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How to get your children recycling

I have to admit I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to recycling! I have been known on more than one occasion to delve into bins to retrieve an item that has been wrongly placed and put them in the correct box to be recycled. With my children it seemed like an impossible task to get them to dispose of their waste accordingly, but the good news is, there is a way!

Rubbish on a beach

Did you know more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year? This is having a devastating impact on our environment, marine life and our health. For me it’s important to teach our children to protect the world we live in and that we all need to be doing our bit to reduce waste; so here are some idea to help make recycling part of your families daily routine.

Label bins

Make it easy by labelling bins with pictures of what items need to be placed in where. Or consider having different coloured lids on each bin, you can then use our activity sheet to teach your little one where things are placed by asking them to cut out each object and place them on the colour they belong in. Click here to download your labels!

Read books

Learn together about what happens to our waste, the environment and why we recycle. These books are really good for building on their understanding and keeping the discussion going.

Recycling books

Make a reward chart

charts are a great way to encourage news skills and behaviours. Start by making the chart together, setting a goal and deciding what the reward will be. It’s a good idea to make the goal easy at first so your child definitely gets the reward then as they become more successful, gradually make it harder.

For example you could reward your child a sticker every time they place an item in the correct bin, collect five stickers over two days, and they can receive their reward. Rewards do not mean expensive gifts, it could be anything from going to the park or baking a cake together.

Up cycle

Encourage your children to think of different uses for materials they no longer use. My children love painting big boxes and turning them into cars or rockets. You can turn old plastic bottles into musical instruments, click on link for Early Start BSiL teams guide to making a cool shaker. Click here for a bottle shaker activity sheet!

Make compost and plant seeds

Disposing left over vegetable peelings and grass cutting into a compost bin reduces waste and enriches the soil, win, win!

Here is a good guide to making compost with children.

Then have fun planting the seeds in the compost! Start off by planting sunflower seeds as they are easy to grow, why not have a competition to see who can grow the tallest sunflower!

Sing Songs

Singing songs can makes all tasks fun, I love this one:

(To the tune of Frere Jacues)

We recycle! We recycle!

Yes we do! Yes we do!

Caring for our planet, Caring for our planet,

You should too! You should too!

Do you have any tips to encourage families to recycle more?

By Sue Brown

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