January 2009


What Will I Be When They Recycle Me?
(Tune: “Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?”)

What will I be when they recycle me? (Roll hands in a circle.)
What will I be when they recycle me?
What will I be when they recycle me?
I’ll come back to life—you will see! (Clap your hands and then point your finger.)

I am an empty soda can (Pretend to hold a soda can in front of you.)
Made of precious aluminum.
I can save lots of energy
If you will recycle me. (Roll hands in a circle.)

I’m an old bottle of plastic (Pretend to hold a plastic bottle.)
But I could be fantastic!
Toys, pipes, car bumpers, and much more—
That’s what my plastic is for. (Roll hands in a circle.)

A pile of used boxes and papers we (Make an invisible square in the air.)
Come from the precious wood of trees.
Recycled we’ll be as good as new (Roll hands in a circle.)
And save some other trees, too.

I am a fine jar made of glass— (Cup hands to make a bowl.)
Please don’t treat me like plain old trash! (Shake head “no.”)
I’ll make new jars again and again
Recycle me—yes you can! (Roll hands in a circle.)

Though we may look like old used stuff, (Open palms.)
Stop, wait! Please don’t give up on us! (Make sign language for “stop.”)
Think of the great possibilities— (Put index finger on your head and tap.)
Recycle us, set us free! (Roll hands in a circle and then throw up hands in the air.)


• Ask children to save cardboard food boxes for a week at home. You might suggest that they fill up a paper grocery sack with them. Now, let’s see how many learning opportunities can come from these boxes!!
      • sort the boxes
      • count the boxes
      • seriate the boxes from large to small
      • cut off side panels from boxes and compare nutritional content
      • make a list of new vocabulary words from descriptions on boxes
      • build a cardboard castle with the boxes
      • make a maze with the boxes
      • cut the fronts and backs off the boxes and play a matching game
      • make a book from the front panels of the boxes by attaching together
             with book rings
      • let children cut up box fronts to make puzzles
      • hole punch sides of boxes and sew with yarn like sewing cards
      • cut stencils and templates from boxes
      • decorate boxes to store books children make at school
      • challenge children to be inventors and create other things from boxes
      • cut the sides off the grocery sacks and use to make pages for a big book


• Let children write original stories about “My Life as a Can” or “There’s Another
             Life for This Bottle.”
 My Life as a Can

• Make a time line of the life of a can, bottle, and/or piece of paper.

• Take a field trip to a recycling center in your area.

• Visit reusableresources.org to learn more about renewable resources.

• Start a recycling center in your classroom, school, or community.

• Have a book fair where children bring old books from home and exchange
            them with friends.

• Read Shel Silverstein’s THE GIVING TREE. Have children act out the story.

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