Enjoying Dandelions with kids (and a little learning, too!)…
The dandelion gets its name from the toothed outline of its leaves — dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth…
The dandelion has developed a reputation as a pesky weed that grows just about anywhere, but the plant itself has quite a history as a culinary favorite and medicinal herb. The dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, and minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc. The leaves of the dandelion are used in salads, sandwiches and teas, and the petals of the flowers are used to make dandelion wines.
Don’t be quick to rid your lawn of dandelions for they are considered a symbol of hope, childhood and summer. The ever-popular children’s game of making a wish before blowing the dandelion parachutes off the stalk are sure to make the wishes come true. And finding the tallest dandelion stalk foretells just how tall a child will grow in the coming year.
Think of the dandelion, as author E.P. Roe writes, as Little Earth Stars:
To some the dandelion is a weed; but not to me, unless it takes more than its share of space, for I always miss these little earth stars when they are absent. They intensify the sunshine shimmering on the lawn, making one smile involuntarily when seeing them. Moreover, they awaken pleasant memories, for a childhood in which dandelions had no part as a defective experience.
Head out with your kids today to go dandelion hunting, often abundantly easy to find. Seek the tallest stalks. Discover the baby stalks. Tell stories of dandelions from when you were a kid. Photograph dandelions. Make wishes. Write little stories and poems about dandelions.
Discover a whole new world in the yellows and greens of the dent de lion, these lion’s teeth! Even the simplest discoveries help create bloomin’ good learning in kids and adults!