I clearly remember celebrating Earth Day with my (now 31-year-old) son back in the 1980s. I love that the celebration is continuing in 2016! Today, I have ideas for Montessori-inspired recycling activities using free printables.
You'll find LOTS of free recycling printables in my Free Recycling Printables and Montessori-Inspired Recycling Activities. Here, I'm sharing some Montessori-inspired recycling activities using free printables for preschoolers through first graders. You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing.
You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities. At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools.
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Do-a-Dot Recycling Bins Color Activity Free Printable: Earth Day Do-a-Dot Printables from Gift of Curiosity
This activity couldn't be easier to prepare once you have the necessary materials! I just printed out the page with the green recycling bin trail from Gift of Curiosity. I added Do-a-Dot markers. After your child has finished with the green trail, you could have him or her match the other colors of recycling bins with Do-a-Dot markers. The tray is a large plastic tray from Montessori Services.
Recycling Number Puzzles for 1-10 and 11-20
Free Printable: Number Puzzles 1-10 from Earth Day Pack and Earth Day Puzzles at Totschooling
Free Printable: Number Puzzles 11-20 from Earth Day Pack (PreK Pack Part 1) at Royal Baloo
This was another simple activity to prepare! I just had to print out, laminate, and cut out the letter puzzles. I added them to a wooden tray I got a few years ago at Michaels craft store. There are more puzzles available in the printables, so just choose the ones that are best for your child or students.
I used .55 liter Really Useful Boxes. They're available on Amazon, although I got mine on sale at an office supply store.
Counting Activity with Recycling Bin Number Cards
Free Printable: Recycling Bin Number Cards (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password ... or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you're already a subscriber).
For toddlers (who don't mouth objects) and younger preschoolers, you could just have one number card with the correct amount of recyclables in a container. I found these very cool miniature glass bottle with corks. They come in sets of 50, so you'll need two sets if you want to prepare numbers and counters as shown below. These aren't as fragile as you'd think, but they're still best for children who will be gentle with them.
Montessori sensitive periods show that children from ages 1½-4 are especially drawn to small objects and details. The miniature bottles add interest as well as a great fine-motor activity. I'm planning to use mine for a variety of activities. Amazon carries .14 liter Really Useful Boxes, although the box I used for this activity is even shorter. Again, I found it on sale at an office supply store. You might also find a miniature recycling bin for office supplies that you could use instead. I used a Montessori Services medium-size tray to hold everything.
We use a Montessori Services rug for our floor work, although this activity would work well at a table. The 1-10 numbers and counters need to be done on a rug. For this activity, the child just removes the bottles from the "recycling bin" and counts them next to the card. This was a good way to let my almost-2-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, work with the mini bottles without having to count all 55 bottles.
Recycling Numbers and Counters Free Printable: Recycling Bin Number Cards (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password ... or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you're already a subscriber)
I love making DIY themed cards and counters to introduce odd and even and add interest and variety to cards and counters. Again, I used the .14 liter Really Useful Boxes that looked like little recycling bins along with the miniature glass bottles. You need exactly 55 bottles if you want to do the numbers and counters 1-10.
Roll-and-Stamp Recycling Addition Activity
Free Printable: Roll and Stamp from Earth Day Pack at Homeschool Encouragement
This is a super-easy activity to prepare. It uses two die along with Do-a-Dot markers, glass gems, or some other way to mark the numbers used, and a piece of paper for the printable! Younger children can count the dots to add the two numbers together while older children can work on remembering the facts, counting the dots if needed as a check.
Earth Day Every Day Picture Cards and Labels Free Printable: Earth Day - Every Day! Picture Cards and Labels from Montessori Print Shop
I LOVE this printable from Montessori Print Shop! It's so helpful that there are definitions for the terms Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Upcycle, and Protect. Then there are 15 real photographs with short captions that can be matched to the labels. It's a great way to discuss these important terms with young children. Older children can read and sort out the cards on their own.
More Free Recycling Printables
Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free recycling printables from around the blogosphere: Free Recycling Printables and Montessori-Inspired Recycling Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.
You'll find lots of Montessori-inspired Earth Day activities and ideas in these Living Montessori Now resources:
- Free 3-Part Recycle Cards
- Montessori-Inspired Earth Day Activities
- Montessori-Inspired Activities for Earth Day Every Day
- Montessori-Inspired Earth Day Activities (Revisited)
- Montessori-Inspired Lorax Activities
- Free Earth Day Printables and Montessori-Inspired Earth Day Activities
- Montessori-Inspired Arbor Day Activities
- Kids’ Earth Day Every Day Pinterest Board
If you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 40 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and toddler granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.