So, I have to admit that the dump is one of the coolest places we've been. Seriously! There are little bucket loaders zooming all around, pick up trucks dumping their loads, bottles and cans being tossed into dumpsters and plastic bottles being poured into metal cages to be weighed. And then when that's all over the kids get about $2! How great is that, getting paid to witness all sorts of machinery and noise and general hub-bub. It's down-right exciting and we enjoy it every time we go! But, what are my kids learning from this experience?
The obvious answer is that we are UTILIZING our KNOWLEDGE about the importance of RECYCLING. Not only do we talk about keeping our Earth clean, we practice it. We also get PRACTICE COUNTING and ESTIMATING. If we're lucky we'll get a guy who will actually count how many bottles we brought, in which case we know exactly how much money we're going to get. Each bottle is worth .05 CENTS so Buddy and the Bear COUNT BY 5'S before hand to see how much money they should get. But sometimes, like today, we had a guy in a hurry so he just dumped the bottles and weighed them, so we got a little less money, an ESTIMATE. The Bear has a difficult time with ESTIMATION, she likes to be PRECISE...(like her mom) so we need all the practice we can get.
And of course, there is all the SOCIALIZATION that my kids get too, like PRACTICE STANDING IN LINE, SMALL TALK with the counter/weigher person, and HOW TO BE COURTEOUS in a loud setting. We also get practice TAKING TURNS to hold the money and then put it in the piggy bank. We also DISCUSS the IMPORTANCE OF SAVING MONEY and then practice it every time we come to the dump. (Our kids earn .10 cents a day in chore money that they accumulate over several months. They then pay tithing on that money and can spend the rest however they want. They practice saving all their dump money, even though they really want to spend it.)
Check out my other ideas on how to get out of the house and keep learning at the river, in the woods, at the docks, and at the grocery store.