Recycling Activities for Preschoolers

by Rosenya Faith

    It's important for your preschooler to learn about recycling, but you want to make it a fun activity so the lesson really sinks in, right? Why not turn a recycling lesson into a creative craft activity so she'll learn about ways to recycle and have some special artwork to display when she's done?

    Your preschooler loves the great outdoors anyway, so why not teach her about recycling with a trip to a nearby park for some recycling cleanup? Spend a few minutes on your walk over to the park talking about what types of things can be recycled, what happens to things in the recycling box, and what things you can do with the paper towel rolls, plastic bottles and other stuff in your own box. Once you get to the park, work together to clean up a few things. Many parks now have trash cans particularly for recyclables. If there isn’t one there, bring along a blue or clear bag instead. This activity is perfect for Earth Day.

    You’ve just used the last egg from the carton, but before you toss it in the trash, consider the activity possibilities that little carton offers. You and your environmentally-friendly preschooler can turn the egg carton into a little planter box to start some spring blooms. Fill each section in the carton with a little bit of dirt and plant a few seeds in each one. Place a plate underneath the planter and now your little guy can watch his very own seeds grow. If you’ve got a few fast-growing grass seeds, save a few eggshells next time you have scrambled eggs. Pour a little dirt in the empty eggshell and plant a few of the grass seeds. Draw a face on the eggshell and watch the grass grow to fill in the hair.

    Transform an old milk carton into a bird feeder and let your little munchkin see how many birds enjoy his craft. Cut a big rectangle out of the middle of the box to complete the first step for him. The rectangle should extend over three sides of the carton so the birds have plenty of room to get into the seed. Let your little artist transform the carton into a beautiful bird feeder with paints, markers and crayons. Then, fill the feeder with bird seed and hang it from a tree in your backyard.

    Transform an old cereal box into a book holder for her favorite stories. Cut off the top of the book and draw a line from the middle of one side to the middle of the top. Cut off the front, side and back of the box along this line to make the book holder shape. Cover all of the sides of the box with some plain white paper and now it’s time for your little artist to take over. Let her decorate the box with finger paints, paint and paintbrushes, markers, stickers, and glitter and glue. When the box has dried, fill it up with her favorite stories and place it in a special spot in her room.

    References

    • Ecoart; Earth-Friendly Art and Craft Experiences for 3- to 9-Year-Olds; Laurie Carlson

    About the Author

    Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

    Photo Credits

    • Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images