On Wednesday of this week all of the Cygnaeus School English Class pupils, along with the English kindergarten children, celebrated our third annual Dandelion Day. This year the sun was shining and the dandelions were open and waiting for us. (Last year the dandelions were closed because of rainy weather so last year we celebrated Dandelion Day with art workshops at school all day.) This common flower deserves to be celebrated in as many ways as possible!
Dandelion Day stations were set up in a section of the Kirjurinluoto Island park area. Pupils were divided into K – 6 mixed age groups and given starting stations. There was a teacher and a task or two for the group to complete at every station. (PDF files of the tasks can be downloaded at the end of this post.) Click a picture to enlarge it for better viewing.
At the station shown in the photos above children learned how to make spiral curls from dandelion stems. They also learned how to play nonsensical children’s games. (See the task cards for more details.)
At another station children gathered dandelions and learned to make dandelion chains and crowns. Although the pictures show only girls wearing dandelion crowns, the boys were very handy at making crowns, too, with Julius being the most skillful of them all. Some opted to make rings and bracelets as well.
The science of dandelion seed dispersal was explored at another station. Pupils made paper tubes about the thickness of a thumb and dropped them to see how far the tube travelled from the dropping point. Then, using scissors, they cut narrow strips two thirds of the way down the tube and dropped it again. Observations were made as to which system carried the paper tube further from the dropping point.
Groups participated in a 15 minute scavenger hunt where they were challenged to find the longest dandelion leaf, the dandelion head with the greatest diameter and the dandelion with the longest stem. (As a matter of interest the tallest dandelion, the one with longest stem ever found measured 177.8 cm (70 in) and was found by Jo Riding and Joey Fusco in Ontario, Canada in 2011 according to Guiness World Records.) Bouquets of dandelions were gathered to use as batons in dandelion relay races, but sadly we ran out of time before we could organize the races. Two other games the groups played were tic tac toe using dandelion stems and flower heads, and flicking dandelion flower heads into a ring by winding the stem around the flower head and creating a “shooter”.
Children used dandelions to create butterflies, trees and flowers at one station. At yet another station they used the latex sap of the dandelion to draw spring pictures in “invisible ink”. Water colour wash was painted over the pictures back at school to create a kind of resist.
Ms. Anu told the lovely Legend of the Dandelion to groups as they visited her station. Another teacher shared fascinating facts about dandelions to groups. There was lots more to do than there was time for, but that is always a good thing. In years to come we will cook and make food with dandelions, write poems about dandelions, act out plays about dandelions and perhaps even create a collective sculpture around the theme of dandelions. We will read stories about dandelions, sing and compose songs about dandelions and do research about dandelions because this common flower is uncommonly interesting and hardy. It is a survivor and can by its resilience and adaptability teach us humans an awful lot!
You may download our Dandelion Day Task Cards below. We would appreciate a comment from you if you decide to download one or more of the cards telling us where in the world you are and how you plan to make use of them.