The Importance of Litter Picking in Early Years

In early years, fostering a clean and safe environment is crucial for the well-being and development
of young children. One effective way to instil a sense of responsibility and environmental
consciousness is through litter picking activities. As a community, Horsforth have a litter picking
group that dedicates time to cleaning the neighbourhood. At Inspirations, we try to get involved with
the community and litter picking is something we are passionate about. The children in our
preschool get involved quite frequently with our forest school practitioners.

In this blog, we will explore the significance of litter picking in early years and how it benefits both
children and the community.

1. Promoting Environmental Awareness:
Litter picking introduces children to the concept of environmental responsibility from an early age.
By engaging in hands-on activities, such as picking up litter, children develop an understanding of the
impact of their actions on the environment. They learn that their small efforts can make a big
difference in keeping their surroundings clean and preserving nature.

2. Encouraging Physical Activity:
Litter picking is not only beneficial for the environment but also for the physical development of
children. It provides an opportunity for them to engage in physical activity, promoting gross motor
skills and coordination. Walking, bending, and reaching to pick up litter helps children develop their
muscles and improve their overall fitness levels.

3. Developing Fine Motor Skills:
Litter picking involves picking up small objects, which helps children refine their fine motor skills. The
act of grasping and manipulating different types of litter, such as paper, plastic, or leaves, enhances
their hand-eye coordination and dexterity. These skills are essential for various tasks, including
writing, drawing, and self-care activities.

4. Teaching Responsibility and Empathy:
Engaging in litter picking activities teaches children about responsibility and empathy towards their
environment and community. They learn that they have a role to play in maintaining cleanliness and
taking care of their surroundings. By understanding the consequences of littering, children develop
empathy towards the environment and the impact it has on others.

5. Encouraging Teamwork and Cooperation:
Litter picking can be done as a group activity, fostering teamwork and cooperation among children.
Working together to achieve a common goal promotes social skills, communication, and
collaboration. Children learn to take turns, share responsibilities, and support each other, creating a
sense of unity and belonging within the group.

6. Connecting with Nature:
Litter picking provides an opportunity for children to connect with nature and explore their
surroundings. As they engage in the activity, they may discover different types of plants, insects, or
animals. This hands-on experience helps them develop a sense of curiosity and appreciation for the
natural world, fostering a lifelong love for the environment. Exploring our natural surroundings is a focus of ours at Inspirations and we feel passionate in doing so. Our pre-schoolers have the option to
explore the stunning Hunger hills woods twice a day. We are very lucky that the nursery is situated
in a location with beautiful surroundings with lots of nature for us to explore.

7. Building a Sense of Pride:
When children actively participate in litter picking, they develop a sense of pride in their
accomplishments. Seeing the positive impact of their efforts, such as a cleaner and tidier
environment, boosts their self-esteem and confidence. This sense of pride motivates them to
continue engaging in responsible behaviours and taking care of their surroundings.

In conclusion, litter picking in early years childcare is a valuable activity that promotes environmental awareness, physical development, responsibility, empathy, teamwork, and a connection with nature. By
incorporating litter picking into the curriculum, educators can instil lifelong values of cleanliness and
environmental stewardship in young children. We will also be getting involved in the community
composting project in Drury fields. This will support us in educating the children about the world and
helping to keep us cleaner. Help us encourage the next generation to be responsible citizens who
actively contribute to a cleaner and healthier world.


Kayleigh Woolger