Once you have gathered materials, you want to give some thought to how you will present these materials to the children in an organized and inviting way. Sort like materials into labeled bins and place those on shelves that are also labeled, just as you would do with other materials in the classroom.  This supports children’s independence and is a great matching activity that engages children during clean-up time.

Talk with children about recycling and how you would like to think of new ways to use some of the items that we typically throw away in order to help keep the planet clean.  You can learn more about recycling here.

Introduce small amounts of recycled materials at a time.  Add new materials regularly as children become accustomed to using these open-ended materials.  Each time you add a new material, show the children what you are adding as part of your large group meeting.  Ask the children to think of ways that the new material could be used. 

Allow the recycled materials center to be open throughout the day so that children can use the materials freely.  If a child is struggling with a building project in the block area, say something like, “I wonder if there is anything in the recycled materials area that could help you?”  This type of language encourages children to think of different ways to use materials and solve problems creatively. 

Share images of your recycled materials center on our Facebook page here!

For the main article Using Recycled Materials in ECE, CLICK HERE

For the article Why Introduce Recycled Materials, CLICK HERE

For the article Materials to Use in a Recycled Materials Center, CLICK HERE

For the article Collecting Materials, CLICK HERE