Showing Kindness to our Planet: Recycling

A question that my 5-year old always asks us is whether something should go into the recycling bin or not.   So for last week’s kindness project, we decided to learn about being kind to the environment.  And I specifically sought out to answer her question to get her started with the basics.

Kindness comes in many forms

I first started by sharing with her that kindness comes in many forms, and while most of our weekly activities had been focused on kindness to people, we could also be kind to the environment.  I talked about how our planet gives us so much on a daily basis, and that it was important for us to give back to our planet.

Getting some context

We then learned about recycling and specifically from two children’s books: “Don’t Throw that Away” and “Why Should I Recycle?”  Both books were awesome quick reads and talked about the types of things that should be recycled and re-used, and how items go to a recycling center.  It made me realize that a future fun family activity could be to actually visit a recycling center to see the process in person.  I also found this blog article to talk about the various reasons we recycle- from wanting a cleaner earth to reducing landfill to promoting our health. While my 5-year old may not fully understand all the specifics, she grasped most of what we discussed and it was a good start.

Creatively re-using things

My older daughter is a huge fan of crafts, so we talked about how we could always re-use things in our house for her crafts and her projects.  In fact for the past several months, she has been doing craft projects fairly regularly using ideas from this incredible book: “Creating Really Awesome Free Things: 100 Seriously Fun, Super Easy Projects for Kids“.  However, until this kindness project, I had never connected the dots that she had already been recycling when she did craft projects with egg cartons and newspapers and bubble wrap.  Helping her make this connection was actually a great aha moment for me as well.

A Little Game: Recycle or Not

We also played a short and very easy game so I knew that she actually remembered what she had learned. I put up both of my hands into fists. One hand represented an item that could be recycled like a newspaper, and the other hand was something that could not.  My daughter had to pick the hand that was the recyclable item. We played about 10 rounds of this game and she was pretty engaged, and had managed to get the right answer each time.  When we have more time, we could probably get more creative with this game as well, and draw out little cards or use physical objects, but our scrappy version was good enough for a first attempt.

After we finished our little game, I told her that recycling was something that we would continue to do together as a family, and that it was one of many ways we could learn how to be kind to our planet.