Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Kids think about waste and why it doesn’t belong in nature. They will start a journal to observe their local nature and record waste. They can use this information to enlist their local community in a Clean Up event.

This is a great activity to do together as a family.

Ideal for: Early learning, Foundation to Year 3.


  • fresh air
  • think and connect

Time required: 20+ minutes

Curriculum connections: HASS, Science, Critical and Creative ThinkingSustainability

Background Information

Content information: For a long time now we’ve thought of waste as something that should go in the bin. But it wasn’t always this way. For many years and in many cultures, things people no longer wanted or needed were turned into something else, given to someone else to use, or repaired and used again. As the waste we currently create continues to harm our environment, it’s time to shift our thinking around waste again—what if we thought of waste as a resource for creating new products? Can we rethink our relationship to waste? Find out more about how we can rethink waste here.

About Clean Up Australia: For over 30 years, Clean Up Australia has been working to address the issue of waste in Australia by raising awareness about waste and engaging individuals and communities in Clean Up events to remove litter from our environment. A Clean Up event is a great way to inspire children to learn about the impact of waste on their local environment while playing an active role in their community. You can choose to hold an event on Schools Clean Up Day, or on any day of the year. To register your event or to find out more, click here.

Safety advice: Talk to your kids about being safe with waste with advice such as:

  • always check with an adult before you pick up waste—some types of waste are sharp or too dangerous to pick up
  • if you do pick up some waste, make sure you wash your hands afterwards
  • it’s better to try and pick up waste with gloves or with tongs if you can
  • try to make sure any waste goes into the right bin—you will talk about this more in the next part of this activity!

Lesson & Curriculum Details

EYLF Outcomes:

  • Outcome 2.4
  • Outcome 4.1

Curriculum codes:

Resources Required

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Activity instructions

Part A: Sharing ideas about waste and nature

Step 1. Begin by having a discussion with your kid/s around the following questions:

  • What is waste?
  • Where does waste come from?
  • What should we do with waste?

Through your discussion, lead your kid/s to the idea that waste is the stuff that we no longer need or want. Most of the waste we create comes from things we buy, like food we haven’t eaten, clothes we no longer want or need, broken toys or appliances, and the packaging that these things come in. Most of us are pretty good at dealing with waste, and we put our waste into a bin (this could be a recycling, compost or rubbish bin).

Step 2. You can then ask the next question:

  • Why it is important to put our waste into the correct bin?

Through discussion, explain to your kid/s that waste can end up in nature, cause pollution, and harm the animals that live there. It’s also not very nice to look at.

But there’s another reason to make sure our waste g

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