Recycling is vital to the future of the planet, and kids are eager to learn about it, if you make it fun. We take some tips from the experts
Scott Hawthorne from the waste management company SkipsAndBins.com shares his top tips for teaching your kids about recycling in a way that will keep them entertained.
“If you’ve been home-schooling your children for the last few months, and you want to make sure you’re prepared for the upcoming summer holidays, you might be looking for new and interesting ways to keep them entertained.
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“And, if you’re becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of your household, you might also be interested in teaching them more about the importance of recycling, and how they can get this right.
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“To help you reach both of these goals, I’m going to share three engaging ways you can teach your kids about recycling. There are lots of fun activities that will help you with this, and here are my favourites.”
Arrange your own beach clean-up
“Whenever you visit the beach, it’s likely you see the odd bit of rubbish. Not only does this make your seaside experience less idyllic, but the likes of drinks cans and bottles can cause a lot of trouble for marine wildlife if it makes its ways into the sea. While people certainly shouldn’t be dropping their litter when they’re at the beach in the first place, it’s worth you picking up any items that you see, so long as you can do this safely.
“So, if you’re looking for a way to keep your kids occupied this summer, while simultaneously teaching them about managing household waste responsibly, why not plan a family beach clean-up? Just make sure you all wear safety gloves and use litter pickers, as well as sanitise your hands often.
“Once you’ve collected all of your rubbish, sit down with your kids to separate the litter into what can and can’t be recycled.
“TerraCycle actually has a great beach plastic recycling service, which means you can arrange for any rigid plastics that you find to be collected. You could also ask your kids to jump on their computers and tablets to research how the rest of their beach clean-up litter will be best disposed of. This way, they’ll know more for next time!
Repurpose some of your household waste
“Recycling doesn’t just stop at putting items into the right bin — it can also involve repurposing certain pieces of litter to give them a longer lifespan. A lot of common pieces of rubbish, such as plastic bottles, food tins, and egg cartons, can often make great craft materials, so why not encourage your kids to turn some of your rubbish that was previous destined for the landfill into something more exciting?
“Just make sure you wash all of your rubbish thoroughly before giving it to your kids, and make sure there are no sharp edges on cans and tins that they might hurt themselves on.
“You could turn tins into vases, water bottles into piggy banks, and toilet roll tubes into pen holders. The fun is really in working out what you can do with the materials you have, so you can always let your kids decide for themselves, too.
“If you think your children will be up for it (or you can convince them with the promise of a prize), you could even ask your little ones to do some of their own research into what can and can’t be recycled. It’s sometimes surprising what falls into which category, so it’s likely they’ll learn a lot along the way. Then they’ll be able to apply their newfound knowledge when they’re throwing things away in the future.
“If you want to go all out, you could put together a presentation and host your own at-home quiz show. If you need some inspiration for the actual quiz, CBBC has a great quiz to test your kids’ recycling knowledge, but you can also add your own questions.
“You could even make it especially interactive by putting certain items of household waste aside, and then using them as part of your quiz to make it all a bit more engaging. Just make sure there’s something in it for the winner so your kids take it seriously! If you’re serious about helping them to become more environmentally aware, it’s worth keeping this in mind when you’re choosing the prize.”
If you’re looking for some new ways to keep your kid entertained during the summer holidays, and you would also like to teach them more about living responsibly and in a sustainable way, these tips should help! Take them on board, and your kids will know all of the ins and outs of recycling in no time at all.