Early Language Activities

Using Everyday Objects for Language: Recycle Edition

This week we begin week 4 our Language with Everyday Objects series. This week, we are using whatever we can find in the recycle! We will have 4-5 activities and crafts to complete throughout the week. First, you have to take an inventory of what’s in YOUR recycle! Here’s a peek at mine:

Just Keeping it Real with Y’all : )

Get the Packet

Get the packet HERE

In this packet you will find:

  • 8 Crafts/ Activities with 4 visual directions that make it easy for your child to follow along (and help retell after!) and 2 worksheets to get you started
  • 5 worksheets for additional practice/creativity to use for describing, expanding utterances, labeling, object function, and context clues/inferences
  • Social Narrative: I Recycle
  • Visual Chart: What Can Be Recycled
  • Core & Fringe Word Lists for Recycle

The Schedule

Monday: Recycle Flower

Tuesday: Beach Pollution Sensory Bin

Wednesday: Shape Painting

Thursday: Recycle Ring Toss

Friday: Plastic Bag Kite


Recycle Flower

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Various Boxes from the Recycle
  • Paint (Optional- for the grass)
  • Visual Directions

Language-Rich Directions:

  1. Gather the paint, paper, and glue. You can do an “I Spy ___” to make it more complicated if you have a preschooler.
  2. Ask your child to get boxes from the recycle. After they bring you each one name the item and describe it “Oh! This one is pink and white”.
  3. Ask them if each piece should be a petal, the stem, or the stigma (middle). Then talk about the different shapes. Keep the language simple: “It is ____”. Cut out flower part.
  4. Glue pieces on. “Put on glue. Put petal on paper.” If your child has more language you can use words like “Put NEXT TO/BESIDE/BETWEEN”.
  5. Once you have glued all the pieces together it’s time to add some grass. You can talk about what color grass, where it goes (on the bottom), and how you can make it (paint, crayons, markers). Let your child then create the grass.
  6. Hang to dry.

Beach Pollution Sensory Bin

What You Need:

  • Sand (We used Kinetic Sand)
  • Water Beads
  • Lids, Soda Tops, Corks, Etc.
  • Tongs (optional- but great for fine motor practice and/or the child who doesn’t like the textures)
  • TIP: Put a separator (piece of paper or something) between sand and water beads. I learned too late they can be hard to separate later!


  1. Ahead of time: Scoop out some water beads (we used ~1 Tbsp) and add water. These take an hour or so to “come to life”. You can let your child help by scooping the water beads (“get them”) and pouring the water (“Put in”).
  2. Put sand and water beads in a container. As you do, talk about the way each feels and looks. Then continue with simple language “Put in. Put next to”
  3. Add in the various pieces of recycle. You can use simple phrases to call attention “Look on the beach/on the water”. “There it is UNDER the sand/water”. “You found a ___”. This is a time to also describe the different objects. See if your child can group them as they take each out or do they just throw them all out?
  4. Sit back and observe them playing (but be willing to join if they request!)

Your child will likely come back to this bin over and over again (I know mine did!) For older kids- have them practice sorting the different items into cans. After they clean up the “beach” can they think of anything to use the items for instead of them becoming trash? Get those problem solving skills working!

Shape Painting

What you need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Paint
  • Sheet of Paper
  • Optional: Scissors to cut rolls in half
  • Visual Directions from packet


  1. If your child is young and not learning shapes yet, pre-make the shapes by bending the toilet paper rolls. We made: heart, square, circle, oval. If your child has more language you can ask them what shapes they can think of and try to form those! (Great practice with categorization!)
  2. Gather all materials. Name each one and ask your child to name or point to them (depending on ability).
  3. Organize them from left to right- Toilet Paper, Paint, Paper. Have your child help with this by following the directions “put it next to ____”.
  4. Show them how you move from left to right (early reading skill) and narrate what you are doing “I want ____. I put it in _____. I put it on the paper! Look, it made a ____”.
  5. Let your child make some art! For early talkers, let them explore more. You can narrate what they are doing (but keep it simple!). When they change shapes that’s a great opportunity to practice requesting verbally.
  6. For older children, see if they can create a picture using just shapes. Then ask them to describe their picture by naming parts and talking about how they chose what to make.

Recycle Ring Toss

This was a huge hit in our home by all participants!

What You Need:

  • Paper towel roll
  • Box (the sturdier the better- we used a shoe box)
  • Tape
  • Paper Plates (we used cake boards due to no paper plates)
  • Visual Directions from packet


  1. Gather materials. Talk with your child about what you need. Go on a hunt using words like “We need something rectangular for the base. Now we need something tall and skinny for the pole. Last, we need something wide and round for the rings.” See if you can look through the recycle and find the items based on their description!
  2. Once you have your items, cut the bottom of the paper towel roll 4 times. This needs to be done by the parent or under parent supervision only. Either way, you can still practice language by saying “cut more/again” each time and counting to 4.
  3. Once you have cut the roll, fan it out and tape on top of the shoe box. Tell your child “put it on the box”. Then begin taping- I recommend packaging or duct tape. “Tape around the pole”. “More tape”. “Great! All done”.
  4. Cut out the rings. Again- this needs to be done by the parent or under parent supervision only. To use language with every cut “I go around”/’Cut more”/”Go again”.

Why I love this craft so much- It’s a game afterwards!

Making crafts are great, but I love that this one can be used for a game afterwards over and over again. There are so many benefits to playing a game with your child- even ones as simple as throwing a ring onto a pole. By playing with your child you are giving them the opportunity to initiate or respond to your initiation (“Want to play?”). You teach them that we take turns- in actions and conversation. AND they learn through watching you- your eyes, gestures, your responses. Often times this form of play is where you see the most language come from!

Plastic Bag Kite

Here’s an activity so simple I’m almost embarrassed to share!

What You Need:

  • Plastic Bag
  • String
  • Wind!


  1. Grab a plastic bag and some string.
  2. Tie the string on. “Put on handle/bottom”
  3. Throw the bag up in the air and run with it! “Up, Up, Up!” “Look it goes”, “Watch!”

Other fun activities we did this week:

Looking for more to do? Here are some of our favorite books related to Recycle:

I hope you have enjoyed our week of all things tools and your child has expanded their vocabulary! If you want even more “worksheets” for your child to use during this week you can find my recycle unit with additional activities, crafts, and worksheets HERE. Check out Recycle Week Story Highlights on Instagram for more on each of these activities.

This is part of a 12-week series. Check out the other week focus areas below:

Want ALL of the packets with the visual directions? Grab the bundle HERE!


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