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Use a fun activity to teach students to recycle paper

This is an excerpt from 50 Games for Going Green by Carol Scaini & Carolyn Evans.

Keep on Recyclin’

Eco Thought

The choices we make every day have an impact on the environment. When we throw stuff away it usually ends up in a landfill, a giant garbage dump where we bury trash. Recycling helps reduce trash. Keep on recycling!


  • 10 pieces of recycled paper per 2 students
  • 1 plastic lid per student (or cardboard box lids or clipboards)
  • 4 to 8 recycling bins (or cardboard boxes or buckets)


  • Divide the class into pairs.
  • Spread the pairs along the sidelines on either side of the gym or playing area.
  • Place several recycling bins along the centerline of the playing area.
  • Give each pair a stack of recycled paper and one lid per player.

How to Play

1. On the go signal, one partner crumples a piece of paper into a ball.

2. Players use their plastic lids to hit the paper ball back and forth to each other, trying not to let it drop, while at the same time moving toward the recycling bin.

3. Once partners reach the recycling bin, they use their lids to hit their paper ball into the bin for a point.

4. Pairs run back to their starting line, crumple another piece of paper, and begin again.


  • If the paper ball drops while moving toward the bin, players stop, pick it up, and continue.
  • Missed shots are left on the floor and no points are awarded.
  • Lids of any size will work; however, the larger the lid, the easier it is for students to play.

Read more from 50 Games for Going Green by Carol Scaini and Carolyn Evans.