These 22 Recycling Games Help Kids Learn the Value of Being Green
Try one to teach your students about the importance of recycling.
Earth Day is right around the corner! What could be a better way to get your students ready and excited about recycling than by playing one new recycling game each day of April leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd? These hands-on recycling games will have them laughing, learning, and getting super excited about recycling.
Put Your Recycling Bin Front and Center
These recycling games make your recycling bin the center of all the fun!
1. Students use easy-to-find items to make their own basketball game
Add a basketball backboard and shoot to score!
2. Turn water bottles into field goal posts for some football-themed fun
Tap into your school spirit during football season, and try a football-themed game.
3. Let students show off their most creative trick throws for getting recyclables into the bin
Get creative with endless recycling trick shots. Try out the trick shots from this video, or invent your own!
4. Make your own recycling corn hole game
Partner up and toss to see who can score the most points.
5. Students roll oversized dice to find out what animal they have to imitate as they recycle
Roll the dice and jump, hop, wiggle, crawl, leap, or gallop to the bin.
6. Give a classic game a modern twist to get students excited to recycle
Tape or draw a hopscotch court in front of a bin for a fun way to recycle!
7. Bigger is better with this giant version of a popular table game
Go big with attention-grabbing games! Try Giant Recycle Drop, or use your imagination to create other larger-than-life versions of favorite games.
8. Put their love of online dance videos to use by creating a classroom recycling dance
Celebrate the moment with a fun dance move while you drop each bottle into your bin. Borrow from the latest moves that are trending in your school or create your own routine. Learn some cool moves here.
Get Energized About Recycling
Make a day of it, and get everyone involved with a little friendly competition. Try these recycling games and activities, then make an upcycled trophy for the winners!
9. Make a relay race out of it
Ready. Set. Go! Team up students for a relay for recycling. Teams race against each other and the clock to fill up recycling bins.
10. Play some carnival games for a cause
On a tabletop, set up a small recycling bin or box containing plastic bottles filled with water. Students can “step right up” to toss their rings to win a prize.
11. Watch your students get strikes and spares for recycling
Transform a section of your playground into a bowling alley. Set up groups of ten cans or bottles and see which team can get the best score!
12. Give the bottle flipping craze a new purpose — recycling!
They love to flip bottles already; now, let’s get them to do it for a purpose. Teams can relay race each other to flip their empty bottles into recycling bins. Make them stand a few feet away from their bins for an added challenge!
13. Upcycle those childhood party games for lots of laughs and fun
A twist on the traditional sack race! Use recycling bags to add a challenge to see who can hop to the finish line first!
14. Encourage your students to create an obstacle course they’re proud of
Create an outdoor recycling course and try to beat the clock!
Learn While You Play
Expand knowledge and awareness to make recycling games the focal point of a fun challenge!
15. Perfect for indoor recess, Recycle Rally Bingo will have students looking forward to rainy days
A classic game that’s always fun! The first one who fills a row on their card gets to yell “Bingo!” Get the free printable game here.
16. Test their knowledge with a recycling quiz
Are you a recycling master? Do you know what goes in each bin? Take the quiz and find out!
17. Who can get the closest answer with a “Guess How Many” recycling challenge?
Fill up a jar, bag, or bin with recyclables, and see who can most accurately guess the quantity or weight. Learn more here.
18. Let the students who love to build make remarkable recycled creations
Assign various groups of students to collect non-alcoholic bottles and cans for a whole week. Have each group lay them end-to-end in a line around the room or down a hallway to see which line is the longest. Add a twist by asking them to engineer a way to balance and stack their recyclables into a tall or interesting structure.
19. Channel your inner game show host for some Recycling Quiz Game fun
Play this trivia game show that tests your students’ recycling knowledge. Download it here.
20. Help students identify recyclable materials with this recycle sort game
You can also print pictures of various recyclable and non-recyclable materials and see who can match them to the right bins. Get the free printable game here.
21. Turn your recycling bin into a work of art
Give students an hour to design and construct or decorate a recycling bin. At the end of the time, hold a vote to see which one was the favorite.
22. How Well Do You Know Your Recyclables?
Students will test how well they know the basics of what is recyclable and what isn’t in this game. Using the interactive PowerPoint or Google Slideshow, students will pick which of three items should go in the recycling bin. Perfect for a recycling review, get the slides here.
Small Acts = Big Impact!
Playing our recycling games during April is a great way to get students thinking about the importance of caring for the Earth, but don’t stop there! The students from Torres Elementary school thought big and had fun! They celebrated their end-of-year Recycle Rally results by creating a life-size board game. In the tradition of a popular classic game, they used bags of recyclable materials as tokens and created the game board with paint and chalk. The board wrapped around the school’s courtyard, and, as students ‘moved’, they could land on the opportunity to draw chance and treasure box cards to win prizes. Read more about their game here. Then, encourage your students to think of even more ways they can encourage recycling at home, at school, and in their communities.