Taking care of the environment is not only your responsibility, but also your children’s. Recycling can be easy and fun to teach to kids if done in the right way. The home is the ideal place to start teaching kids environmentally responsible practices.
The following tips can all be taught at home, and they are designed to make recycling fun and effective, whatever the ages of your kids may be.
1. Lead by Example
Most kids learn by observing and imitating. Therefore, with recycling, you must practice what you preach. At home, separate your waste into different brightly coloured rubbish bins. These bins should include waste from paper, glass bottles, metallic cans and organic waste. Make sure that when disposing your rubbish, you put each item into the related bin and that your kids observe and repeat your actions.
2. Show Them the Results of Recycling
Kids love to ask the question “why.” Explain to them the benefits of recycling, and if possible, show them the positive effects of recycling. If they can understand and visualize the end result of their efforts, they will be more enthusiastic to practice recycling.
3. Make Recycling Fun
Recycling activities may seem like a chore to kids, which can greatly dampen their enthusiasm. Make recycling fun by turning it into a game. The one who collects the most recyclable materials is the winner! Go creative and come up with your own rules of the game.
4. Provide Incentives
Encourage your kids to earn their pocket money by collecting recyclable materials, and selling them to recycling plants. Enabling your children to earn for themselves will have positive effect for their sense of self-esteem and competence. Alternatively, offer them a reward for a certain amount of materials collected, for example a candy or extra play time. This will boost their motivation for active and conscious recycling in no time.
5. Donate Items to Charity
As kids grow, they outgrow their clothes, toys and books. Rather than packing all these materials into a box that you store in your basement or attic, teach your kids that these items can be used by someone else, especially if they are still in good condition. Take them to the various charities where they can make their donations. Helping others is good for building your children’s moral values.
6. Educate Them with Recycling Facts
Teach your kids about the environment, global warming, changing weather patterns and the effects these could have on their quality of life. Describe to them what will happen in the future unless a change happens now, and let them know that every voice, even that of a little child, can make a difference. This way, you will be able to empower them.
7. Teach Them to Recycle Water
As water is a precious resource abundantly used every day, it is vital to teach the importance of recycling it. Explain to your kids that they can reuse bathing water to flush the toilet, or clean the home. When brushing teeth, they should close the tap, or place a container in the sink underneath it to collect some water for another use.
8. Praise Their Efforts
Encourage your kids to discover more ways to recycle in the home. Once they do, praise their efforts so that they will enthusiastically look for more ways to recycle. In addition, always praise any effort that they make, including those that you have taught them.
9. Participate in Local Initiatives
Your local community should have active recycling initiatives to encourage people to make better use of their resources. Next time there is a meeting, take your kids with you. Let them meet others who recycle, as this should stimulate them to do the same. It will also give them the opportunity to pick up tips that can make their recycling efforts easier and more fruitful.
10. Use Recyclable Shopping Bags
Most kids will accompany their mothers to the grocery store to shop. You can inspire them to protect the environment by avoiding destructive plastic bags and carrying their own reusable bags to the store. This will become a habit for them. For more tips on building a zero waste shopping routine for you and your kids, check out our article.
11. Create a Compost Heap
Biodegradable waste can be used to create a compost heap, which needs to be watched and created over a period of time. This will teach your kids to be patient, and that they can create a recyclable material that can add to their quality of life. From the compost practice, you can introduce a further step of growing organic food at home.
12. Take Advantage of Online Resources
Young kids spend a lot of their time online. Expose them to online resources that will educate and inform them about the benefits and methods of recycling. A fun way is to use educational video games about recycling.
13. Create Crafts
Use your recyclable materials to create crafts that are multifunctional, attractive and an expression of creativity. Make paper mache figures from used paper, and reinvent uses for jars in a million different ways. Making crafts encourages your kids to be creative, think outside the box, and if they enjoy it, they will actively look for more projects that utilize recyclable material.
14. Get Them to Form a Club
If your kids’ are engaged in an activity, their peers will probably want to join in as well. Encourage all the children from the neighbourhood to take part by getting your kids to establish a club that is dedicated to recycling efforts. With the right activities and a passionate interest, a recycling club can grow successfully.
15. Keep It Simple
Recycling does not need to be complicated. Make it simple for your kids to get into the rhythm of recycling. Divide your recycling bins according to different types of materials. For easier access, place recycling bins in their rooms, and paste funny labels on them. Create categories that they can easily discern. This should remind your kids to constantly recycle.
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