun way to introduce kids to recycling. They are so simple too. My baby loves when I sing and read to her but I never thought of getting some ‘eco’ books, or sing songs about recycling. What a clever idea it is. Even though my baby is only 10 months old, I guess it’s never too early to start with implementing these habits, especially when it’s done in a fun way.

    • These are indeed fun ways to make recycling interesting for kids and babies too! Kids and babies love when we sing to them or even read to them and I’m glad your baby loves these methods too. How cute! Better to introduce recycling to kids at a very early age; so I couldn’t agree with you more…it’s never too early. Thanks for dropping a comment.

  3. This is a really cool idea. In Taiwan, where I live, recycling is super important, and the country has one of the best garbage disposal systems I have seen.

    In every house there are multiple trash cans for different types of garbage, it’s the same for public trashcans too. Really informative article, thanks!

    • Recycling is practiced in several countries and this is good for the environment. When we recycle, we divert waste from landfill. Having different cans in homes also makes segregation of waste easy. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Bea this a really good site. Giving tips to help incorporate teaching habits for our kids and also reminding us adults on the good habits to teach them, without them even realizing it. I always loved the idea of teaching with songs.
    Good Job!

    • Thanks for leaving a comment. I’ve discovered that it is quite easy to learn through songs; especially if you are introducing something new to young ones. Thanks for stopping by Vicky.


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