Activities, Kids, Tips / How-Tos

Recycling for Kids: How to Build a Habit and Make It Fun

In the eyes of a child, modern delivery services are like real-life magic. We press a button and within days—or even hours!—boxes arrive on our doorstep. Amazing as it is, it’s important to teach our kids that these boxes aren’t magic: they don’t just appear out of nowhere, and they certainly don’t vanish into thin air.

To show your children how to responsibly dispose of unused packaging and other waste, check out the following tips and activities for recycling for kids. You’ll go green together and have fun doing it!

Tips for Teaching Kids to Recycle

The earlier you build recycling into your family routine, the more your children will come to expect it. Start with these tips to lay a successful foundation of recycling for kids:

  • Explain why. Your children will feel more invested if they understand why recycling matters and how they’re making a difference.
  • Show how. Explain which items can be recycled and how to identify the symbols. Practice sorting glass, plastics, paper and garbage into the correct bins together.
  • Be an example. Just like eating their veggies, kids often model parental behavior when it comes to recycling. Make sure you’re leading by example!
  • Do it together. Give each family member an official recycling role, or put older kids in charge of teaching the little ones so that you’re all in it together.

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5 Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Recycling

While consistency and example-setting are key, a little fun never hurts! Throw some excitement into the mix with these interactive activities to teach kids about recycling.

1. Read a book.

With the right book, story time is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids how to protect our planet. Children of all ages can enjoy earth-friendly reads:

  • Preschoolers and kindergarteners will love the liftable flaps of Don’t Throw That Away! and the colorful characters of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
  • School-age kids may appreciate a daring superhero tale like Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel or the story of Gambian women who recycle in One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul.

2. Create a kids’ recycling bin.

kids recycling bin craft

Kids love having a space of their own, whether it’s kid-friendly snack shelves in the pantry or their own special recycling bin. Buy a small plastic bin (or reuse a large cardboard box!) and have your little ones make it their own. Bonus points if you reuse old newspapers or magazines as collage-style decorations!

3. Visit a recycling facility.

If your community has one, take your children to see the local recycling facility. Many facilities offer public tours, and some even have special programs about recycling for kids. Your children will discover for themselves where all those bottles, containers and boxes go—and the surprising ways they can be renewed!

4. Make it a game.

Why not create some friendly competition with creative recycling games? Here are a few ideas:

  • As an outdoor activity for the whole family, embark on a neighborhood clean-up and compete to pick up the most recyclable trash.
  • Play “recycling basketball” by setting up bins in the backyard and throwing non-breakable items into the correct ones.
  • Play online games that help children learn how to divide common items between compost, recycle and trash bins.

5. Have a craft day.

One of the best ways to make recycling for kids more fun is to let them turn trash into treasure! Take everyday items that you’d otherwise pitch or recycle and have your kids cut, paste, glitter and finger paint them to their hearts’ content.

How to Recycle Nurture Life Packaging

At Nurture Life, we want our children and yours to inherit a world as vibrant as the one we see today. That’s why we package our baby, toddler and kid meals with recyclable and compostable materials and encourage our customers to recycle or reuse each piece.  

Cardboard Boxes

cardboard box crafts

You can always break down our cardboard boxes and recycle them with paper, but we really love reusing them instead! Our boxes make the perfect foundation for tons of kid-friendly cardboard crafts, from lacing cards to mini cityscapes.

Ice Packs

Our gel packs are non-toxic and food-safe, and they can be reused for an outdoor picnic or to keep your kids’ school lunch boxes cold. If you have enough ice packs already, simply cut the package open, discard the gel in the trash and recycle the plastic bag.

Jars and Trays

recycling jars bubbles

Our jars and trays is BPA- and phthalate-free and can be recycled with plastics in your curbside bin. Jar lids are made of #5 plastic and can be disposed of in most curbside recycling bins. (Check your local recycling program!)

Just like our cardboard boxes, though, we love upcycling our jars in creative ways:

  • Hand-decorated planters for fresh herbs and spices
  • Perfectly kid-sized jars for bubble wands
  • Color-coded storage jars for acrylic or finger paint
  • Cute holders for crayons, markers or colored pencils
  • Organizers for hair accessories or costume jewelry

Insulation

recycling insulation

Our insulated liners are made of 85% recycled plastic bottles. Marked with the number 1, they’re easy for your kids to recycle in your curbside bin along with other plastic household containers.

Whether you’re creating one-of-a-kind crafts from Nurture Life boxes or sorting glass bottles to recycle at the curb, you’re doing so much more than teaching kids to recycle! Every item you reuse or recycle shows your little ones that we can make a difference in the world around us.

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Katie Headshot

Katie Klepek

As the director of marketing at Nurture Life, Katie gets to combine her passions—family, food and healthy lifestyle choices—with crafting a personalized experience for Nurture Life’s brand. She has over 18 years experience in business, communications, marketing and event planning, having co-founded the successful event production company Reinventing Events. Katie’s diverse background allows her to effectively combine communication and organization skills to develop, plan and deliver results. Born and raised in the Midwest, Katie attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in English and Communication. When she’s not spreading her cheer (and eating cookies) at Nurture Life, Katie runs marathons and co-hosts a horror movie podcast with her husband. She has a 3-year-old daughter who has grown up on Nurture Life with another girl on the way!