5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Recycled Robots

Grade Levels: PreK through 1st Grade

Age Levels: 

  • PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary) 

Description: You will be designing and making your own robot out of recycled materials (soda cans, food cans, water bottles, boxes, etc.). The purpose of this activity is to show children what can be recycled, how recycled materials can be used in a new way, and create an interest in recycling.  

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Assorted recycled materials (soda cans, food cans, water bottles, boxes, bottle caps, etc.) 
  • Glue (glue sticks or school glue) 
  • Tape (duct tape, masking tape, and/or scotch tape)
  • Scissors  
  • Googly eyes (optional)

“Recycle Bottles and Cans AD (HDR)” by kingdesmond1337 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What should I do? 

  1. Ask the child what he/she knows about recycling. Ask questions such as: 1) What does  recycling mean to you?, 2) Where have you seen recycling happening?, 3) What kinds of things get recycled?, and 4) How does recycling help our community?   
  2. Give the child some recycled materials. Collect some recyclable items and share them with the child. It would be helpful to have at least one box and four cans. A wide assortment is best to promote creativity on this project.
  3. Discuss what kinds of items get recycled. Review what goes into a recycling bin in your community. Ask the child about this phrase: “reduce, reuse, recycle.” 
  4. Talk about robots. Explain that robots are machines that people design to do certain jobs or tasks. They are controlled by computers. Discuss robots that the child may have seen on television or in books. 
  5. Design a recycled robot. Ask the child to design and build a robot using recycled materials. Explain that this will just be an image of a robot. It will not be connected to a computer and programmed like a real robot. 
  6. Ask questions. Ask questions about the child’s robot. For example: 1) What’s the robot’s name?, 2) What would you like your robot to be able to do?, and 3) How can you change your robot to make it even better? 
  7. Share the robot. Encourage the child to share the robot with other family members or friends. 
  8. Encourage recycling. Show the child more examples of what can be recycled. Consider going around the house to collect more recyclables. Compliment the child’s creative work and remind him/her that recycling can help protect our community by reducing pollution and helping to save energy. 



Creative Thinking

Inventive Thinking


Parent-Led Activity


Jessica Jones


Creative Commons License


Credit: on 03/16/2021

By Beth Powers

Hello! Welcome, and thanks for visiting us! My name is Beth (aka Miss Beth and/or Dr. Powers) and I have been an educator for more than half of my life. I have worked with teachers, families, and students from birth through 70 years of age. The majority of my teaching has been split between young children ages 3-7 and future teachers who are 18 years and older. Specifically, I have worked with children and educators across the U.S. (CA, PA, NC, SC, NH, & VT) and the world (Italy, Sweden, Thailand, & Zimbabwe). Along the way, I earned three graduate degrees (two Masters in Education and one Doctoral Degree) and learned a great deal about children, teaching, and learning. I am especially interested in culture, diversity, and equity in Education. This means that I dedicate my work to finding better ways to meet ALL learners’ needs. That’s exactly why I am so glad you found us. Our team is excited to share what we have learned and learn from and with you and your children.

- Masters of Education in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Antioch New England Graduate School
- Masters of Education in Reading, Bloomsburg University
- Ph.D. in Culture, Curriculum, & Change, UNC-Chapel Hill.

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