All About Recycling

Wanting to get your child excited about recycling? Here’s a fun activity you can do together that will help him understand how important it is.

What You’ll Need:

A small piece of Styrofoam

A small piece of paper towel

A small piece of clear plastic wrap

A small piece of cardboard

What To Do:

Take the four items and cover them with some soil. If you don’t have any space outside, you can “plant” them in a container and keep it inside. Be sure to use soil or dirt from the ground; don’t use potting soil that you purchase. Potting soils can contain wood, bark, moss, and even synthetic pellets with only a small amount of real dirt.

Once a week, have your child check on the items. Your child will notice that the paper products are beginning to break down. The Styrofoam and plastic wrap, however, will stay the same.

Find Out More

Next, check out some books from your local library to read together. Here are some to look for:

  • One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul
  • Recycle!: A Handbook for Kids Paperback by Gail Gibbons
  • Recycling, Step by Step by Jean M. Lundquist
  • Reusing and Recycling by Charlotte Guillain
  • Where Does the Garbage Go? by Paul Showers
  • Why Should I Recycle? by Jen Green

You can look at these websites, too:

  • BeGreenPackaging – This site has a neat infographic that shows how long it takes various materials to decompose
  • Benefits-of-Recycling – This site explains what recycling is and how kids can be a part
  • Kids Recycle Zone – This site has a quiz kids can take as well as a lot of great links.


Finally, have your child help create a system for recycling. Some cities provide recycling containers for free and will pick them up from your house. In other areas, you have to collect the items yourself and take them to a designated location. Whichever way you do it, be sure to get your child involved. It’s an easy way to teach them how to care for our world.

In what other ways does your family reduce and reuse?

Photo by:  Kevin Dooley

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