6 recycling activities for preschoolers

Recycling and sustainability is an important concept to introduce to preschoolers, and will only become a more important part of their lives in the future.

Taking care of the environment, the classroom and their home is not only an essential skill to teach children – it also provides unique opportunities for discussion about how certain materials are made and how they can be re-used.

We’ve rounded up 6 great recycling activities for preschoolers to help you introduce this topic to your classroom:

1. Create a recycling center

Using plastic recycling bins or cardboard boxes, create a recycling center within your classroom. Get preschoolers involved in labeling, decorating and setting up the recycling bins in the room. As you label each box with plastic, paper, metal and cardboard, explain the types of items that might go in each one. Invite children to start sorting recyclables and continue to sort the items they use every day.

2. Recycled crafts

There are plenty of ways to re-use recyclable materials like egg cartons, scrap paper, empty containers and lids, cardboard boxes and newspaper. Whether you show children how to make a specific craft, or challenge them to create art using only recycled materials, you can demonstrate how used materials can be re-used and transformed into something new.

3. Clean up the park

Visiting a local park and cleaning up litter is a fun recycling activity for preschoolers that not only teaches them about caring for the environment, but also about how they can help out in the community. Bring along recycling containers or clear trash bags to sort garbage and recyclables as preschoolers tidy the park.

children recycling in a park

4. Start a compost bin

Show preschoolers that food waste can be recycled too! Create a compost bin where children’s meal leftovers can be deposited. Make it part of your daily routine to empty scraps into the compost bin and periodically transfer its contents into an outdoor composter. Use this opportunity to teach children about the composting process and how food can be recycled into nutrient-rich soil.

Compost pile with carrots

5. Promote recycling

Have preschoolers work on a poster (individually or as a class) that promotes the ideas of recycling, reducing waste and re-using items. Encourage the use of recycled materials in the creation of the poster, and display it proudly in your childcare center for all to see.

6. Recycling or garbage?

Create flashcards featuring photos of recyclable materials and non-recyclable items. Show the flashcards one at a time to the class and have them work together to decide whether that item should go in the recycling bin or trash can. Ask children to explain why or why not each item can be recycled.

Once you create these fun activities, how will you share the moment with parents? Contact us to explore our app

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Savannah Copland

Savannah Copland is a Marketing Manager at HiMama. She has been working for over 3 years in the early childhood education space, and feels incredibly fortunate to have met, interviewed, and worked closely with registered early childhood educators, thought leaders and researchers during that time. She is particularly interested in finding novel ways for child care centers to market themselves and bolster their enrollment. She loves cats, and always needs at least one toy on her desk to fidget with!