Recycling is becoming progressively important as we use up more resources and find our landfills increasingly full of garbage. For some people, the task of recycling is tedious and separating paper from plastics is an unwelcome chore. Others enjoy recycling and feel good about making a difference in keeping the earth clean. No matter how you feel about recycling the important thing is that you do it. And if you have kids, recycling presents the perfect opportunity to get them involved and teach them about the impact they can have on the environment.
If you want to get your kids involved with recycling, the first thing you should do is become educated yourself. More knowledge about recycling in your community will make you a better resource from which your kids can learn. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and kids will be more eager to follow in your footsteps. So learn about the different types of recyclables and what they are used for. Research where different products come from, how they are made, and all the things they can be turned into with recycling. Ask your kids to brainstorm ways the entire family can use less resources. Sometimes children will have great suggestions on how to increase the amount of material that is put into the recycling box rather than the garbage can. Get your kids primed for participation and they'll soon show an appreciation for a fun new way to recycle.
Getting your children involved can start with the recycling containers you use. Most homes have standard recycling containers and while these will work just fine, there is no rule that you have to use them exclusively. With a little bit of ingenuity and imagination you and your children can make individualized recycling containers. Appropriate sized bins are easy to purchase and you can buy different colors for each of your children. Encourage your kids to decorate their recycling bins using things like liquid chalkboard or felt markers to write their names. From there they can use recyclable materials to further personalize their bins. After the new recycling bins are made, the family can display everyone's container and the contest to see who can fill theirs up first can begin.
Along with placing recyclables into bins in preparation for pickup, you can also try some arts and crafts. All it takes is a bit of effort to sift through your pile of recyclables and clean the materials where appropriate. When you're done you'll have access to a whole slew of neat craft supplies such as bottle caps, soda cans, and cardboard. You might have to buy some further supplies such as glue or crayons, but otherwise any average home will already have enough components for a great session of creativity. The things that you make with your children will only be limited by your imagination. You can try some macaroni art, picture frames, or even some sculptures based on a given theme.
Recyclables can also be used for a variety of games that will easily keep your kids occupied for an afternoon. For example, you can try putting on a "garbage garage sale" where your kids take various recyclables and put them on display for sale. Or with enough empty soda bottles you could try a quick game of "recycle bowling". And it might take a bit of organization, but there's nothing stopping you and your family from holding a "recycling Parade" where each member of the family can show off their hand-crafted floats made from re-usable objects.
You already have all the materials you need for these activities in your house. Rather than throwing them out with the trash you can dispose of them properly in a fun way with the help of your children. So whether you simply want to do something about the environment, or you're just looking for an activity to keep your kids busy, recycling offers an opportunity to do both. The next time you grab a soda can to throw into the recycling bin, think about how you can use it as a creative tool to keep your kids entertained. Better yet, use it as an opportunity to educate them about an activity that will lead to our overall sustainability.