Recycling Sorting Activity + Free Printable Recycling Signs & ebooks

Jul 19, 2012

It is week 5 of the MeMeTales Readathon and this week the theme is Earth/Green. There are 2 free ebooks on the theme that you can read. "What Does It Mean To Be Green?" and "Let's Go Chipper!"
You can go HERE to read these books with your kids and to see more info on joining the Readathon. (It's Free!)
Did you know that in Week 1, 2, 3 and 4, over 5500 kids joined the Readathon?! That means they've donated over 5500 meals to hungry kids via and that kids read 59,838 books!
Pretty impressive! 
After reading these books we had a discussion on what it means to be "green" and the ways that we try to be "green" at our house.
Older kids could make a list.

Being that we do a lot of crafts and use a lot of recycled goods, we always have a full tub of clean/safe recyclable materials.
I thought that while learning about being green, we could also incorporate some Early Numeracy, sorting & categorising skills and so this easy, fun activity was born.
learn with play at home, kids activity, recycling activity, memetales

Ages- 2-6+ (Can be extended for older school age children as well)
Materials: Recycling Labels (click for free printable), Recyclable goods (paper, plastic and glass)
Optional: Tubs/Boxes etc for sorting into (you can see I used some large plastic dishes)

Our recycle box with our usable materials.

Attach your labels to wherever you'd like the recyclable goods to be sorted.
(Extra: you could get the children to make their own labels or colour in the ones I've provided)

Maddie (3.5) was so eager to start she could barely wait for me to get set up

Reading/sounding out the words on the labels meant she knew where each item was intended

Diving in!

She declared that "sorting is fun!"

Once done, we could see our most popular recyclable materials and the ones that we don't tend to use as much of. Ask your child why they think this is?

Added Math skills. "Weighing" and comparing a larger plastic tub and a small glass jar.
Which do you think was heavier?
(Talk about heavier, lighter etc)

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by assisting your child to sort the different materials into the 3 groups. Talk about how they can tell the difference

- Extend this activity by having your child sort and categorise unassisted. Ask your child to explain to you the difference between the materials. Can they feel a difference in weight? Can they hear a difference when tapping the items? Etc. Have your child brainstorm uses for the recycled good.

- Mix it up by making a pretend recycling truck out of a cardboard box and “transporting” the recycled goods from the starting point to their separate groups. Add gross motor skills by having these at either ends of the room so they have to travel.

- Have more fun by providing some sticky tape for the children to get creative with the recyclable goods once you’ve finished sorting and categorising them.

- Brainstorm all the ways that they “Go Green” around the house and out and about

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "recycle" “conserve” etc. This will help with their language development.

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. I love your sorting activity!

  2. I really like this set of activities. I am going to try with my eldest. Thank you.

  3. What a great activity to go with the book. We don't have to sort recycling in the UK it all goes into 1 bin.

    1. Us either Cerys. They all go in the same bin here too... we just did this for the activity lol

  4. Looks like fun, What a great way to help kids learn "green"-FSPDT

  5. A great way to get kids involved with recycling

  6. My daughter would love this. Any excuse to play with trash (or in this case recyclable) for her!

  7. How fabulous! Learning about materials and recycling at the same time. AND it is fun!

  8. Awesome labels, perfect for little ones! I'm a firm believer that good habits start young. What a great activity to teach an easy way to be green.

  9. I love this kind of playful learning,brilliant!

  10. What a fun idea, and so simple, but so fun!

  11. This is a great way to work on sorting and learn about recycling at the same time.

  12. This would be ideal for us, Goblin puts all sorts in our recycling at the moment

  13. Great activity! Looks like a blast. I'm a new follower and am excited to see more of your great ideas. Would love if you followed back at

  14. What a great activity!! So much you can do with it and teaching them an important skill as well. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  15. Great post, it was nice to see this article. It was really appreciable. Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. Get more info about compostable paper cups

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  17. It's great that you teach children to reuse materials. I think it is very important to explain to the child the possibility of using objects several times. Children will understand the importance of this activity and they will live in the future better. Also, I want to recommend you Rubbish Waste Company


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  20. Thanks for the great article. You show an example of how to raise children correctly and from childhood, you explain to children that garbage needs to be disassembled and recycled, you make wonderful toys, various games, activities. You are well done!


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love reading them all.