Fun Recycling Activities!

Although most people think of recycling as dumping used materials into the recycling bin, there are also many fun ways to use those same materials. The best thing about making new things out of recycled goods is that less trash reaches the landfills. Did you know that you could even make your own toys, games and musical instruments with recycled items? Start by asking your parents to save any empty tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons and plastic cans or pots before they take out the recycling. Once you have a few of these materials, try out these fun activities!

Recycled Materials Guitar

To make a guitar, you will first need to glue or tape an empty paper towel roll to the short side of an empty tissue box. Paint the entire thing with your favorite colors. If you like, you can even decorate it with stickers. Next, get a few elastic bands of different sizes and stretch them along the long side of the tissue box that has a hole. Now you’re all done! Try and make up your own song on your new guitar. Perhaps you can even write a tune about recycling!

Egg Carton Crocodile

An egg carton crocodile is a great toy and you can even make it as a gift for a friend or sibling. First you need an egg carton and a couple of white ping-pong balls. Make sure the carton is closed, and then glue the balls in the center of the carton lid. Get a permanent marker and draw eyeballs on the ping-pong balls. Next, get some tin foil and make a bunch of little triangles or cones. Glue them on the inside of the egg carton, along the top and bottom, so that they look like teeth. Paint the crocodile green and draw some scales. Finally, get a piece of red paper or card and draw a little tongue for your croc. Glue it inside his mouth for a funny face!

DIY Percussion Instruments

With this tutorial, you will learn how to make two different percussion instruments. A percussion instrument is something that makes noise, such as a drum or shaker. To make a drum, get a yogurt container and make sure it is clean. You won’t need the lid. Find a strong sheet of paper (or use a double layer of wax paper) and cover the top of the container. Secure the rubber band with a piece of paper, and you now have a perfect homemade hand drum! You can also wrap some paper around the yogurt container and draw or paint to decorate it.

To make a shaker, get an empty metal pop can and clean it inside. Make sure the ring pull is removed. Fill the can about two-thirds with raw rice or dry beans. Next, get some paper and wrap it around the can, as well as on the top. Glue it so it stays in place. Paint it or use stickers to decorate it. With your two percussion instruments, you can now make your own rhythms!

Composting Lesson Plan

Composting is a very different way of recycling. It involves collecting organic materials from inside the home, such as coffee grounds, eggshells, and fruit or veggie peelings, as well as outdoor materials like leaves and plant clippings. Ask an adult to help you create an enclosed area outdoors for the compost heap. It should be sheltered from rain and inaccessible to animals. When you put the waste items together in a compost heap and add layers of slightly moist soil, over time all of these items naturally break down to create healthy, rich soil that can be used in the garden. Composting is a great example of creating something positive and helpful from waste.

Exploring Recycling Attitudes

In this activity, you need to get together with classmates to learn how people think about and deal with recycled waste. Have a brainstorm session to think about questions to ask people. Some examples can include whether people recycle or not, how they recycle, and what they recycle. Draft a survey form and make some photocopies for every student to distribute. After everyone has had a chance to carry out their surveys, discuss the results in class. Were there large differences in the respondents’ feedback? Create a graph or chart to see how significant recycling attitudes are in your area. Is there anything you can do the help encourage people to recycle more?