Reduce Reuse Recycle: Earth Day Activities for Preschoolers

Reduce Reuse Recycle: Earth Day Activities for Preschoolers

Happy Earth Day! Today is such a great day to celebrate because we’ve come such a long way in taking care of our planet. It is also important to celebrate it because it brings awareness to the strides we still need to make!


As a parent that is invested in environmental responsibility, it is important that your children adopt eco-friendly habits. However, with a topic that is pretty complex it can be hard to teach your child under 5 about the importance of taking care of the environment. In honor of today, we have put together a list of captivating ways to teach your children under 5 about environmental sustainability. Guaranteed to keep their attention!


How can I teach my young child about the environment?


Play Outside

Find ways to get your children outside as much as possible. Children have a natural tendency to form an emotional attachment to what is familiar and comfortable to them. The more time they spend immersed in nature, the easier it will be to teach them environmental respect. In addition, be sure to be involved. When your child is exploring the different plants and bug life, teach them to be gentle with the flowers and roly-polys.


Scavenger Hunt

Children love playing games that involve sensory fun and exploring. Our favorite scavenger hunt is this free, printable one by Buggy and Buddy! This on is our favorite because it includes several different learning components for young children. It has the child find both explicit things, such as birds and flowers, and implicit things, such as something rough and something wet. This not only gets their creativity flowing, but it also requires them to touch and feel what they are looking for. Another thing that we love about this particular scavenger hunt is that the paper allows space for your child to draw and interpret what they have found.



Turn your typical commutes to and from preschool into a fun car ride with children’s songs about the environment. There is a wealth of environmentally friendly children’s songs on YouTube, like this Earth Day song by PlayKids. Also, if you’re a music streamer, be sure to check out curated playlists by your streaming service. For example, if you use Pandora, check out the Toddler Radio station. It incorporates great learning based songs including ones about the environment.



Books are great because they allow you to incorporate teaching into an activity you already do daily. Many children enjoy listening to stories before bedtime or nap time. Here is Amazon’s list of best selling children’s environment books.


Recycling Games

Our best tip for getting your children on board with recycling early on is to NOT make it a chore. Instead, make it into a fun daily game. After your family is done eating dinner and cleaning up, pick up each piece of trash and have your child guess if the item goes into the recycling bin or wastebasket. Be sure to discuss why each item goes in each bin.


Tip: For children that are a little older, around 5, add in a third bin for compost. This will introduce an extra challenge for them.


Science Experiments

If you’d rather teach our child about recycling and pollution without them possibly coming into contact with household waste, try a fun science experiment! One Time Through has some great experiments for teaching about the effects of pollution on our water supply and marine life.


Reuse for Crafts

This one is super easy! Any time you have a scrap piece of paper or anything that can be used in a crafting activity, save it in a box with the rest of your child’s art supplies. Teach your child to do the same and explain why reusing helps keep the environment healthy. When the box starts to fill up, have them make a collage with pictures of plants and animals.


TV Shows and YouTube Videos

Most children enjoy watching TV shows or videos on YouTube. Introduce your child to shows that emphasize the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling, like Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer. In addition, there are also plenty of children’s videos on YouTube that explain why we should recycle, such as this video by BabyBus about how to care for the environment.


Environmental Education for Preschoolers


As part of our science activities at Little Lukes we teach the children about the importance of recycling and how pollution affects our Earth. Here is an example of an experiment our Little Lukes in Pulaski did.



In this activity, the children got to see what happens when we put things into the water that’s not supposed to be there. We also talked about how dirty water hurts our favorite animals, like cows and penguins.


For more information about Little Lukes program curriculum and learning areas, visit our website.


Little Lukes is a leading Syracuse daycare provider with five preschool locations. The early education program includes credentialed and caring staff that specializes in comprehensive infant, toddler and pre-kindergarten development. Additional services include pediatric speech therapy, pediatric physical therapy and pediatric occupational therapy. Preschool locations include Dewitt (East Syracuse), Baldwinsville (Radisson), Oswego, Fulton, and Pulaski.


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