Recycle Activities for Preschoolers – Quick Guide

According to research, small children who play with recycling bins and litter pick-up sticks are more likely to do so as adults.

This is because they learn through role play and personal experience the importance of being kind to the environment.

What better way to get your preschooler involved than through various recycling activities?

Reusing materials like boxes, tins, paper and glass jars is not only cost-effective but also beneficial for the environment since less energy and natural materials are needed in production.

Children are naturally inquisitive and the best way to get your preschooler interested in recycling is through active participation.

Recycling activities for preschoolers can be done practically anywhere and at any time.

They can be as simple as recycling paper into newspaper forts, or as complex as turning old bottles into clever vases.

This guide lists a number of fun, hands-on recycling activities for preschoolers.

13 Recycling activities for preschoolers

The benefits of teaching your little one about recycling are endless and priceless.

For starters, they’ll learn about the environment and how their actions help conserve resources.

They can use their imagination while they create and decorate their own recyclable products such as paper flowers or recycled boxes.

Through creating recycling activities for preschoolers they will also be able to understand how certain materials can be reused instead of thrown away just because they aren’t in perfect condition.

Making things at home using recycled items is a fun and exciting way to encourage this awareness and you shouldn’t hesitate to let your kids help with the process.

These activities are a great way to keep your preschooler engaged and to help them learn from an early age that recycling is an important part of their everyday life.

These fun activities will keep you and your child occupied for hours.

Waste to treasure

Kit your toddler out with an old plastic bag and some rope and they will happily fill it with recyclables like tin cans, paper and old food containers.

Your preschooler will be surprised at how much they can put in and you’ll probably find yourself cleaning up after them more than once! If you’re feeling creative, you could even turn their waste into something special like an interesting necklace.

You could also ask your children to consider what the recycled items are going to be used for.

Consequently, this is meant to be an engaging game where your child will learn which items are recyclable and the ones that are waste.

Create a robot from boxes

Most kids love robots.

So why not create your own robot from boxes and any other recyclable goods you have in the house?

It’s a fun way for your children to learn how recycling works and what materials are recyclable.

There are lots of options to use for this craft projects including toothpaste boxes, cereal boxes, milk cartons, various types of bottles and even tin cans.

Just remember to be careful if you are using sharp objects like scissors so that your kids don’t get hurt.

They can use their imagination to create a new robot every day with boxes of different colors, designs and shapes.

This activity is also great for hand-eye coordination.

Make a bird feeder

A bird feeder is a great way to get your preschooler involved in recycling.

They can learn all the different ways the bird can find food, like the fact that some birds hide food, or others use their sense of hearing.

All you need are some recycled materials for them to create their own bird feeder and fill it with seeds.

This might involve some fine motor skills so your little one can help make sure they are all in the correct place before putting the seed into the feeder.

Milk cartons, cereal boxes and toilet roll tubes are all good materials to use.

Use leftovers to make compost

Composting is a great way to turn food scraps into rich soil for your child’s flowerbeds.

There are lots of different things that can be put in their compost including egg shells, vegetable peelings, and even fruit peels.

Making a compost ensures you’re able to recycle items that aren’t necessarily used anymore and can give your toddler a sense of pride knowing that they’re playing a small part in helping the environment.

They will also learn how useful it is to recycle their food scraps and keep them from going into the garbage.

Enlist the help of your child to sort all leftovers that will be good for the compost and bad for it.

They can then put them into a compost bin and keep the good food scraps out of the rubbish bin.

Make seed paper

Here’s an activity for you and your child to do on a boring day.

Find some paper for your preschooler and help them to make cool and colorful paper with some wildflower seeds.

Let them decide on whatever design they want to make.

Use colored makers to write a sweet message or create a catchy design on the seed papers.

Encourage your toddler to gift it to a loved one who’ll then plant it in their flowerbed.

This will be a fun way to recycle and also encourage them to use up all the seeds they’ve got instead of throwing them away.

This activity is a great way to create something for the environment that your child can be proud of and it may even help them grasp the concept of recycling.

Create cereal box puzzles

Puzzles are one of the best things for your child to play with.

Instead of purchasing puzzles, you can recycle cereal box and establish a puzzle that your child will enjoy.

You could use decorated cereal boxes to create the puzzles.

In that case, help them create their own puzzle by cutting out shapes from a cereal box.

Encourage them to stick the pieces together and try to solve the puzzle while they fit each shape into place.

This will also help your child improve their fine motor skills, cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination.

Make a paper flower vase

Every child should know how paper recycling works.

So, take your leftover papers and create a flower vase with them.

There are many different paper flower vases that you can choose to make.

After gathering the things you need, all you need to do is let your child choose the color and design they want for their flower vase.

Give them glue and stickers so that they can decorate their work of art and show off how this will help the environment.

Reuse glass jars

Glass jars are very versatile and can be reused for all kinds of things.

Many preschoolers love to help with the recycling and feel proud when they learn that they can reuse the jars instead of just throwing them away.

Your child can create a lot of things out of the glass jars, including vases, storage containers and even flower pots.

Additionally, teach them how to make some nice colorful jar arts in which the colors don’t fade after hard usage.

This activity is also good for creativity and letting kids play with colors.

Create snow globes, terrariums, glitter spheres and more.

You’ll be glad to know that these activities will help pass time and they will definitely love to keep busy.

Make a scarecrow

This might turn out to be your child’s favorite recycling activity.

They can pick a couple of their favorite dresses to use for a scarecrow, old hats, and other recycled items.

Use a stick to attach them together and let your toddler decorate the scarecrow.

This is also an excellent way to use up some of the fabric scraps if you have any.

Create a garden

A garden is a great idea for your little one to help you with.

They can plant and water the flowers, pick out the weeds and even take care of bugs in the garden.

All they need are some colorful plants and flowers that they can harvest seed pods from or even seeds if they’re lucky.

This will get them into recycling and they’ll be able to pass their knowledge on to others.

If you have any old ice cream containers or plastic milk cartons, help your preschooler to repurpose these into garden pots and planters.

This will make it easy for them to water their plants or keep them organized.

Additionally, they’ll be able to help you create a little garden any time of the year.

The plants in their garden will be a reminder to them and other people that it’s important to recycle and reuse plastic objects wherever possible.

Repurpose old tires

Old tires have a myriad of applications and uses.

Rather than keep them in the garage or shed, take them outside to your child’s yard and let them use the tires to make a tire swing or hang some plants from them.

You could also support their creativity by telling them that their tires can create things such as animals, gardens and even pieces of furniture for their own room.

This will get them interested in helping out and showing off their new creations to you and your family.

Tire swings are perfect for outdoor playtime and they can be made with a couple of tires.

You will need at least two tires of the same size, some rope, and a few other items.

Make a mask

Halloween is just around the corner and every little one will be looking forward to it.

Instead of buying a mask, help your child make their own recycled mask of a ghoul or monster.

Create some design with your child’s choice of colors.

This will not only be fun for them but also environmentally friendly because they won’t have to buy one from the market.

If you have enough of the items you need, try making a batch for other kids who can use them for their costumes as well.

In this regard, you’ll need to reuse paper plates, cardboard boxes, newspaper and other available materials.

Let their imagination run wild when they use the items available to them in order to create a costume for themselves.

Additionally, you can help them cut and color cardboard boxes, etc to make different shapes for their masks.

This will keep them busy and allow them to have fun without purchasing a mask from the store.

Paint the recycle symbol

Children have to be able to recognize the different recycling symbols.

They should learn that the recycle symbol means that the item can be recycled and reused.

This will help them understand what they can do with items like bottles, cans, newspapers, dishes and plastic bags.

However, if you’re not ready to teach them at this point, there are lots of other ways in which you can help reinforce this knowledge for the future.

For example, you could ask them to draw the recycle symbol on the side of something with a pencil or paint it.

Toddlers learn easily through repetition or hands-on activities and they’ll be able to understand the importance of saving the environment with this activity.

Final Thoughts

There are many, many recycling activities for kids out there.

You can also come up with your own ideas as well.

Kids love to have plenty of fun and these activities can make them realize how they can help the planet while having fun.

However, keep in mind that there are some safety precautions you should take while recycling activities with toddlers and children.

For example, always make sure to use the right amount of supervision to give them comfort and security while they’re at it.


What is recycling in simple words for kids?

In simple words, recycling is the process of converting waste products into new materials and products.

These new materials can be used for the same purposes as the old material or they can be used for something else.

What can children learn from recycling?

Children can learn that they can do a lot of things with their own hands.

They’ll also understand the environment and the importance of recycling.