I just recently gave a presentation in a climate resilience workshop in Australia. I do some contractual work in this space in the Pacific Island where I live– random, I know. These last two years working in climate resilience has helped me realize a few things about our planet. We can teach our kids about recycling to help the planet and help them learn about community.
Incorporating recycling into our everyday lives can be easy and it can let kids know that we can make a difference, even if only a little at a time. I love that recycling can teach our kids that we are a small part of something bigger, but our small part counts.
I like to compare our role as humans choosing to recycle with God’s grand design for the church. 1 Corinthians says this:
“For the body does not consist of one part, but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
But in fact, God has arranged the members of the body, every one of them, according to His design. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you.” Nor can the head say to the feet, “I do not need you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts we consider less honorable, we treat with greater honor. And our unpresentable parts are treated with special modesty, whereas our presentable parts have no such need.
These scriptures show us that in God’s kingdom we all fill a role, we all have a place, a responsibility, and are accountable to each other.
That is how I feel we should view our role on the planet. We can do our own part and work together to make a difference. God’s Word is a great segway to teaching kids about recycling. Note: November 15 is America Recycles Day.
Here is how I taught my kids about recycling. The process was simple but meaningful.
- Define what recycling is:
Teach kids that recycling involves processing some materials into new products to avoid wasting raw materials that would normally cause pollution to the earth. Teach them about common recyclable materials like paper, glass, plastic, and metals.
- Discuss what can be recycled:
Teach kids how to compost food. Other recyclable materials are metal, glass bottles, plastic and more.
- Teach the effects of these materials on the environment:
For instance, plastics resist decomposition and can be in our environment for thousands of years. Kids will be sad to learn that over 700,000 plastic bottles are littered every day.
- Actually start recycling.
Check out these resources to teach kids about recycling:
How to Teach Kids About Recycling (FREE Printables)| Zagura
Best Recycling Websites for Kids | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
FREE Recycling Sort | Simply Kinder
FREE Printable Recycling Game for Kids | Sugar, Spice, and Glitter
FREE Recycle Sort Game Teaches Kids about Recycling | We are Teachers
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Science Unit | A Dab of Glue Will Do
Practical Life Skills – Recycling for Kids | Mama’s Happy Hive
Create a Pretend Play Recycling Center | Pre-K Printable Fun
Printable Recycling Game | Adventure in the Box
Clever Tips to Teach Kids the Value of Recycling | Mom Trends
Ways To Teach Kids About Recycling | Premeditated Leftovers
10 Activities That Teach Kids about Recycling | No Time for Flashcards
Top 20 Recycling Games And Activities For Kids | Mom Junction
6 Ways to Teach Kids About Recycling | Moms Need to Know
Recycle!: A Handbook for KidsNot for me, please!: I choose to act greenWhy Should I Recycle? (Why Should I? Books)The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle (What Do You Know About? Books)Kid Connection Powered Garbage Truck, Lights and Sounds Rugged Recycling Play Set, 11 PieceWhat a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our PlanetThe Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling (Little Green Books)Don’t Throw That Away!: A Lift-the-Flap Book about Recycling and Reusing (Little Green Books)Recycling! (Helping Hands Series)Recycling Is Fun (My Little Planet)
Do something to teach recycling:
Recycled Art for Kids | Teaching Mama
How to Make Recycled Paper At Home | STEAMsational
Learning Activities using Recyclables | Teach Me Mommy
We should all care about clean air, clean water, and preserving our natural resources the best way we can. We do understand that earth is not our home and that living green won’t save our earth above God’s sovereignty.
However, with a Christian worldview, we are called by God’s Word to be good stewards of this earth. Since God created the earth and has given us dominion over it (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:6-8), we are commanded to care for the planet responsibly. Help your kids understand recycling with these resources to help them learn to do their part.