Looking for a way to give your school recycling program a fun, new twist? We love this Recycle Drop game for collecting bottles and cans, and kids do too. It’s the perfect incentive for school recycling.

So how do you make this interactive game, and how do you play? Check out the video below and then read further for tips to make and play the game at your school!

Here’s what you’ll need.:

You can make your Recycle Drop game as big or small as you’d like. For ours, we started with a 32-gallon recycling bin to build the stand. Then the rest of the items (and sizes) were adjusted from there.

1. Start with a strong base

Take a Hula-Hoop that’s roughly the size of your recycling bin opening and create an outline on your piece of plywood. Then use a handsaw to cut out your hole. What’s left will be the top of your table or stand. Then you’ll attach your legs, based on how short or tall you want it to be. (If you’re unsure about this step, recruit a handy parent or staff member to create this part for you.) After you’re done, spray-paint it all.

2. Create the structure for your recyclables.

This step will take a little trial and error. Pick up chicken wire at your local home improvement store or online. You want it to be the same width as your opening, which is why you used the Hula-Hoop for the outline and now you’ll use again to create a tower. For ours, we used three Hula-Hoops and then secured them with zip ties. You could make yours taller or shorter, depending on your needs. First, do an outline to help create your shape (shown above). Then paint all the hoops to give your Recycle Drop an extra pop. (This would be a great time to use school colors.)

3. Connect it all!

Now that you have your table built and your structure together, it’s time to put it together. You can see here that we used fasteners to make it more secure and easy to disassemble. Just use a screwdriver.

4. Paint the dowels

The finishing touch is painting the dowels. Insert them into the chicken wire and test that no recycled materials will make it past.

5. Fill it up and get ready to play Recycle Drop!

We love playing this game outside, but it works inside as well. Challenge your students to fill up the container all the way to the top. Once they do, the game is ready.

6. Invite students to play.

To play, we split students up into two different teams. Then they took turns. One player at a time selects a dowel to remove from the tower. The teams strategize throughout the game, trying to figure out which pieces would be best to remove.

7. Get the most items to drop to win!

The point of the game is to get the most recycling bottles and cans to drop. If you have two separate teams, keep track as they go. When a student removes a dowel, count the items that fall into the bin toward their team’s total. Once all the items have fallen, declare a winning team. Then reset the dowels and play again!

Get more recycling ideas and content for your school at PepsiCo’s Recycle Rally Resource Library.

We're in Love With This Recycle Drop Game to Track Recycling Progress