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Try these six simple activity-based recycling ideas in your classroom!


Musical Shaker

Make simple shakers using cardboard tubes secured at each end with a square of strong paper or plastic fastened with elastic bands or adhesive tape. Fill with rice, dried beans or peas before securing both ends. (Old chip containers that come in a cardboard tube with plastic lids make an easy alternative.) Have students brightly decorate their new shaker with paint or coloured paper.

jelly mould

Jelly Mould

Use the cut-off base of clean, recycled plastic cool drink bottles to create individual jelly moulds. Lightly grease the inside of the mould with a little vegetable oil before pouring the jelly mix. When set, dip the mould into hot water briefly before turning it out onto a plate.

bird feeder

Bird Feeders – Adult assistance required for this activity

Use a variety of recycled cans, large plastic bottles or cardboard trays to design and make simple bird feeders. Sticks or dowel can be added for a perch. Use sharp knives or can openers to cut holes into the recycled containers for bird openings. Use strong string to attach perches or to hang constructions from nearby trees. Fill the feeders with seeds to attract the birds in your area. It is important that the feeders are kept clean and have fresh seeds regularly.

sock puppet

Sock Puppets

Use old socks and scrap materials to create puppet characters. Glue or sew on old bits of material, buttons or odds ’n’ ends to add features. Develop characters to perform a class puppet show.

ball catcher

Ball Catcher – Adult assistance needed for this activity

Using sharp scissors, cut the base from clean, large plastic milk or juice containers. Next, cut a ‘u’ shape ending just under the handle, being careful not to cut the handle. Students can use paint or glue coloured paper that adheres to the plastic to decorate the ball catchers. When dry, students can practise simple throwing and catching skills with the ‘ball catchers’. Students can develop their own ‘ball catcher’ games to share with the class.

grow plants

Grow Plants

Preserve nature by growing plants from collected seeds, seedlings, bulbs, roots or cuttings. For example, space four toothpicks around the centre of a sweet potato. Balance the potato on the top of a glass jar filled with water. Students can observe and record changes as it grows. Transfer the bulb to a pot or garden for continued growth. Try a potato or avocado seed instead of a sweet potato.