An Earth Day Activity with Pinoleville Native American Head Start


Last week we celebrated Earth Day with the kids at the Pinoleville Native American Head Start. With solid waste in mind, we focused our Earth Day activity on teaching the Head Start students about identifying recyclables. The premise of the game is simple: it’s like an Easter Egg hunt with recyclables and trash strewn about.

Before the “hunt” began we gave the kids a quick lesson in identifying recycling vs. trash, and they were off to the races! As the students came back to the trash can and recycling bin we had set up, we gave them guidance with where each item goes. As the game progressed, they were figuring it out on their own. Once everything was cleaned up, we went back through the bins and talked about why certain items went into one or the other. We finished it all off by providing each student with a magnetic “Can and Can Not” Recycling Guide.

The Pinoleville Head Start staff even liked the game so much that they’ve been playing it with their students ever since.

Earth Day Activity: “Recycling Hunt”

Age: 2 – 5 years old

Goal: Have students understand the importance of stewardship and identify what can be recycled.

Materials Needed:

  • Recyclables: i.e. Soda Cans, Bottles, Newspaper, Cardboard, etc.
  • Trash: Contaminated Cardboard – i.e. Pizza Boxes, Styrofoam, Old Rags, etc.
  • 2 Large Signs: What Can Be Recycled, What Cannot Be Recycled (Handout Attached)
  • One Blue Recycle Bin
  • One Trash Bin

Before Hand: Scatter the collected recyclables and trash all around playground or classroom – think “Easter Egg Hunt”. Set up table with 2 Large Signs: What Can Be Recycled, What Cannont Be Recycled and keep some examples to show kids before they run out to help cleanup. At entrance place one trash bin and one blue recycle bin.

The Story: A bad guy just came in and raided the place – leaving behind all their trash and recyclables! We need the kids to help us save the playground. We need help collecting all the trash and recyclables as fast as possible.

Instructions: As students bring back what they find – help them figure out what goes into the recycle bin and what goes into the trash can. Once everything is collected – round students up and return to the table. Pick up cans and bottles from the recycle and ask who collected each – and let them guess what goes where. Hand out laminated refrigerator magnet that has a clean list of what can and cannot be recycled. You can print your own copy of our Earth Day activity handout here.