Dunk the Junk

Summary: Students are provided with a pile of “trash” and they have to decide whether is belongs in the trash can or recycling bin. They then proceed to toss the item in the appropriate bin (like basketball).


  • Trash bin
  • Recycling bin
  • Assorted, clean trash
  • Tape


  1. Set up trash and recycling bins next to each other and put a line of tape a few feet in front of them.
  2. Put assorted trash in a bag and have students choose a piece randomly.
  3. Have student stand behind the tape line and toss the item they chose into the appropriate bin.
  4. If the student throws the item in the correct bin, congratulate them and explain why it is correct. If the student throws the item in the incorrect bin, explain why it belongs in the other bin then have them try again. If the student misses the bin at any time, give them multiple tries to get it in.


  • This game could be played in teams or could be timed (like a relay race) to give it more of a competitive edge.

Debrief Questions:

  • Was it hard to decide which bin each item belonged in?
  • How did you figure out which bin each item belonged in?
  • Is it important to pick up trash you see lying around where it doesn’t belong?

Grade Level: Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd

Activity Length: Medium (15-30 minutes)

Group Size: Large (10+), Medium (5-9)

Energy Level: High