At this time of year, wildflowers are beginning to bloom, one of the best of which has to be the dandelion. It is a sure sign that the soil is warming up and spring has arrived. So enjoy some playful explorations for all ages.
1. Take time lapse photos
Many children do not connect dandelion clocks with dandelion flowers. Get your class or child to take a photo once or twice a day of a dandelion and let the children observe the change that takes place. Once the dandelions have gone to seed, then you can work out the time by blowing the seeds off the dandelion. Each blow represents one “o’clock” How accurate is a dandelion clock?
2. Dandelions heads
This is simply for fun! If you have an old colander, turn it upside down and poke dandelions through the holes. Then try wearing it. Remember to pose for any photos!
3. Eat dandelions
The flowers and leaves are edible.
- Washed young leaves are a nice addition to any salad.
- They can also be a substitute for spinach in recipes.
- Make fritters from any batter mix, just remember to make the batter before picking and washing the dandelion heads (NB I have tried this and really didn’t like the taste)
- Add flower heads to jelly.
4. Make a dandelion chain
This is so much easier than a daisy chain. It looks pretty worn as a necklace,
5. Learn how to make a dandelion knot crown
This weaving braid I have seen several people do and finally found a blog post that showed me how. Enjoy the tutorial. The system is simple and holds the dandelions together well – see my first attempt below.
6. Blow your own dandelion trumpet
Now this is particularly good fun. It does rely on finding a good stalk. A friend showed me this several years ago and this video shows you what to do. Remember to put all the split part of the stalk into your mouth, otherwise the air escapes before it goes down the stalk.
7. Create a dandelion trail for someone else to follow
Dandelions have strong tap roots. They are designed to be “cut and come again” flowers, so it is one which children can pick and within a few weeks, young shoots will be growing back. So picking a few to create a trail for someone to follow shouldn’t cause adverse harm to this species.
8. Give yourself a dandelion tattoo
The sap from the stem of a dandelion, causes fair skin to stain brown. So you can create lots of little circle patterns from the stem on the back of your hand. Naturally if you have sensitive skin, this activity is not such a good idea.
9. Dandelion bubbles
This idea comes from this month’s Outdoor & Woodland Learning Scotland bulletin. It’s very simple – just use the stem of a dandelion for dipping in bubble mix before blowing. You can always use the heads for other things – such as dipping in paint and printing.
10. Enjoy other dandelion blog posts
- A quick guide to the sensory and science of dandelions can be found on Jan White’s blog post.
- Many other dandelion ideas can be found on The Pleasantest Thing blog.
- The Active Kids Club blog also has a Dandelion Secrets blog, which also adds to the diversity of ideas.
- Outside with Marghanita blog has a story, ideas and links to other dandelion blog posts.