Turn Your Kid into a Recycling Machine!

My three-year-old daughter and I were standing outside of a store on a regular Saturday morning. "Look mom! That can is for motorcycling!" 


We were staring straight at a trash can with the large recycling symbol on it.

"Oh, you mean recycling?"  


"Wait, how do you know about recycling?"

It was only after she explained that they have a special recycling bin at preschool for their paper that I realized my kid was already wise to a greener way of living, and all it took was a symbol on a garbage bin. I took this as a sign to start introducing her to more ways to recycle around the house, and it hasn't stopped yet! Here are my tips for how to teach your child about recycling.

Know Your Materials

Plastic. Glass. Paper. Teach your child that all of these things are safe and easy to recycle and should go in a recycling bin instead of the garbage can. It's something you can easily talk about when you're about to throw things away, but you can even start the conversation earlier! For example, when we're at the grocery store buying things, I'll ask my daughter, "Can we recycle this container when we're done with it?" 

Designate Spaces for Recycling

Decide where you can designate space for recycling, either inside the house or out! For us, we have a paper recycling box in our office, where our daughter also has her art area. We go through her artwork on a weekly basis and save some but recycle the rest to make paper for another lucky kid! However, for our plastic bottles and cans, we set up recycling boxes in the garage. We purchased plastic bins from IKEA and lined them with garbage bags. When they're full, then we know it's time to make a trip to the recycling center with our goods!

Make It a "Chore" by Making It Fun 

We've made "recycling time!" a fun time in our house. Once a week, I'll turn on music for 10 minutes, and it's time to go around the house and find everything that needs recycling and put it in its place. That means old newspapers, magazines, soda bottles left around the house, etc. We've changed what could be a very boring clean-up task into something postive and fun with the hope that the recycling lessons we're teaching now will be a way of life for our daughter in the future!

Do your kids love to recycle as well? What are your tricks to pass on green lessons to your kids?

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