Recycling Adds Up!

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  • variety of plastic objects with recycling symbols and numbers stamped on them



  • Discuss the symbol/numbering system with the children.
  • Show them images or examples of recycling symbols.
  • Set the plastic objects on a table for easy sorting.
  • Record the correct amount for each sorted number set so you can check the children's work.


What to do

1. Ask the children to sort the objects by the recycling number stamped on the side or the bottom.

2. Once they are finished, help them count the number of items in each set and compare this to the list you made.

3. After that, help them count the total number of items. The children can do this project independently or in a group.


Teacher - to - Teacher Tips


  • For older children, write beginning equations. For instance, the sets can be added in the following way: 3 objects + 2 objects = 5 objects.
  • Adding nonrecyclables provides an extra challenge.



  • Are the children able to look for the symbols and numbers? Are they able to sort the plastics?
  • Do the younger children practice number recognition, sorting, set formation, and counting?
  • Are the older children able to solve any of the equations?


-Monica Shaughnessy, Katy, TX


1. Talk to the children about what recycling means. Tell them how good
things can be made from what we might otherwise put into the trash and
landfill sites.
2. Teach them the following recycling song. Note: Sing the word "once" as
though it had two syllables.
Recycle and Save the Earth by Anne Adeney
(Tune: "Frere Jacques")
Let's recycle, let's recycle!
You and me, you and me!
Use stuff more than once, use stuff more than once!
Save the Earth, save the Earth!
3. Sing this song whenever appropriate.
Encourage the children to think of times
when it would be appropriate to sing
the song.
Consider the following:
* Can the children tell you what "recycling" means?
* Can the children name something used more than once.

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