Decorate a Recycle Bin


Great way to introduce recycling is by making your own bin. After waiting 2 months for one to arrive from the city we decided to make our own. It was a perfect way to introduce recycling to young children. You can talk about the types of materials that can be recycled and the importance of recycling.
Make a recycle bin with your child.


  • Large Bin with Cover
  • Print out the word Recycling in large letters.
  • Foam Stickers
  • Packing Tape
  • Acrylic Paint (optional)


  • Empty a bin and print label.
  • Put clear packing tape over the letters to keep it drier.
  • Put stickers on to decorate.
  • Print out list of items your city allows to be recycled. Tape to inside lid.
  • Printable Recycle Symbol to color or put on the recycle bin.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Print the list of items to be recycled in large print for your child. Collect a sample of each item.
  • You can go one step farther and label each item and have your child match the words.

Other Ideas

Recycle Game

Collect various items to recycle in the bin. With your child go over the list of different items to recycle. See if your child can classify what category the items are: glass, paper, cardboard, plastic, etc. Find a few things in your home made from recycled goods or go to the store and point out a few. You can find recycled post it notes, note cards, clothing, bags and more. It didn't take long for the girls to learn what items to recycle. One day they brought home their juice boxes from school and asked if they could recycle it. Another day they brought home their drinkable yogurt containers. When I said, I am not sure that is recyclable...they said, "Yes, mommy, it has the sign on the bottom!" ...and it did!

Educational Notes

  • The universal recycling symbol is an internationally-recognized symbol used to designate recyclable materials. It is composed of three arrows which are often green with a black outline or white with a black outline.
  • A book is a great way to introduce a toddler science activity. Go to the library or a bookstore and find a book on recycling or Earth Day. Some suggestions are listed below.

Scientific Processess


  • Seeing Pictures in a book or online. If you Google "garbage dump picture" you can get pictures to help show what garbage accumulation looks like.
  • Hearing and listening to directions given.
  • Communication

  • Oral Explanation of why it is important to recycle. Talk about the different things you can recycle or what is made from recycling.
  • Pictorial Showing pictures in a book