7 Show & Tell Ideas for Kids (Recycling Theme)

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If your child’s teacher has assigned a show and tell assignment for next week, the easy reaction is to let out a groan.

All parents know that homework for kids this age is also homework for the parents!

The upside is that Show and Tell is essentially a public speaking class for the younger generation. It teaches them important skills while reinforcing lessons from class.

One such lesson might be Recycling — an important topic for our kids to learn about. Whether your child’s class is celebrating Earth Day or wrapping up a unit on Recycling or the environment, the Show and Tell options for this topic are endless! 

Here is a round-up of just a few Recycling Show and Tell ideas to get you started:

  1. Upcycled Craft
  2. Recycling Journal
  3. A Book About Recycling
  4. “Rot Pot” Compost Bottle
  5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Chart
  6. “Sort the Recycling” Game
  7. Making Homemade Paper

Let’s take a closer look at each of these Show and Tell ideas!


Upcycled Craft

Pinterest has made it super easy for anyone who loves crafting to find their next project. This also goes for Recycling Show and Tell ideas!

Round up a few ideas from Google or Pinterest by searching “Upcycled craft for kids” and let your child pick a craft to create out of household items instead of throwing them away.

Common upcycling craft ideas include:

  • birdhouses
  • pencil holders
  • upcycled crayons
  • instruments
  • and much more.

When it’s time to present, your child can explain the process of making the craft and the importance of reusing items we might otherwise throw away.


Recycling Journal

If you know about the Show and Tell far enough in advance, you can help your child keep a “recycling journal.”

For one week (or a weekend, perhaps), keep a running list of everything your child and family put in the recycling bin that day.

You could take it further and also write down what was “reused” and “reduced” on that day.

For example, “on Sunday, we used cloth napkins instead of disposable napkins.”

In class, your child will read off day-by-day her recycling habits. She could also talk about what she felt like she did well and what she wishes she did differently.


A Book About Recycling

A classic Show and Tell idea is a book read-aloud.

Head on over to your local library to see if they have any books about recycling (they likely do).

Your child will pick out a book and can read the book to his class, or ask the teacher to read.

Here are a few ideas:

Why Should I Recycle? is a book by Jen Green for kindergarten or 1st/2nd graders. It talks about what happens in a world where no one recycles.

Another option for preschool or kindergarten-age children isDon’t Throw That Away! by Lara Bergen.

This book explains how we can repurpose everyday items like glass jars.


“Rot Pot” Compost Bottle

Compost bin
An example full size compost bin. Susana Secretariat/Flickr

Want to throw in a science lesson for Show and Tell?

With a few compostable items and a plastic bottle, you can put together a “rot pot” to inform your child and her class about composting.

First gather the necessary items:

  • Plastic bottle (1-2 liter)
  • Scissors
  • Duct or packing tape
  • Garden soil
  • Compostable items (strips of cardboard, paper, veggie and fruit scraps, garden clippings)
  • Water

First, cut the top of the bottle off.

Then put the garden soil in the bottom of the bottle, about 1 inch high.

Next, add your food scraps (not from citrus or onion, though) about 1 inch high.

Keep layering like this: dirt, scraps, dirt, paper/cardboard, dirt, garden/yard clippings, and repeat until your bottle is full.

Spray some water in there and seal it off with tape.

Your child can present the completed bottle to the class, explain the process of making it, and tell the class that for the next 6 weeks or so, the contents of the bottle will turn into compost!

All those scraps that could have been garbage now can be plant food.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Chart

Do you know the three R’s of recycling?

For this recycling-themed Show and Tell idea, create a poster of the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) and list what you can do under each one.

Brainstorm with your child what could go under each section.

For example, under “reduce,” your child can write or draw a picture of turning off the water while you brush your teeth. Under “reuse,” he can write or draw a picture of reusable shopping bags.

For presentation time, he will explain the three R’s and go through his chart.

He could also elicit more ideas from his classmates for each of the categories.


“Sort the Recycling” Game

For a game-themed Show and Tell, collect at least 4 bins and recyclable items.

Your child can take the actual items into class or just have pictures of them on pieces of paper.

The bins should be big enough to fit collected items or pictures and labeled:

  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Paper

The game is simple. Set a timer for however long is age-appropriate (30 seconds is good) and let a classmate sort the items into their proper bins.

Then, your child can review with the class whether the contestant sorted correctly or not.


Making Paper

For a more involved project to do with your child, consider making paper with him or her.

You will need to gather a few items first:

  • Collect old scraps of paper and plain cardboard
  • An old window screen
  • A rag
  • A blender
  • And a bin of water and an empty bin.

First get the scraps wet in the water, then blend up the scraps in a blender.

Place it on the window screen on top of the empty bin to drain the excess water. Then, use the rag and press all the water out. Get it as flat as possible.

Leave it on the screen for several days or until it is totally dry.

Make it at home and document the process with pictures.

In class, your child can present a slideshow of the process photos. Maybe you made enough paper so each student gets a piece!


Wrapping Up

Help your child succeed in his or her Show and Tell project by getting involved and by rehearsing how it will go ahead of time.

This will give your child the boost of confidence come presentation time.

When children understand better the process of recycling, they will be more likely to recycle themselves in the future. Show and Tell fits the bill for hands-on learning about recycling!

For more Show and Tell ideas, don’t miss:

Hope this helps!

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