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Activity for May:
Dandelions are one of the first flowers that appear in yards in the spring.
They are important to bees as one of the first ways they can collect pollen (for food) and important to us because we need bees to pollinate plants.
Without plants, we don’t have food!
Activity One: Learn About Dandelions
Read the following statements about dandelions and decide which ones are True or False! Challenge your friends and family to make it a game.
(The answers are in the PDF in the Adult Section at the end.)
T/F Dandelion seeds can travel 5 miles in the air before reaching the ground
T/F White Sulphur Springs WV (home of the Greenbrier Hotel) had a Dandelion Festival
T/F You can make a yellow dye from the Dandelion flowers
T/F Dandelion wine is made from the flowers
T/F You can eat Dandelion greens in a salad or cook them for a good source of vitamins
T/F Dandelions flowers come back year after year (they don’t really die in the cold weather)
T/F Dandelion stems are hollow but has a waxy milky latex sap in it
T/F Dandelion flowers open in the daytime and close up at night
T/F What we call the Dandelion flower is called a floret and is made up of tiny little flowers. Go look closely!
T/F The name Dandelion comes from the French dent-de-lion, meaning 'lion's tooth'
T/F Dandelions are one of the first flowers that you see in the spring and that makes them very important source of nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies
T/F Dandelions are good for your lawn because they help fertilize the grass
T/F Every part of the dandelion is edible
T/F Dandelions can be eaten.
T/F Dandelions are actually flowers, not weeds
Activity Two: Paint a Dandelion!
You can make a dandelion picture using a Q-tip as a brush and white paint.
You Will Need:
White acrylic paint
Colored paper (construction paper or cover stock is best)
- Dip the Q-tip in the paint.
- Dab it on colored paper to make a fuzzy ball.
- Darker paper (cover stock or construction paper) will help your art show up better.
Activity Three: Make Dandelion Lemonade!
You Will Need:
- 4 cups of fresh dandelion flowers (without pesticides)
- 1-2 cups of sugar or honey
- 4 lemons (or 12T bottled lemon juice).
Note: For a stronger dandelion flavor, boil them in 4 cups of water and let sit an hour. Strain, and fill up gallon with additional water needed.
- Place the dandelions in a strainer and rinse them to remove any dirt or small insects.
- Fill a gallon container with water.
- Add the juice of 4 lemons.
- Add 1-2 cups of sugar (you can also substitute honey for some or all of the sugar).
- Mix well.
- Place the dandelions in the top of the container and let sit for a couple of hours before serving.
- You can strain the dandelions out before serving or leave them in the lemonade for garnish.
Activity Four: Make Pounded Flower Prints
A first step in exploring the mystery of plant pigments is to transfer them directly to fabric, creating decorative patterns to adorn napkins, pillowcases, or to make prints for framing.
Have kids predict what colors their prints will be, explain their thinking, and then compare and discuss the results.
You Will Need:
- Dandelion flowers and leaves
- A white cloth (pillowcase, handkerchief, plain bandana, etc)
- Wax paper
- A hammer
If using new napkins or pillowcases, wash them first to remove sizing. If students are making a print to be framed, cut fabric 1 inch larger than frame size so they can wrap the fabric around a piece of cardboard in the frame.
Cut flowers from stems, leaving a little bit of stem attached.
Choose a workspace that can be safely pounded with a hammer, such as the floor or a sturdy worktable.
Cover the surface with a thick protective layer of newspaper, and place wax paper on top to keep the newsprint from being transferred to the fabric. Lay fabric on top of the wax paper. Have kids practice on scrap fabric first, to see the effects of different flowers.
Invite students to experiment with designs. They should place flowers and leaves face down on the fabric and place sheet of wax paper over the entire design.
With safety goggles on, students can hammer through the wax paper to transfer the flower pigment onto the fabric. Make sure they pound along the margins to define the shape. Thick flowers require more pounding.
Remove wax paper and check the fabric. Students may want to add more flowers and continue the process until they are pleased with the results.
For a print to be framed, leave the small flower pieces that adhere to the fabric. For napkins and pillowcases, remove the residue.
Wash napkins and pillowcases in cold water and iron them. (Flower prints may fade when washed in hot water.)
For a framed print, iron the fabric, then wrap the border of the fabric around the thin piece of cardboard that comes with the frame (or provide your own).
Tape fabric to cardboard and place it in the frame.
Activity Five: Make A Wish!
When you see a mature dandelion ball, blow the seeds and make a wish.
We have borrowed liberally from www.thechaosandtheclutter.com for many of these program ideas. For more ideas and games, we hope you will visit their site.
Parents and teachers can download the PDF version of our activities here!
We hope you enjoyed these activities!
Submit a photo of you doing this month's activity and you may be featured on our page next month! Or, let us know if you have any suggestions for the next program theme.
If you had fun with our activities, check out Conservation Connect: an environmental education program for students and teachers.
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c. 2021, Friends of the National Conservation Training Center