Recycle Relay

This is a great relay race to play in conjunction with our “Paper Wars” game, or to make cleanup after a party fun!
A bunch of recyclable materials (plastic bottles, newspaper, cans without sharp edges, cardboard, etc.)
Recycle bins marked plastic, paper and cardboard, cans (one set for each team, if possible) or use hula hoops for each team (the main thing is that each team have an area to sort the materials)
Pen and paper for scorekeeping
1 claw grabber for each team (optional)

1. Scatter a bunch of recycling materials all over the playing field.
2. Set up the recycling center at the end of the playing field (either one set for each team, or one main set up for everyone to use -- if you opt for this version you will need an adult to keep track of how many pieces each team is able to sort properly).
3. Divide your players into teams (between 2 and 4 teams, depending upon the size of your group).
4. If you are using one recycling center, mark the teams somehow. You can use bandanas of different colors, hats, or some prominent stickers -- some way so the moderator knows which team to award points.
5. If you using one recycle center, assign a monitor and give them paper and pen to keep track of each correctly sorted piece.
6. Place teams at the opposite end of the playing field, directly across from the recycle center.
7. If you have claw grabbers, hand out one per team.

How to Play

The object of this game is for each team to pick up trash and place it in the appropriate bin. A point in awarded for each correctly sorted item.
1. On “Go!” the first person from each team makes their way onto the playing field and, either using their hands or a claw grabber, picks up one piece of trash.
2. The player then runs to the recycling center and places the trash in the appropriate bin. If they place the item in the wrong bin, the monitor should make a buzzing sound (or some kind of alert sound) so that the player may remove the object from the wrong bin and place it in the correct bin. Only correctly items count.
3. Play until all the trash is picked up and sorted.
4. Tally up the pieces of trash for each team.
5. If you like, you can give each team member one gold chocolate coin each for sorting the trash.
6. Later on, make sure to take all the bins to actual recycling bins and place the items in their appropriate bins for pickup.Additional Rules
1. Only one piece of trash can be picked up at a time.
2. If a player sorts the trash incorrectly, they may choose to either ignore the warning buzzer
or not - if they choose to ignore it, the incorrectly sorted trash does not count as a point for their team.


1. Play after our “Paper Wars” game, and just sort paper into one big paper bin.


1. If you are using just one recycling center for all the teams, make sure that the teams are easily marked. Make sure the monitor has help with keeping track of the points.
2. To make things easier for the monitor, assign another adult to be the “quality buzzer,” the one who announces if someone has sorted incorrectly.

Activity Length
5 minutes or less
Either/or (can be played either way)
Easy peasy (fun and simple)
Mess Factor
Dustpan, please
Noise Level
Number of Players
10 to 20
Prep Time
5 minutes or less
Team Division
Teamwork! (divide into teams)