Teaching young children about recycling

Recycling is such an important thing to educate children about from a young age as they will develop life long sustainability habits. PDF Education Supplies has a large range of resources to assist with your Sustainability practices  www.pdfeducationsupplies.com.au


2:4 Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

3.3 The service takes an active role in caring for its environment and contributes to a sustainable future

Ways to encourage children to be active in Recycling

1. Set a Green Example

Let’s face it – it’s going to be a waste of time teaching your kids to participate in green behaviour if you aren’t exactly doing it yourself. Just recycling here and there, whenever the urge strikes, isn’t going to do anyone any good –  especially for the Earth. By leading a green lifestyle – all the time – your children are more likely to follow suit. Kids look up to their parents and often emulate their actions –  the good and the bad. If you make a habit of sorting, recycling, reusing, composting, etc., they are going to pick up on it and then hopefully encourage their own children to do the same.

2. Look for Teachable Opportunities

When it comes to the three R’s – reducing, reusing and recycling – there are plenty of opportunities for parents to teach their children how and why they should participate. Simple lessons about where food comes from, showing them how to sort through garbage/recyclables and which items go where is a great starting point.  

3.  Include Recycling on Job Chart

In addition to tidying their rooms, helping clean/clear the table and whatever other chores your children are assigned, consider adding recycling duties to the list. Option for age-appropriate tasks –  there are plenty to choose from. For example, have your preschool-age child assist with sorting recyclables, taking labels of cans – even picking up litter that lands in your yard or in your neighbourhood.  Older children could help by emptying food scraps in to the compost pile/bag, taking garbage and recycle bins to the curb and rinsing out cans, bottles and cartons.

4. Reward Their Actions

While your youngster may not be able to understand the impact of their actions in helping to create a sustainable future, most are a huge fan of instant gratification in the form of a reward. Something as simple as a sticker on their chore chart for a job well done or a little treat at the end of the week 

5. Plant the Seeds for a Greener Future

One of the best  and probably the most fun ways to teach your child about going green is gardening. And really, what better way to ‘grow’ family memories and teach them about sustainability than in a garden? In addition to teaching them about where fresh food comes from, it’s a great way to teach respect and an appreciation for Mother Nature. Gardening can also foster communication, build strong relationships and offer an opportunity to work towards a common goal.

6. Get Crafty With Recyclables

There’s no doubt about it that parenting is expensive. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to spend much at all when it comes to arts and crafts projects that the whole family can enjoy. Chances are you’ll find inspiration within recycle bins and throwaway boxes. Objects like discarded toilet paper rolls, empty milk cartons, paper plates and anything borrowed from Mother Nature, such as rocks, pinecones, leaves, etc. can be used to create something amazing. 

7. Have Fun!

Kids love playing games, so why not incorporate some friendly competition into their recycling duties? Play a game of recycle relay by having each member of the family race to sort and recycle their pile of garbage the fastest. Of course, you’ll have to make sure they know how to separate the piles and clean plastics beforehand. Whoever is the fastest wins the title of ‘Recycle Superstar.’

And there you have it – 7 simple ways to help your child prepare for a brighter and ‘greener’ future. Just remember – reducing, recycling and reusing don’t have to be a chore. Have fun making it a family affair.

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