Recycling is not only good for the environment, because by recycling you help to preserve and save our planet, but it can also save your money, because often recycling leads to lifestyle changes that involve less energy consumption and more conscious shopping. But even if we, as adults, understand the importance of recycling, often kids see it as boring and not necessary, therefore it is important to teach children about recycling and do it in a way that is fun and exciting, so they want to continue doing it.
One of the ways you can teach your kids about recycling, the benefits of it and how important it is to do it, is with the help of science and experiments, because for kids, getting to actually do some experiments and be active, instead of just listening about why they should recycle, is much more interesting and that will definitely get their attention. For example, you can show kids how important it is to collect all paper and put it in correct recycling bins with an experiment that will result in your own recycled paper, because then kids will see, that all of the paper they use can be made in new blank sheets of paper by just recycling them, meaning that chopping off trees and manufacturing them isn’t the only nor the best way to create paper.
For this experiment you will need: old paper that will be recycled, a blender, hot water, a bucket, a good sized square pan, piece of window screen that is the size of your pan, an iron, measuring cup for precise measurements, dye or vegetable scraps for color and some tea towels or cloth.
The experiment: Start by taking your paper that you are going to be recycling, tearing it up in smaller pieces and soaking it in a bucket of hot water for about 30 minutes. When the water has socked, take about a handful of the soaked water and put it in the blender, add some of the vegetable scraps of dye for color and blend the paper until it looks like a mush. After you have the paper mush ready, pour it into a measuring cup, because that will help you to more precisely measure your paper. When that is done, take your pan and pour water in it, so it is about 3 cm deep, then add the window screen on top of the water and pour one cup of the paper mush on to the screen. Make sure you spread it evenly on the window by submerging the screen in the shallow water, because that will make your job easier. Then lift the window out of the pan, let the water drain from the window and lay the screen face down on some cloth or tea towels. Then gently lift the screen away, leaving the paper much on the cloth. Afterwards, all you have left to do is to cover the pulp with another cloth, iron over the cloth to flatten the newly made paper and press out all excess moisture from it and let it sit and dry for about 24 hours. The next day take off the top cloth and you should be left with a new and recycled paper that you can use again.
If you or your kids are not keen on science experiments, there are also many different board and online games that are especially dedicated for learning more about recycling. For example http://www.sciencekids.co.nz has a game called “Schoolyard recycling” that will challenge the kids knowledge of recycling, because in the game your kids will need to arrange different type of waste into correct bin – recycling, compost or trash. But if your kids are more into board games, you can try to play with them games such as “Do the Blue Recycling Game” or “Recycling” that in conjunction of being fun games, will teach your kids more about recycling and how to do it properly.
Another way to tech the kids about recycling or at least about the basic purposes and proper ways of recycling is to use fun and colorful illustrative materials. There are many different maps, diagrams and simple materials available on the internet that you can print out to help you not only illustrate what you are telling your kids, but also to make sure you tech your kids the right things about recycling.
And lastly, if your kids like different gadgets and devices, you can also get some fun recycling tools that will help you not only show your kids that recycling can be fun, but they can actually be part of the recycling process in your household. A good example of a recycling device that will be entertaining for the kids, is a can crusher in shape of a frog or any other kind of animal. This gadget will be fun, because of the shape it is in and what it does and your kids will start recycling not even really knowing it.