Saturday, 19 February 2011

Teaching Kids To Recycle

Recycling can be a FUN activity for the kiddos. My 4-year-old son loves to be my little helper when it comes to recycling. A few months back, I made him labeled bins out of A4 paper boxes which I asked some dear friends of mine to get from their office. I have to give credit to my sister-in-law again for giving me the idea of using these boxes. They are easily available and just the right size for the kids. I think all kids will be curious enough to want to know about recycling. It would be lost opportunity if parents don't take the effort to teach them at this young age. Here's how to teach your child to recycle

1. Explain the recycling concept to your child.
Tell him in easy kid language like "used paper can be made into new paper again". It's good to also teach them the 3Rs- Reuse (eg. reusing gift wrappers), Reduce (eg. using reusable shopping bags to reduce the use of plastic bags) and Recycle (eg. aluminium cans can be melted down again to make new aluminium cans). Of course, always start slow and gradually introduce these concepts along the way or he might just get confused.

2. Get those boxes.
Or any suitable containers for that matter. I collected 4 boxes for these categories - 'paper', 'aluminium cans', 'tetra paks' and 'plastic'. I am sure you can easily get these boxes from photocopy shops around your neighbourhood.

3. Make this into a fun craft activity for your kids.
I drew (you can print) the recycling logo on sheets of used A4 paper and had my son colour them. While he did that, I made the respective labels with simple sketched pictures of the recyclables and their names (see, you can encourage your child to learn to read the labels - what educational fun!)

4. Glue the labels on the boxes and start recycling.
Start with things he can already recognise - I find paper a good thing to start with.

5. Inculcate "think before you throw" habit.
I have to remind my son to do that at the beginning but now he does it on his own - after finishing a cup of yogurt or a packet (tetra pak) of drink, he'd say "Can this be recycled?! Yeeesss....", and off he goes to the bins.

Dear parents, recycling is good, wholesome fun for your kids. Do encourage them at home and you'll find that the future would truly be a better place. Happy recycling kiddos!

If you're wondering where to send your recyclables, here's a link to Alam Flora's list.

Also, a list of things you can recycle, by Alam Flora
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