Recycling for the toddler set- quick, cheap, & easy transfer activity

Bl recycling activity 1

Bl (16 mo) is at the developmental stage where he is really trying to understand spatial relationships- particularly “what fits into what”.  I’ve stockpiled lids and containers for a while (must to my poor husband’s chagrin), figuring they would useful at some point…. :)

We’d just emptied out a particularly interesting container (one of the “Super Puffs” baby snacks containers, by Plum Organics), so I made a simple activity for Bl with it:

Bl recycling activity 1
It was so interesting, Br (3 3/4) had to "help" too


Bl recyclable activity 2This is the most basic version:  I added a mixture of lids to a small bowl, made sure the lid was open on the container, and modeled for Bl dropping a lid inside.

I think the “kerplunk” as they dropped in and the mix of bright colors made this especially appealing.  Br even wanted to do it!  Bl did get frustrated when he closed the lid, and didn’t have the fine-motor skills to open it on his own.  I modeled for him how it opens, in case he wanted to try later.

Bl went back to this multiple times throughout the day. After the first occasion where he’d actually put ALL of the lids in the container, he immediately walked to our pantry & “asked” for a snack.  Apparently he’d worked up an appetite!

With an older child, you could increase the challenge by:

  • having them use tongs or tweezers to transfer the lids (works on the hand shape & muscle control for writing)
  • have them sort the lids first: by color, size, etc.
  • Draw numbers or letters on the lids and have then put into the container “in order” (numerical or alphabetical)

Here is a list of other great suggestions for activities with recyclables from Teach Mama

Do yo have any great ideas for activities with recyclables?  Or suggestions on how to save them without it taking over your house?

My husband’s really hoping for some good answers to that last question :)

Are you interested in learning more about Montessori? I certainly am! Right now, they have an amazing giveaway for a Montessori Training Course & 12 Montessori albums at Living Montessori Now (giveaway ends July 19th, so hurry over!)

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