Earth Day Activity: Take Your Kids to the Dump

Teach Them What Really Happens to Trash

Earth Day Activity: Take Your Kids to the Dump

Earth Day is the perfect time to teach our kids about living a responsible, eco-friendly life.  Want to make this year's Earth Day celebration memorable to your kids? Plan a trip to your local dump or landfill. Before you dismiss this as a crazy idea, think about it. Do your kids know what really happens to trash after it goes in the bin, is taken to the curb, and hauled away?

What better way to explain the impact of our actions than by showing the end result? Most communities have some version of a landfill, and it often includes a homeowner area for recycling and disposal. Once your kids see the mountain of trash that most landfills have, they'll have a strong mental image of why it's important to recycle and re-purpose whenever possible.

Try the following tips for an educational trip to the dump:

 Collect recyclables around your home before you take the trip. Allow your children to place them in the proper containers at the recycling center.

  Play a gross game of I-Spy. Pick out and identify some of the items you see in the trash containers or in the garbage piles. Talk about how they could have been recycled or re-used.

  Point out the trucks and other equipment used around the landfill. Even the youngest kids will enjoy watching them. Talk about the jobs done by the workers and the trucks.

  Review how the items at the dump are sorted. For examples, metals are usually kept in a special bin, as they are easily recycled. What other items are separated? Talk about why that may be.

  Read books related to recycling before and after your trip. A few to consider: Why Should I Recycle? by Jen Green and The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle by Alison Inches.

Claire Haas is the Vice President of Education for Kiddie Academy. Prior to joining the education-based child care provider, she worked with elementary and middle school students for over 10 years. Haas holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master of Arts Degree from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She has two children, ages 11 and 9 and currently resides in Bel Air, MD.

For more eco-friendly family tips and ideas, check out the Kiddie Academy Family Essentials blog at