With May Day just around the corner, I was hoping to find some fun, flower themed projects for the children to do.
- Dandelions are cheerful - I mean really how could a relative of the sunflower and daisy not be cheery. Never mind that ragweed's part of the family (Asteraceae, to be specific).
- They are edible, perhaps not overly tasty, but full of vitamins C, and A, and beta carotene, though you need to keep in mind food allergies, exhaust pollution, and possible dangers of weed killers.
- They are perennials, meaning you don't have to plant them, they just grow, year after year, all on their own.
- You can find them just about anywhere.
- And, pretty well, no one will mind if you pick them.
Even so, I like to discourage the children from stealing flowers from yards, so we walked down to a vacant lot, where there are lots of unsprayed dandelions currently growing.
And where, we discovered one more good thing about dandelions...
...apparently ladybugs are crazy for them. We found three or four, seven-spotted ladybugs (Coccinella septempunctata) on each plant, which we'll be reporting to Cornell University's Lost Ladybug Project.
To celebrate our find, and one glorious day of summer-like weather, we brought our flowers home, to wash...
...and turn into cookies. I was happy for a chance to try out a Fairy Gardens recipe (click the link to view it), which is basically a chocolate chip cookie dough, but with M&Ms...
...and dandelion flowers, added for fun.
The flowers add more color than taste, though I won't lie, they do add a little taste. My children, who are extremely picky absolutely devoured them (the same can not be said of the Man of the House, who turns green at the mere mention of dandelions in the kitchen).
I think the pastel M&M's left over in stores from Easter, look especially nice with the soft, yellow of the flowers, making for a very sunny plate, indeed. And, they were a perfect go along for our snack time story.
Mia Posada's Dandelions, Stars in the Grass, which we also read last spring (click here, for that post) is a simple, poetic picture book, about the beauty, and usefulness of the supposed weed, with a science section at the back, good for older children, as well as their younger siblings, and a recipe for Zigorriesalat (lion's teeth salad), for anyone who's really feeling brave.
It's great to be a homeschooler.