10 Fun Springtime Dandelion Activities
One sure sign of spring is the sight of cheerful dandelions popping up all over. Many adults cringe when those yellow spots start showing up in their lawns, but children love dandelions. This year when dandelions appear in your yard, skip the weed killer and spend some time with your child enjoying dandelions together!
Here are 10 fun dandelion activities to get you started:
1. Go on a dandelion hunt: Head outdoors with your child and hunt for dandelions. See if you can find some with long stems, short stems, bright yellow heads and fluffy heads that have gone to seed. What’s the weirdest one you can find? The smallest? Biggest? Compare and contrast your collection, observing and discussing both differences and similarities.
2. Paint with dandelions: Have your child paint with dandelions instead of brushes. Observe the difference between painting with the dandelion stem instead of the head, or “stamping” with the head instead of “swiping” with it.
3. Press dandelions: Many children have never pressed flowers before! Place a dandelion between 2 sheets of wax paper, then place in the middle of a heavy book. Close the book and put several more books on top of it. Check in about a week to see if it’s pressed and dried.
4. Make dandelion art: Provide heavy paper or cardstock and glue and have your child glue dandelions to the card stock. Including all parts of the dandelion – flowers, stems. leaves and seed puffs – makes for an interesting picture. (Check out #9 to see how to curl dandelion stems!)
5. Make dandelion chains: Use your thumbnail (or a plastic knife) to create a small hole in the stem of a dandelion – just large enough for another dandelion stem. Thread another dandelion’s stem through the hole in the first dandelion stem. Continue, adding dandelions until the chain is the desired length. Connect the ends to make dandelion crowns or necklaces.
6. Do some dandelion math: Have your child place dandelion and in each section of an egg carton. Try counting the dandelions one by one as they are taken out of then put back into the carton. How many dandelions are there in all? How many dandelions will fit in one section? How many dandelions have long stems? Short stems? Older children can practice addition and subtraction with their dandelions too.
7. Grow dandelions: Dandelions are hardy plants that grow just about anywhere they are planted. Unlike some flowers, dandelions survive being transplanted, and often produce more flowers!
- Place a few rocks or a coffee filter at the bottom of a plant pot to help with drainage.
- Fill the pot half full with potting soil.
- Show your child how to dig up a dandelion; get most of the main root so the plant doesn’t die.
- Place the plant into the pot, and add more potting soil and pressing it down firmly.
- Water well and place near a window so it will get sunlight.
- Check the plant daily and keep the soil damp.
- In about 10-14 days the plant will grow buds.
With your child, observe and discuss the buds blooming, the flowers dying, and the seed puffs forming. You can explain that the wind usually blows the seed puffs and wherever they settle is where new dandelions will grow.
8. Dandelion Dye: Children are often surprised to discover that we can get colors from things like strawberries, coffee, grass, and even dandelions! To make Dandelion Dye:
- Soak dandelion heads in warm water for a few hours. (save the stems for the next activity)
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour.
- Cool, then strain through cheesecloth, preserving the liquid.
- Dissolve 2 oz each of alum and cream of tartar in 1 cup of water and add to the dye mixture.
- Soak white fabric in the dye until desired shade is reached.
For more information, Almost Unschooler’s blog post has step-by-step instructions with photos.
9. Curl dandelion stems: Use your thumbnail (or plastic knife) to peel stems into several long sections. Immerse the stems in water and watch each of the cut sections curl up almost immediately. The curled stems can be used in art projects, like #4 above.
10. Read “The Dandelion Seed” by Joseph Anthony. Have your child blow on a seed puff (in the park if you can’t stand to do it in your yard) and watch how far the seeds go; follow them as far as you can.
For more fun dandelion activities, check out:
Amy Sue has been writing about the joys and trials of motherhood, family, and life in general at My Happy Crazy Life since 2005. She is married to her best friend, mom to six fantastic children, grandma to 3 amazing grandchildren, and owner/operator of Amy & Kids Co. Family Child Care. In her spare time she directs handbell choir, middle school band, sews for Zany Zebra Designs, reads, gardens, and spends time with her family.
About the Author
Kaitlin Gardner currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking , hand with her family and friend and enjoy nature.