Feb 25

How to encourage kids to recycle

Children are a lot more aware of recycling and green living these days, and it’s important to add to what they learn in school with some home education too. Whether you’re looking to encourage less waste in the kitchen or to make DIY hamster toys out of cardboard, there are so many ways of combining recycling with fun. Here are five inspirational ideas.

1. Kitchen scavenger hunt

The first activity actually combines two – a scavenger hunt and experimental recipes… which we’ll come onto in a minute. This is great for teaching kids about not wasting food and helps you keep an eye on what you have in your cupboards and fridge. Set up a kitchen scavenger hunt where you set the parameters on cupboard staples.

Combine looking for specific ingredients with items that are close to their expiry date and give the kids points for every item they find within those parameters. It could be items that expire within days, a month or even the current year. The point is that you’re teaching kids to always keep an eye on using things so that they don’t go to waste. Oh, and once you’ve cooked with them you can always use jars and packets to make homemade recycled storage.

2. Experimental leftover recipes

Moving on nicely to experimental recipes. You can gather the ingredients that have been found during the scavenger hunt and combine them with leftovers to come up with new flavour combos. Stale bread, for example, is a great thickener for soups made from veg that are nearing the end of their best days.

Smoothies are great too with fruit that’s coming to that over ripened stage – and you can save the peels and skins for the compost. Let the kids go crazy with combinations; the best recipes often come from accidents!

3. Cardboard toys

Moving away from cooking now, how can you use everyday materials in the kitchen to recycle for fun activities? Well, one of the most versatile materials is cardboard. You can make play houses from it, dens from large boxes and robots out of cereal packets. In addition to toys for the kids, cardboard is also great for fun with pets. For example, the tubes from kitchen and tissue paper are ideal for creating DIY hamster toys.

4. Bottle boats

Plastic waste is a well-known issue when it comes to the planet’s wellbeing. We’ve all seen pictures of tonnes of the stuff floating in the sea, damaging wildlife and being left strewn all over beaches, and this is something we can all do more to stop.

A great way of combining children’s education and plastic recycling is to combine the use of old bottles with a sea theme. Bottle boats provide endless fun at bath time and provide you with a neat ‘in’ to talk about how important plastic recycling and conserving our oceans are.

5. Recycling relay

Finally, this is a fantastic way of entertaining a group of kids. Whether you’ve got more than one child yourself or they’re having friends round, you can set up a recycling relay.

Gather together a pile of recycling, clean is always best, and set up a race where the children have to sort recycling into piles and put them in the right container. Plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, bottles tops and glass (only for older children and always under strict supervision) can all be used. This one not only helps you sort your recycling and educate the kids, it provides a whole lot of excitement too.

As you can see, green living and recycling can provide you with plenty of opportunities to have fun with kids. Take these five activities as inspiration and come up with some of your own.

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