To ensure that future generations in Canada carry on the work of taking care of the planet, it’s important to know how to teach children about recycling.

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Canadian kids, like children everywhere, are learning to be global citizens and care for the limited resources of the world we all live in.

While there are many aspects to being eco-friendly and reducing your environmental footprint, recycling is one that takes a prominent place and deserves to be taught as a unique topic, as well as part of the bigger picture.

Here are 6 tips for engaging young people in the topic of recycling in ways that will imprint on their lifelong habits. You’ll want to do more than just talk about it. Actual experience is the way to make a lesson stick.

1. Introduce the Three Rs

To create a context for the topic of recycling as part of the bigger eco-friendly picture, introduce the three Rs before you do any other activities. The three Rs being to reduce, reuse, and recycle.


To give them an understanding of reducing, have them show you ideas for things it isn’t necessary to buy when you go on a shopping trip. Have them look for items that aren’t eco-friendly and are not an essential purchase.

Helping children understand reducing as being the most important thing they can do to help the planet is a valuable concept to impress on them. It’s a great advantage to have them resist the temptation to fill their lives with clutter.


To demonstrate reusing, discuss items around the home that can be reused after the initial purpose is finished. Then, have them productively reuse one of the things. For example, they could use a worn-out t-shirt as a rag for cleaning their room.

Make reusing a regular habit in your home so that it’s the first thought that comes to their mind when they’re finished with the original use of an object.


While recycling will be explored in more detail in the ideas below, you can introduce it as part of the three Rs by having your kids help you set up a recycling system in your home. Find out what the recycling categories are for your local municipality and create a bin for each type of recycling.

2. Gardening Based on Recycling

One area where you can introduce recycling in a fun way is to get your kids involved in recycling in the garden. It’s the perfect way to encourage ecotherapy, too. The more children interact with nature, the more they will become conscious of protecting it.

Some of the things you can recycle in the garden include building a container to catch rainwater for watering plants and using food waste to create compost to use as fertilizer.

Recycling food scraps is an excellent way to teach the idea of which things are biodegradable and which items will sit in the landfill for years to come.

3. Read Books about Recycling

There are books about every subject imaginable these days, and topics like recycling are no exception. Go to the local library together and find books about recycling to share. Or you can use e-books as a way to encourage less use of paper.

Children’s books usually explain complicated topics in easy-to-understand ways that children love. It’s an entertaining way to delve into an important subject. They could even create their own book on brown craft paper to show their understanding of the topic.

4. Visit a Recycling Center

Many recycling and environmental centers have educational programs that are perfect for teaching kids about the importance of protecting the environment.

Check with your local recycling authority to see if they have a program in place or if you would be able to get a tour of the facility with someone who can explain the process. You can also take your child along if you need to do a dropoff of recycling items.

5. Be the Change You Want Kids to Imitate

One of the most impressionable ways to teach children about recycling and caring for Earth is to make sure they see you doing the things that help.

Do things that are eco-friendly as consistently as possible so that they’ll be sure to witness your activities. Children like to imitate adults, and you’ll set a good example with your efforts to help the environment heal and thrive.

When you do things around the home like reusing items or recycling, make it part of the daily dialogue, explain the steps you take and the importance of what you’re doing.

6. Use Video Games about Recycling

If you do a search, you’ll likely be able to find video games about recycling and other eco-friendly activities.

Kids love to learn by being entertained. It’s an excellent way to implant the idea of taking care of the environment by recycling whenever possible.

Use these tips and any other ideas you can think of to help children learn about the importance of recycling as often as possible. Start early to create the mindset of protecting our planet home.

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