Learning About Dandelion Life Cycles

Dandelions... also called puffballs, lion's head, lion's tooth, and monk's head... are some of the first flowers that appear in the spring.  Spring animals love to eat them.  Children love to play with them.  Science teachers and homeschooling families like to use them to talk about plant life cycles.  Keep reading for a quick science + craft activity and children's book suggestion you can use to teach dandelion life cycles to the children you work with!

Learn about plant life cycles, make a  dandelion life cycle craft, and read The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony.  Perfect from spring!  Preschool to first grade.  Science, ELA, STEM/STEAM. #kellysclassroomonline

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Five Fun Facts About Dandelions

Dandelions are an overlooked species that people take for granted and even try to get rid of.  Here are five fun facts about dandelions you can share with the children you work with:
 
1. Dandelions were brought to North America by European settlers who used them as food and medicine. Dandelions can be cooked or eaten raw. They contain vitamins A, B, C, and K. They also contain iron, calcium, and magnesium. Many people enjoy drinking dandelion tea or putting dandelion leaves in their salads. Have you ever tasted a dandelion?

Dandelions at each stage of the dandelion life cycle.

2. Dandelions are perennial. That means they will grow every year on their own. Their growing season lasts from May until October.  Dandelions bloom twice during this time... in the spring and again in the fall.

Dandelions at each stage of the dandelion life cycle.

3. Even though a lot of people don't like dandelions and call them weeds, dandelions are an important part of the food cycle for many animals. Deer, rabbits, birds, insects, and rodents love to eat the leaves, stems, and seeds.

Dandelions at each stage of the dandelion life cycle.

4. Dandelions aren't a bee's first food of spring. Even though we see bees eating nectar from dandelions, they actually prefer nectar from other blossoms. Nectar from trees willow trees, maple trees, fruit trees, calendula, violas, and borage are some of their favorites.  Bees do eat nectar from dandelions... but only when they can't find it from other sources.

Dandelions at each stage of the dandelion life cycle.

5. Dandelions spread when the wind... or children... blow their seeds into the air. The seeds can travel hundreds of yards before landing on the soil and taking root.  Some seeds can travel up to five miles when the wind conditions are right!


Dandelion Life Cycle

The dandelion life cycle is similar to other plant life cycles:
  1. They start as seeds on the ground.
  2. The seeds germinate and begin to grow.
  3. Seedlings emerge from the seeds and grow into mature plants.
  4. The mature plants will develop flowers on them that produce more seeds.
  5. Those seeds are scattered by the wind, animals, and children.
  6. Then, the life cycle begins again.

Dandelions at each stage of the dandelion life cycle.  Illustrated in color.

Dandelion Life Cycle Craft

To help your students and children understand and visualize the dandelion life cycle, try making this simple craft with them.  It is a fun enrichment activity for your science lessons.  You will need three items:
  • paper plates (one per child)
  • clear tape
  • dandelions

Directions

  1. Review the stages of the dandelion life cycle.
  2. Give each child a paper plate and a roll of clear tape.
  3. Go on a nature walk to a field filled with dandelions.
  4. Help your students and children collect dandelions representing each stage of the life cycle.
  5. Tape these samples to the paper plates in the proper sequence.
  6. Enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!
  7. Read The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony when done.

Learn about plant life cycles, make a  dandelion life cycle craft, and read The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony.  Perfect from spring!  Preschool to first grade.  Science, ELA, STEM/STEAM. #kellysclassroomonline

Related Children's Book

Whenever possible, I try to integrate children's literature into the science skills I teach.  The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony is 'an oldie, but a goodie' (1997) and is perfect for learning about dandelion life cycles.  In The Dandelion Seed, there is a small dandelion seed that is afraid to let go of its flower.  When the wind forces it to finally let go, it soars through the air and experiences quite the adventure.  The Dandelion Seed is an adorable story told in rhyme... perfect for reading out loud.  Want to learn more about the story?  Check out the video below!


Read Aloud of The Dandelion Seed + Dandelion Painting Craft
video by Nature Together

Author's Summary

In The Dandelion Seed, kids learn the life cycle of a plant, but this dandelion seed is special. Readers follow a beautiful story of life's journey―a journey that brings change and growth. A journey of a tiny dandelion seed who was afraid to let go.  A dandelion can teach much about seeds and seasons and cycles―and the big world that a wind-blown seed can travel―but it also can make us appreciate the challenges it must overcome. This gorgeous book is at once simple and profound. You may be surprised and pleased by the questions and observations of your children after reading this together.

🍎 Title: The Dandelion Seed
🍎 Author: Joseph Anthony
🍎 Illustrator: Cris Arbo
🍎 Publisher: Dawn Publications
🍎 Date: September 1, 1997
🍎 Pages: 32

The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony


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