Table Top Recycling Center
Garbage and recycling and their respective trucks are big hits at our house, as is Duplo. So I mixed the two together for a fun color sorting activity that went on and on ! The simplest things are usually the best. Activities like this mix imaginative play, color recognition, and counting and will appeal to a wide range of ages. You can change up the theme to fit your child’s particular interests too!
- Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper ( or use the underside of wrapping paper) , markers, painters tape , and some multi colored blocks or toys to sort.
- Tape your paper to a table, add a title! As kids get interested in spelling make sure you spell out loud when adding things like titles to crafts and activities.
- Draw a conveyor belt – every sorting center needs one!
- Draw bins for the recyclables ( each color). I asked my son what colors we needed, he looked in the bin of Duplo and as he called them out I drew the bins.
- Start sorting!
- Play, we grabbed a recycling truck for added oomph! Count how many blocks are in each bin , find out which bin has the most, which has the least … there is a lot of learning hidden in this game.
- We even came back after lunch for some more fun!
I Am A Garbage Truck by Ace Landers is okay, the story is a little disjointed, when my husband read it to him for the first time he looked over at me in my son’s bed and said ” Am I reading this the right way? It seems like I should have started from the last page?” my son didn’t care, he loves the illustrations and the way the book is in the shape of a garbage truck. I like that it covers both garbage and recycling, and toddlers will love it!
A Day in the Life of a Garbage Collector by Nate Leboutiller is presently my son’s favorite book. Unlike the next book that focuses on the process of garbage collection and recycling this book focuses on the workers that make it all happen. From what time they have to get up, the safety measures they take, clothes they wear and how they drive the trucks it covers it all. Perfect for kids like mine that are curbside waving at the garbage collector every week!
Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of recyclable garbage from this book!
- Gather your materials. We used a baby food freezer tray but an ice cube tray, or egg carton among other things would work well. Also scissors and a color of foam ( can you tell I bought a big thing of foam a few weeks ago?) or construction paper for each section. A backyard, beach, park…
- Cut your foam/paper into pieces small enough to line the bottom of the tray/carton. For younger kids choose colors that you kn0w they have a chance of finding a match. You don’t want it to be too easy , but too much of a challenge just frustrates everyone. If a child is frustrated they won’t learn, our goal is to challenge and learn!
- Head outside – my son couldn’t wait to get outside so as you can see he’s as per usual in his pjs!
- Start finding things to match. Start off by choosing a color with your child and both go looking, if they have a hard time finding a match find one, and go to it but don’t announce you have found it. Say something like “Hey Bug I think there is a match over here, can you find it” narrow down the are for them, if they still can’t pick up the object and have them match it in the tray.
- Continue working together or if they want to work all alone, watch your child explore and make connections, that is exciting and fun too!
- After you have made all your matches, talk about what you have found- how it feels what it does ( rock lines a path for us to walk on, a flower provides pollen for bees etc…).
“Bernard : The Angry Rooster” by Mary Wormell was a huge disappointment to me. Bernard is proud and when a rooster weather vane is put up on the roof of the barn he is jealous and takes out his anger on everyone he encounters. Here is my issue with this book.I like that the author is writing about anger, I think it’s essential we talk about that with toddlers and kids. What made me feel disappointed was that although people ask him why he is angry , and an adult can see through the illustrations that the weather vane is being put up and he is looking at it, it’s not obvious to a child. I had to really look to notice it. No one takes Bernard on saying his behavior is not acceptable or demands he explain why he hurt others. I want to label and recognize my child’s anger but it alone is not an excuse of bad behavior and that was the feeling I was left with after reading this book. My son just kept saying “Mean rooster!” I explained he was jealous and angry but I wish the book had explained it more as well.
Pinching Pom Poms
- Gather your materials. You will need a divided chip and dip platter or individual bowls. Some scrap paper that matches your pom poms, some tape and ice tongs.
- Cut the paper into pieces that fit into the platters sections, leave the middle blank, it will be the starting point for the pom poms.
- Place the pom poms into the middle
- Start matching, if the tongs are frustrating them , have them do it with their hands.
Easter Egg Match
- Gather your materials. You will need some cheap Easter eggs, a bowl for the eggs to start out in, one container for each egg( mine are old blueberry containers) and matching paper for each color of egg.
- Cut the paper so they line the bottom of the small containers.
- Invite your child to come to the table and start matching.
- Praise and celebrate their success !
Toss & Match
- Gather your materials. You will need some colored bean bags, and some colored construction paper. You could also use laundry baskets with colored towels in them for a target or anything that is obviously the same color.
- Start tossing the bean bags to the target. Toddlers will probably walk up naturally but older children can be challenged to throw the bean bag from a distance, just pop some painters tape on the carpet for them to stay behind.
- Start with just a few colors for little guys and work up to many for older children.
- Gather your materials. I used 2 of each color paint chip ( 8 in all) , 4 clothes pins, 1 strip of cardboard ( side of a cereal box) and some double stick tape. I am far too impatient for glue.
- Cut your paint chips to fit onto the cardboard.
- Tape them down well.
- Using the 2nd paint chip cut a small strips to go on the top of the clothes pins.
- Tape them down.
- Start playing !
“Brown Bear Brown Bear” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle is a classic, it is genius in it’s simplicity. So often we think things have to have fancy bells and whistles to keep toddlers and preschoolers interested and this book proves us wrong yet again. I haven’t met a child who hasn’t responded well to this book about colors and animals!
“Lemons Are Not Red” by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a clever book each page offers a sneak peek at what it next, which my son thought was genius and I have to agree. Soon my son was making his own predictions about what object would be revealed when we turned the page. The book offered so many chances for me to step in and ask my son questions about what we were reading without stalling the momentum of the book.
- Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of white paper, a marker, some construction paper ( any color but use the same color for all of it), some small containers, double stick tape or glue , paint and scissors.
- Start by drawing 3 mittens on 3 separate pieces of paper.
- If you have an older child who needs more of a challenge you can do a hat and scarf as well, but little guys may get confused on whether to match the item or the color , so start small if you aren’t sure.
- Have your child paint the mittens, one color for each page.
- My son was hard to convince to use only one color, so I had an extra page for him to use all of them on after he did the mittens.
- Let dry and cut out.
- Using double stick tape or glue use construction paper as a backing. This will make them sturdier so they last while being played with!
- Using the small containers match your mittens!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic for a reason. My son has loved it since day one and it really does a great job of calming before bed, like all great bedtime stories should. As a teacher I hated this book probably because it’s not a great book for groups I admit I was wrong, this is a gem ! Also for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, there are mittens in the story, which is why it works well with this activity!This post contains affiliate links.