Recycling Habits Start Early
All parents want to leave the world a better place for their children. While it sometimes feels like we don’t have much control over what happens down the line, one of the best ways to ensure that there will be a healthy planet for future generations is to teach little ones about recycling now so that they grow up with awareness about waste and an appreciation for preserving resources. After all, our babies will inherit our planet so let’s help them to enjoy it.
The earlier good habits are ingrained, the easier it is to incorporate them into your daily life. Here are some activities that will help kids understand what recycling is and how they can be part of it:
Litter in the park. When you visit a park or beach and spot some rubbish on the ground, explain how this can affect wildlife like birds. Birds often eat this rubbish and it can make them sick. Bring some bags and pairs of gloves to help clean it up.
Make recycling bins. Sorting out recyclables is a surprisingly fun activity for young kids. Let them decorate bins with pictures of what should go in each one (paper, plastic, cans, etc.) and then give them some items to practice sorting. Explain how it’s important to put everything in the right bin so that it can all be processed easily once it gets to the recycling facility.
Bedtime stories. Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, a classic, is a great way to give kids an early look into the world of environmentalism. The Little Green Books from Simon & Schuster are also fun reads and include titles like The Adventures of an Aluminium Can, My First Garden and I Can Save the Ocean!
Explore the rooms of your house. When recycling, we often mainly focus on the kitchen, but there are things you can recycle and reuse all over your home. Have kids walk into a specific room and point out what they think can be recycled — if you’re not sure, research it together. Whether it’s stuffed animals in a bedroom, paint in the shed or bottles in a bathroom, there are plenty of items that don’t have to be destined for the landfill. Go over how items can be reused or ‘up-cycled’, too — old toys can be donated to charities, pants that are outgrown can turn into shorts and mismatched board game pieces can become jewellery. This will help kids get in the habit of thinking about where their outgrown items can find a new home once they’re done with them.
Recycling challenge. Before throwing things into the rubbish bin ask your child which bin they think it should go into and why – kids are super clever and habits form fast so they’ll be able to make their own choices in no time. Make it fun & involve everyone, even Nana can have a turn.