Spring Dandelion Unit for Multiple Ages

Are dandelions popping up in your yard or nearby fields? Don’t let the opportunity pass! Here are several ways to explore these flowers. It can be a fun and educational experience that your kids will remember for years to come!

2021 Update: It’s been YEARS since we enjoyed our first dandelion unit study. It’s become somewhat of a tradition, actually, with new activities to explore. I’ve updated this post with more great ways to enjoy dandelions with your kids and added a download for your use. This year I’ll take more pics as we do our unit and share them here as well. 🙂 Enjoy!

Dandelion Unit Study

Dandelion Unit Notebook – Free Download

Make the most of your unit study with this simple dandelion notebook! It will help you document your learning activities.

  • Notebooking pages – Use the general notebooking pages to draw and write about your read alouds, nature studies, research, and more. 
  • Dandelion Poems & Scripture – Read, enjoy, draw, and use for copywork/dictation! You may even want to choose one to memorize together. 
  • Dandelion Recipes – Try out the cookies and tea recipes. You can draw or paste in a photo, give a rating, and more. Includes a generic page for your any other recipes you want to try. 
  • Parts of a Dandelion Diagram – Label the different parts of a dandelion. 
  • Dandelion Observation Page – Observe and draw the same dandelion over several days. Discuss the dandelion life cycle and how seeds are dispersed. 
  • Dandelion Experiment Page – Try the dandelion stem experiment, or other ideas from the More Dandelion Fun section below, and record your findings!
  • Dandelion Maze – Just a dandelion maze for fun! 🙂 

Dandelion Nature Study

Observe dandelions. Find a newly growing dandelion in your yard. Observe it over the next several days and draw or photograph each stage. (Use the nature study sheet in the download above.) 

Preserve dandelions. Try doing some flower pressing to preserve the dandelion flowers, seeds, and leaves. We put them face down between two pieces of paper and then put heavy books on top for 3 weeks. Here are more tips from Red Ted Art about pressing flowers. You can also laminate them afterward to create fun window displays or bookmarks. 

Learn parts of the dandelion. Find out the names of each part of a dandelion using the diagram below (also included with blank labels in the download provided). 

Learn about dandelions. Use one of the book selections below to read about dandelions together, or review these fun facts: 

  • Dandelions are part of the Asteraceae or sunflower family.
  • Dandelions don’t have true stems, but rather hollow scapes.
  • They have one of the longest flowering seasons.
  • Dandelions don’t need to be pollinated to make seeds. However, their nectar is still enjoyed by insects and butterflies. 
  • Using their little parachutes and some wind, dandelion seeds can travel up to 5 miles.
  • Dandelion flowers open in the morning and close in the evening.
  • Every part of the dandelion is useful — root, flowers, and leaves! They can be used for food and drink, medicinal purposes, and dye for coloring. 
  • Dandelions get their name from the French name “dent de lion” because the leaves look like lion’s teeth. 
  • Before the 1800’s, people used to pull grass out to make room for beautiful and useful dandelions.

Dandelion Unit Study Experiments

Take your nature study a step further with these fun dandelion experiments! 

  • Stem experiment. Talk about how the flowers absorb water with their roots and the water travels up the stems and into the flower. Peel the stems off several dandelions into strips. Place them in water and watch the stems curl up because the cells inside the stems absorb the water and expand. Try it again with salt water and see if you get different results. 
  • Examine the fluffy top of a dandelion seed head with a microscope or magnifying glass. Or check out this page with a microscope view and interesting info about that fluff. 
  • Examine the milky white substance from the dandelion stems, with a microscope if you have one. Check out this interesting info about what that substance is!
  • Make dandelion parachutes with paper tubes and steps of paper. Study how they use air resistance to help them travel.  Here are more details on this experiment from Science Sparks.

Dandelion Unit Art Projects

Dandelion pigment. When pressed or rubbed, the yellow pigment from the flower goes onto the paper and looks just like a dandelion. Create some dandelion flowers on paper by pressing or rubbing the flower onto it, then draw the flower details, leaves, and stems on them and put them in your notebook. Heres a fun video to show how you can do this. 

Dandelion puffs. Cut ear swabs in half and glue them into fanned or circular arrangements to make the fluffy tops of dandelions. 

Draw dandelions. Use these video tutorials to draw some simple dandelion flowers and puffs

Dandelions in the Kitchen

Dandelion cookies. The kids thought this was SO cool. Washing the dandelions and remove the petals from the base (by squeezing the base and then pulling the petals free). Then use the recipe below.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unbleached flour or wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal (quick or regular)
  • 1/2 cup dandelion flowers

Blend wet ingredients. Then add dry ingredients and flowers and mix well. Drop in spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes (or until done) at 375 degrees. 

Dandelion tea. Wash dandelions thoroughly and remove the dandelion flower petals from the head. Use a looseleaf tea strainer or cheesecloth to steep the petals in hot water. Add sugar or honey to sweeten and enjoy!

Dandelion greens. Dandelion greens cost quite a pretty penny at our local health food store! Might be worth trying your own crop. Pick them when they are young and have not yet bloomed to cut down on the bitterness. Wash thoroughly and add to your dinner salad. It still might be a little bitter for kids, but it’s fun trying it out anyway. 🙂 They are often added to health smoothies as well!

Dandelion Unit Books 

Here are some fun books to read aloud or offer to your kids for independent reading. 

Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock

Read pages 531-535 about dandelions in the in the Handbook of Nature Study and use it as a guide for leading observations and discussions with your children. Page 503 also explains how the dandelion is a composite flower.Handbook of Nature Study for dandelion nature study

The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony 

The Dandelion Seed book

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston

A seed is sleepy for dandelion unit study

Little Dandelion Seeds the World by Julia Richardson

little dandelion seeds the world

From Seed to DandelionFrom Seed to Dandelion

A field guide to edible plants like this Peterson field guide.

Peterson field guide to edible wild plants

Dandelion Adventures by L. Patricia KiteDandelion Adventures for dandelion unit study

More Dandelion Unit Fun

 

You might also like…

Spring Printable Pack - such a cute printable to celebrate spring!   Spring ideas for homeschooling

 

 

 

This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Hmmm, there are a lot of plants out there that look like dandelions, but aren’t. How do you tell the difference?

    1. Unless you are pretty familiar with dandelion leaves it can be tricky to id them before they flower. Last year I wasn’t sure, so I didn’t chance it. But I watched as they flowered and seeded and took a mental note of what the leaves looked like. They also look a bit different when they’re smaller compared to bigger. I found out that dandelion leaves will grow large if they are in tall grass or stay pretty much on the ground if the grass is short or absent. But now I can tell pretty easily which ones in the back yard are dandelions and which are not.

      Here is a fun post I just read today about dandelion foraging. There are TONS of recipes for the various parts if you look online! http://blackfoxhomestead.com/from-my-kitchen/our-first-expereince-with-foraging/

  2. How fun!!!! Someone else was telling me about the cookies, but I’d never heard of them. Were they good? I don’t blame your little ones for not liking the salad ~ it is an acquired taste. We need to give the tea a try too.

    1. They were pretty good! A little bland, I thought, but cinnamon would be a good addition. 🙂

  3. Love it! Our children are learning about the many uses for dandelions as well. I like having printables for them to use. Looks like a nice addition to use for our nature study!

  4. I love how you mention the many uses of this cool weed. I would have never thought to make cookies using them as an ingredient! My 6 year old would love to do that this summer. Thank you so much for sharing this at our Make Bake Create party!

  5. YES!! I totally do! Thanks for posting this. I just spied the first dandelions of the year and am planning on doing some of these activities with the kids before Jamie mows them down. 🙂

  6. Me again! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve featured you on my Make Bake Create Round Up today. There is a “featured” button for your blog within the post if you want one!

    Blessings!

    Sarah

  7. We are doing your mini-unit this week. My girls are very skeptical of eating dandelion cookies but we’ll give it a whirl! Thanks for sharing, and I am eagerly anticipating your anteater unit too 🙂

    1. Haha! Yeah that anteater unit is one of desperation! 😉 Let me know how it goes with the dandelion learning! Just between you and I, I’d add an icing glaze or something to those cookies. My kids liked them, but I thought they were still a bit bland!

  8. That is a very cool idea/unit! I love the art concept! Here’s hoping we have dandelions soon so my boys can do some of this. Thanks for sharing it!

  9. Great idea! We are also gearing up for a very long gardening unit – mainly because it is the beginning of our gardening season and I need help out there! Our yard is full of dandelions, and we love them. A lot of people feel it is a weed, but I think it is pretty to look out and see all that yellow, and then be able to pull them up to eat.

  10. I love this mini unit. My daughter is always picking dandelions and I know she would be interested in this. I would like to invite you to link up this post to my Money Saving Monday Link Up.

  11. This is a great idea! Last year we made dandelion syrup from our overabundance of them. My kids thought it was so neat!

  12. Such cute ideas and great resources! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Our backyard is the little ones buffet table. We have berries and fruit trees and a garden that they have free range in. We garden organically and don’t even get sprayed by the county because we have bees so we don’t have to worry about nasties. There is a hose hooked up to drinkable water for them to wash their goodies. They have their own grow boxes they are in charge of weeding and harvesting (they get watered with all the rest because we use large sprinklers). They love to eat their produce. Last summer I began teaching the oldest (4 then) about different weeds that could be eaten (dandelions, purslane, stuff like that) and with that introduction we had a little one who decided he loved salad! He will build his own salad from the yard, using greens that are “weeds” as mentioned and some spinach and beet tops from his grow box, adding in carrots, radishes, and peas (again, from his grow box). Currently spring is not upon us, so I bought a spring mix salad from the grocery store. He was busily going through the bag identifying the various leaves and asking me about those he didn’t know. They really do “eat” this kind of knowledge up!

  14. Great idea, thanks for your share.

  15. I think this unit sounds like fun!

  16. You should try Dandelion Jelly! My kids love doing this each spring, and it tastes a lot like honey. Some of our jelly didn’t set right, and was still a bit liquid, so they called it dandelion honey, it was so delicious! As soon as the first dandelion opens this year, I know the kids will be begging to make some. We can enough for the whole year.

    1. Oh my kids would love that! I’ll definitely look it up and try it. Thanks!

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