Recycle Mania! A Fun Printable Recycling Game for Kids

recycle mania cover image

Looking for a fun and educational way to teach kids about recycling? Entertaining for kids of all ages, our printable recycling game helps to teach the importance of waste management, recycling, and more in a simple and engaging manner.

For as long as I can remember, my oldest has been absolutely obsessed with all things related to recycling and garbage. On trash day, he’s always awakened early so he wouldn’t miss seeing the trash truck go by our home to collect the trash & recycling. It’s really cute, actually. He’ll set up a little table by the front door, with his laptop and learning materials nearby, so he can take care of his assignments while watching the trash day excitement.

Because of this natural love, learning about recycling and waste management has been a part of our lives for years and years. We’ve visited local recycling fairs, have take tours of waste water treatment plants, have always stopped by the trash truck at “touch a truck” events, and have hosted trash-themed birthday parties.

He’s even considered starting an eco-friendly business!

Who knows? He may have a career in waste management one day (and, no, even though I’m a born & raised Jersey Girl, I’m not referring to The Soprano’s version of waste management).

Only time will tell. Right now, though? We’re going to continue learning about different ways to be eco-friendly in a variety of hands-on activities…including with my free, printable recycling sorting game!

Benefits of Playing Games

You know I’m all about making learning meaningful, memorable, and fun, right? If we’re going to learn about a topic, you know we’re not “just” going to learn from a book because there are so many opportunities for hands on learning out there!

My kids love learning through games. Whether I purchase board games for them, borrow one from the local library (yes, some libraries loan board games!), or put together a printable game set, they’re always up for learning through game play. They enjoy the competition, the opportunities to be active, and the fact that playing games together often results in lots of laughs.

In addition, playing educational games offers numerous benefits for kids including:

  • enhanced cognitive skills
  • increased motivation and engagement
  • further developing social skills
  • building confidence
  • promoting problem-solving skills
  • encouraging lifelong learning (our ultimate goal when homeschooling, right?!)
Sam laminating the game That Homeschool Family
Do your kids help with laminating homeschool materials, too? Mine love to!

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Recycle Mania!

Whether you’re planning an Earth Day unit study, learning about recycling, or “just” looking for a fun, educational games for the kids to play, they’re totally going to have fun playing Recycle Mania!

There are a number of ways to play Recycle Mania!, but my kids like play it as a competition. When played in this manner, the objective of the game is to sort all the playing pieces (images of items to be recycled, trashed, or composted) into their respective containers in a certain amount of time. The full instructions are detailed within the PDF download, but that’s the basic gist of the game.

recycle mania image for opt in that homeschool family

While I created the game to be an active, race against time, the game pieces could also be used to play a memory game or even a recycling scavenger hunt. Really, game play is only limited by your creativity!

To make game prep super easy on you, only a few items are required:

  • cardstock paper
  • printer paper
  • manila envelopes
  • tape
  • scissors
  • laminator (optional, but I use an older version of this laminator with these laminator sheets to help make printable games and resources more durable, allowing for extended play)
click find your new homeschooling community in our FREE Facebook Group! That Homeschool Family Hangout. homeschooling our kids, one adventure at at time

FAQs about Recycle Mania!

Question: What age range is this game suitable for?

Answer: Recycle Mania! can be played by kids of all ages. A basic understanding of the categories & images (glass, plastic, paper, metal, batteries, compost, garbage) is required, but that knowledge will vary by age and ability of the child. The game can be adjusted to fit the level of your child by simply increasing/decreasing the number of included playing pieces or the time limit, for example.

Question: Can this printable recycling game be played individually or in groups?

Answer: Recycle Mania! can be played either individually or in groups. To play individually, the child could try to beat their best time score or play an individual game of memory. To play in a group, the players can compete to get the “best time” or by playing memory together.

Question: How can I incorporate additional learning opportunities into the games?

Answer: Recycle Mania! can be included in nearly any unit study on Earth Day, recycling, waste management, etc.

Get Recycle Mania! in your Inbox!

To get the free Recycle Mania! printable recycling game sent straight to your inbox, go ahead and fill out the quick form below. A printable PDF with all the components of the recycling game will go to your email, allowing you to print and play the game at your leisure.


I hope you and the kids have a great time playing Recycle Mania! in your home (or maybe even as a co-op activity?). After you’ve played the game, go ahead and share your experience in That Homeschool Family Hangout – we’d love to hear how much fun the kids had!

As always, if you have any questions about this game, or anything in regards to homeschooling, go ahead and leave a comment below!

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

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