Friday, April 29, 2016

Dandelion STEM Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Are Dandelions Weeds and Other STEM Activities

Dandelion Math activities: counting, sequencing, comparing, building shapes, measuring length with the ruler, introducing addition and subtraction (without the terms). We included some dandelion science, engineering, and art activities and had a picnic on the lawn.

Dandelions are beautiful flowers that have several benefits for the environment and can be used in the diet. We admired the flowers and made our wishes: kids love blowing on them! Why can dandelions be considered weeds? They can go out of control quickly which makes them unwanted plants in certain areas.

The goal of these activities was to explore why dandelions can be so pervasive people start to consider them weeds. These flowers are members of the daisy family. And yes, daisies can be considered weeds in several states. So do roses if they are out of control and unwanted on a certain flower bed.

 

Dandelion Sequencing for Preschool and Kindergarten

Pictured below, the sequence is right to left. In reality, we did it left to right:
  • the flower is still closed (we opened it up to find yellow petals inside),
  • a yellow dandelion,
  • yellow petals turned white,
  • seeds on the flower (we picked one to find a seed at the end and to see how well it can fly),
  • the center with all the seeds gone.
To build this sequence for the first time, we started with the yellow flower, then discussed how it looked before (or after), picked an example from the lawn, and placed it on the tray.

This sequence includes 5 elements which might not be easy for preschooler. I mixed up the flowers and invited My Firefly to build a sequence again. She did it three times before managing it on her own. If too difficult, it can be set up as a matching activity with picture clues. We noticed beautiful dandelion free printables here: http://kruschkiste.blogspot.de/2015/03/legekreis-lowenzahn.html (this blog is in German).


Dandelion science connection:

Weeds are plants that people don't need. We found a catchy fun song to learn about weeds (or to sing it happily while weeding): Song About Weeds from Capri + 3. There is the cutes video in this article too.

Dandelions can be considered weeds: there are too many of them because their seeds spread up easily with the wind and form new plants.

Dandelion Compare and Contrast

Pictured below:
  • Are these flowers differ by color? What colors do you see? (light and dark yellow).
  • Which does not belong?
  • Which one is different?


Possible answers:
The first one because it has the longest stem. All the other stems are short.
The second one because it has a leaf. All the other flowers do not have leaves.
The last one because it is the biggest flower. Al the other flowers are small.

Dandelion Art Connection:

We took some dandelion indoors for a lovely art project found here: Dandelion Art Project for Kids from My Bright Firefly. We had fun with color mixing and painting, and hung up the picture as a bright reminder of a beautiful spring day.


Long or Short Dandelion Stems: Measuring and Arranging Activities

We are only starting with the ruler. I measured and cut the stems to the 0 to 4" long.

Invitation to measure with the ruler: we positioned the ruler together to see how long each stem is.
Invitation to arrange the stems from the shortest to the longest.

Dandelion Science Connection:

Can you find the flowers with the long stems in the grass?
With the short stem?
Which one was easier to find?
Why do you think some flowers grow taller then the others?


Counting Dandelions. Introduction to Addition and Subraction without the Terms.

Pictured above, pick as many dandelions as the number on the tray.
Pictured below, a different number is on the tray:
  • Do you need more or less dandelions now?
  • How many flowers do we need to add to the tray? This is hands-on: add flowers one by one, count the total, count the new flowers that were added.
  • How many flowers do wee need to take from the tray (for a smaller number)?


Dandelion Engineering Connection:

How many flowers do we need to make a square? How many sticks?


How many dandelions do we need to take from the tray to make a triangle?

 

Dandelion Patterns



Parts of a Plant

Why dandelions can be considered weeds? We observed, touched, and measured the root; discussed how the root helps dandelion to survive in adverse conditions. We counted the amount of stems and flowers on the plant; reviewed the seeds spreading with the wind.

Invitation to find the parts of a plant matching activity:
We used two plants: one is pictured below, the other is taken apart.


These dandelion STEM activities were very fun! They included a picnic blanket, a basket of simple tools, and a lawn filled with dandelions on a lovely sunny day. We extended the activities indoors:
Dandelion Art Project for Kids from My Bright Firefly.

A to Z Outdoor Activities

A wonderful collection of fun and simple ideas for the outdoor activities this season was brought by Something 2 Offer: A to Z Spring Outdoor Activities Blog Hop.


Alligator Action Rhyme from Preschool Powol Packets. Little alligators will love rolling in grass with these rhymes - how cute!

Ball Games from Creative World of Varya.

Chalkboard Pretend Play from Our Whimsical Days. Spark imagination with this simple set up for lots of fun play with chalk.

Dandelion STEM Activities from My Bright Firefly.

Froggy Fun Outdoors from Mrs. Leblanc's Learners.

Growing Tuff Spot from Tuff Spot Play. Dirty, messy gardening can be so much fun for the little ones!

Hiking with Kids from Royal Baloo. Joining a hiking parenting group can be amazing! So many fun ideas for the nature walk activities and helpful tips for hiking with kids are provided in the article.

Jungle Gym Fun from Something 2 Offer.

Kite Activities from Something 2 Offer. Make flying a kite a family experience; build or decorate it for the "Most Creative Kite" award - great ideas for the outdoor fun with the kite!

Mud Kitchen from Clare's Little Tots.

Nature Art Project from Uno Zwei Tutu.

Pond Life Explorations from Natural Beach Living. Free Pond Life scavenger hunt printable is included.

Rock Painting from Something 2 Offer.

Sidewalk Chalk Math Game from Crafty Mama in Me.

Tactile Nature Letters with Free Printable Letter Templates from Living Montessori Now. Take learning letter sounds outdoors and to the nature walk!

Underground Scavenger Hunt from Preschool Powol Packets. It's amazing what kids can find! Free Underground scavenger hunt printable is included.

Xylophone Outdoor Music from Craft Create Calm. Recycle and create some music outdoors - how fun!

Yellow Photography Scavenger Hunt from Preschool Powol Packets.

Zoo Atlanta Visit from Crafty Mama in Me.


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