Recycle games for kids to play

recycling sign, for cans on a blue recycling bin image by hazel proudlove from

Recycling is necessary because people are creating more waste than before due to increased population and lifestyle and wealth changes, as asserted by the Recycling Guide website. Because the amount of recycling people do today impacts the earth for future generations, it is important to get kids involved with recycling. Recycling games achieve this objective. There are both offline and online recycling games available for children.


Sorting games are good choices for children because they challenge visual and cognitive skills like accommodating space and seeing similarities between objects. To turn sorting into a recycling game, take mixed recycling items and put them in a large container--an old storage tub or even an old outdoor toddler pool works just fine. Label other tubs for paper, plastic, glass, cardboard, metal and batteries/electronics. Use pictures for the labels if the children are very young. Then have children work together to see how fast they can get all the items in the correct bins, or call out each type of item and see which child can get that type of item to the correct bin first. Give items like small pads of recycled paper as prizes.

Michael, Michael, Go Recycle!

Michael, Michael, Go Recycle is a kids' online recycling game from the Kaboose website. In this game, you must walk around the park and collect recyclable items. When you have as many items as you can carry, you have to find the correct recycling bin and deposit the right items. Picking up and depositing the items is easy--all you have to do is walk into the items and bins. The game also teaches the importance of sharing recycling information with others--you walk into other park members to turn them into good recyclers.

Recycling Scavenger Hunt

If you have an area in your community that could use some trash pickup, have your kids do a recycling scavenger hunt. Give each child a plastic trash bag, gloves and a list of items to find, such as an old plastic fast food cup or newspaper. Set limits on how far the children can go to search for the items and have the children work with a buddy for safety. The first team to come back with all the items on the list wins. If no team can find all the items, then the team with the most items wins.

What Is It Worth?

Every recyclable item has a value, as shown by the fact that recycling centres will pay for things like aluminium cans and newspaper. Write out some cards with questions like the following: "A newspaper is worth 5 cents. If you take 50 newspapers to the recycling centre, how much will the centre pay you?" Then have the children do the math to figure out what the profit would be. There are many variations possible for this game. For instance, you could have children see who gets the answer fastest, require only mental math, or have children figure out how much they need to recycle to cover the cost of a particular item they want.

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