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How to Start Recycling

How to Start Recycling Activity

One of the subjects your child will learn about in school this year is how important it is to protect our planet. She'll learn ways to take care of the environment; and specifically, she'll be taught the importance of recycling. Although you might already recycle in your house, this activity will reinforce what your child is learning at school and help her understand what kinds of things can be  recycled and where. This homemade poster is also a great way to let your guests know what kinds of things can be recycled at your house. If your family doesn't currently recycle, this a great opportunity to start a recycling program!

What You Need:

  • Several pieces of poster board
  • Markers
  • Examples of recyclable materials

What You Do:

  1. Help your child research what kinds of items are recyclable and find out which one are recycled through your local sanitation collection service. If your local service doesn't take all recycled items, such as cardboard, research recycling centers or drop off points in your area where you can recycle those kinds of things.  Every little bit helps!
  2. Are there any items you can recycle that you are not currently recycling your home? This is a great time to figure out!  Discuss with your child the best way to collect and separate the recyclable items. You can set up collection bins in a convenient area of your house.
  3. Have your child create a main poster illustrating what kinds of items can be recycled and what items cannot be recycled. Encourage her to draw pictures as well as include real examples, such as a can or a piece of cardboard, on the poster to provide her with tangible examples of the things she can recycle. She can decorate the poster however she likes. She can cater it to your particular household and what your family recycles.  For example, if your family composts as well, she can include pictures of carrot tops and apple cores on her poster and write something like, "In my house, we even recycle some food to help make soil for the garden!"
  4. Hang the poster in your kitchen and brainstorm with your child ways to cut down your family’s consumption on non recyclable items, such as Styrofoam.
  5. Have your child create a sign for each recycling bin in your home with examples of what item goes that particular bin along with any instructions, such as cleaning and drying recycled items or breaking down cardboard boxes before throwing them in the bin.
  6. When she's done, your child will have learned all about an important way she can take care of the planet, and she'll feel great about playing such a big role in her family's recycling routine! 

Every few months, help your child evaluate your family's recycling habits and ask her if she thinks if there is anything else that your family can do to help conserve. Learning about the different ways to "be green" couldn't be more important and teaching your child about these kinds of things at a young age is a great way to instill in her valuable habits for years to come.  Pretty soon, she'll be the family recycling officer, and proud of it!

Updated on May 8, 2014
Printable Workbooks from Education.com
Find a printable workbook to go along with this fun activity. See Workbooks
See more activities in: Second Grade, Earth Day
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