It’s never too early to invite your toddler to help you with recycling. Not only are you instilling planet-friendly values, recycling is a fun way to teach little ones several skills and life lessons!
The Benefits of Teaching Toddlers About Recycling
Recycling is an Earth-friendly task, but your toddler won’t understand that concept just yet. Still, you can introduce the idea by involving him in recycling and reusing materials around your home.
In addition to planting the seed for him to bloom into a responsible recycler, teaching your toddler about recycling can benefit him in the following ways:
He’ll learn about waste.
Over time, involving your child in recycling helps him learn about environmental responsibility. But for tots who can’t quite grasp that big concept yet, it begins to teach the basic concept of waste.
The more your little one sees you doing things like turning vegetable peels into compost for the garden or reusing recyclables for crafts, the more he’ll learn about what you can do with things besides throwing them away.
Try to explain, in simple terms, what you’re doing to control waste and why. In time, he’ll keep building on his knowledge as you continue to incorporate recycling and reusing into your daily routine.
He’ll learn to sort.
Sorting is excellent for building early math skills, and recycling is the ultimate sorting activity! Grab some bins and help your toddler sort paper, plastics, cans, and cardboard as you talk with him about what makes each item different.
He’ll develop cognitive skills.
Recycling also focuses on reusing what we have in ways other than their intended purpose. A glass jar, for example, can become a flower vase, while cardboard boxes can become exciting new toys.
As your toddler learns, with your guidance, to reuse different objects, he’ll begin to think outside the box himself. You might see him begin to reuse materials on his own, like turning an old newspaper into a cape. Or, maybe he’ll use a yogurt container to hold some of his crayons.
This type of play boosts critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and cognitive flexibility – all important cognitive skills that will benefit him throughout his life.
He’ll build language skills.
Yes, recycling can even boost your toddler’s vocabulary! Imagine all the new words he can learn as you explain recycling tasks or talk about the attributes of objects. It’s a unique way to have the interactive, back-and-forth conversations that fuel his language development.
The importance of recycling is something your toddler will continue to learn as he spends time helping you do it. For now, focus on incorporating it into your routine, include your toddler as much as possible, and celebrate all the milestones he reaches as he helps.