Spring Dandelion Unit (Pre-K / K)

Spring Dandelion Unit - arts, science, nature, poetry, and more! Such a fun way to explore spring together!



Recently, while getting ready for an art day with some friends, I decided to do a dandelion unit to help launch our kids into a loooong unit about gardening and plants. Take a look at what we did! 

At the end of this post are links to sites that provided the inspiration for these ideas as well as some fun ones I wish I’d have seen earlier. 

Dandelion Notebook

Source

I helped the kids make a simple notebook of their dandelion activities. They colored a dandelion page like the one above and glued it to a piece of colored construction paper. This became the cover of their notebook. 


Facts and Experiments

Source

I showed them the picture above on my computer screen and used the points from the source web site (Dandelion Watch) to talk about the different parts of the dandelion. I printed off this fact sheet for talking points and included it in their notebook. It includes fascinating facts that the kids enjoyed learning, such as:

  • Dandelion flowers open in the morning and close in the evening.
  • Every part of the dandelion is useful. The root, flowers, and leaves – and can be used for food and drink, medicinal purposes, and dye for coloring. 
  • They get their name from the French name “dent de lion” because the leaves look like lion’s teeth. 
Of course, we also talked about how the seeds have little parachutes so that the wind can carry them. 
 
Coolest weed ever. 
 
Sorry about this picture. Apparently Batman hijacked my iPhone. But see the curling?

Then we went outside to scope out the dandelions. Fortunately, our yard is full of them. 😉 We picked as many of the open flowers as possible as we identified all the parts, and then went inside for more activities. 

First, we did a little science experiment. We talked about how the flowers absorb water with their roots and the water travels up the stems and into the flower. We took the stems off several flowers and peeled them into strips. When placed in water, the stems curl up because the cells inside the stems absorb the water and expand. The kids loved this activity!

Art Projects

 

We took the flowers and did an art project. When pressed or rubbed, the yellow pigment from the flower goes onto the paper and looks just like a dandelion! How convenient! We drew some stems on them and put them in the notebook. 

The next art project was for the fluffy seeded version of the dandelions. A little glue and a bunch of ear swabs cut in half makes a nice dandelion puff! 

Their notebooks also included this cute little dandelion poem from DLTK and a drawing each of them did of dandelions. 


Food and Drink

Later in the week, the kids and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and make some use of the abundance of big yellow flowers in the yard! 

We made dandelion cookies first. The kids thought this was SO cool. Washing them and removing the petals from the base (by squeezing the base and then pulling the petals free) gave us what we needed to make a fun dessert. 

We used this recipe to make these yummy, mildly sweet cookies. I like it because it uses honey instead of refined sugar. I also used all whole wheat flour and it turned out great. 

Then we picked as many medium to big dandelion greens from plants where the flower had not yet bloom (less bitter that way, I hear) and added them to our dinner salad. They tried it, but then made faces and said “no, thank you!” HAHA! 

As an aside, bunches of dandelion greens cost quite a bit at our local health food store! I’ve been eyeing people’s yards since last year when I realized I could forage for them instead. LOL!

Finally, we decided to make some dandelion tea. We left the whole flower head intact but mostly out of laziness. For a sweeter tea, remove the petals from the base. 

This was a really fun Spring unit for us! We’re still experimenting with the flowers and scoping out other people’s yards. 🙂 


Resources

Here is a list of the places that gave me these ideas, along with some fantastic additions to this lesson if you’d like to try it with your crowd. 


You might also like…

Spring Printable Pack - such a cute printable to celebrate spring!  Spring clean your homeschool 

Spring ideas for homeschooling
   Photo Credit to Makunin

Easter Story Lego Challenge! What a fabulous way to incorporate hands-on learning with the Bible!

 

 

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!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu