Recycling Truck

Children could watch recycling trucks all day–and why not? They are indeed fascinating inventions that use hydraulics to lift up and crush down on the recycling in the truck. If on garbage day children perk their ears up, look out the window, and ask to see garbage and recycling trucks, we invite you to listen to their needs and indulge their curiosity by stopping, pausing, and seeing what you can learn along the way.

Here, we invite you to add a recycling truck made out of recycled materials to your dramatic play or blocks area. You can add some little baskets of trash or loose parts that children can pretend that they are collecting for trash day! The dump truck part of this truck actually works, so children will have a blast dumping trash and picking it right back up again!

Set up Time: 20 minutes


  1. Gather an empty egg carton, scissors, tape, and green paint.
  2. Cut your egg carton into the following sections: One section of 6 cups, one section of 4 cups, one section of 2 cups, and one half of the egg carton lid.
  3. Place the 6 cups down. Stack the 4 cups on top of it. This helps to add some structure to the truck.
  4. Flip over the 2 cups, and tape them to the front. These are where the drivers would sit. (see picture).
  5. Then, place the dump truck piece on by taping the egg carton lid on the back of the truck.
  6. Invite children to paint the truck green and let it dry.
  7. Add the recycling truck to your play area and add little pieces of trash or recyclables, or other loose parts. Make a truck route with tape on the floor, or make houses out of blocks.


  • Egg carton
  • Green paint
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Learning Through Play

Cognitive: Pretend Play – This is a simple and free way to to introduce the topic of recycling. As you play with children, observe what they already know about the topic and where there is room to learn with them. For example, do they know the difference between a garbage truck and a recycling truck? Do the trucks come every day? Or only some days? What other kinds of trucks do they see on the road? Where do the trucks go after they pick up the recycling?

Social-Emotional: Empowerment – Throughout our Recycling theme, we want to encourage children to make their own toys out of recycled materials. We think this is incredibly empowering, as it teaches children that they can have fun with all sorts of reused materials. Notice what children enjoy the most out of this activity and think about what materials you can add to extend children’s play and help them to build on their narrative and storytelling.

School Readiness: Spatial Learning – Driving trucks on a route is a great way to practice spatial learning. Add a map to your carpet with craft tape, or go outside and draw a map with chalk. See our “Chalk Roads” activity for ideas of how you can make a city for these trucks to pick up all the recycling!

See this activity in the Rayz Kidz app along with the other fun activities. Rayz Kidz is your trusted source for play-based activities featuring over 100 themes and 500+ hands-on activities and clear descriptions of the beautiful learning that is happening through play.