Forest School

Forest Schools – dandelions & jam making

Click here to see the information in a .pdf from Mrs Ensor

Talk about the different parts of a flower in this song: 

Flower song – to tune of ‘heads shoulders knees and toes:
Roots, stem, leaves and flowers, leaves and flowers
Roots, stem, leaves and flowers, leaves and flowers
And Petals and pollen and anthers and bees BZZZZZZZZ
Roots, stem, leaves and flowers, leaves and flowers

Go on, have another go – and do not forget the actions!

Interesting facts

  • Did you know a dandelion in French means ‘lion’s tooth’, have a look at the leaves they are toothed shaped on the edge!
  • Every part of the dandelion is edible, root, leaves, flowers
  • The flower heads is made up of approximately 300 flowers-each petal is actually a flower in itself-so that means there are up to 300 seeds when it turns into a seed head and they can float for 5 miles before they settle. These can be blown as dandelion clocks-you could play telling the time with  them…..
  • The flower stem can reach up to the height of a ruler (6-12 inches) but guess…. what the roots can go down the height of an elephant-10-12feet!

Dandelion Jam

https://muddyfaces.co.uk/activity/deep-learning-dandelions-part-2/                 

We have been making dandelion jam for several years in EYU and its delicious, a free food and we always have loads of fun! We have a whole day to do dandelion activities and then sell the jam at the end of the day to our Fishergate families. If you have not made jam before I suggest you check out on the internet how to reach setting point when making jam. There are lots of dandelion jam recipes on YouTube and people add in different things. But below is the recipe I use with the children and we make it in a morning and then decorate our labels in the afternoon when it is cooling.

For making the jam, please remember to pick only the flower and not where dogs have been to the toilet, and not the green stem or leaves-we only want yellow petals for our jam. We do not want to kill the plant by pulling all its stems off so use gentle fingers. I have included the recipe on the next sheet. It is delicious and tastes like honey!

Dandelion Jam Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • Jam Jars 2 big/ 3 small
  •  2 large cups of fresh dandelion PETALS
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1/4 cup well-strained, clear lemon juice
  • 4 cups sugar
  • liquid pectin – follow instructions on the bottle or packet.

Preparation:

Ensure the jam jars are clean and preferably sterile for longevity

Method.

  • Pull off the yellow petals from the flowers, (do not put any green bits in as these are bitter), place in a bowl.
  • Cover the petals with the boiling water and allow to cool naturally. 
  • Strain the petals using a muslin or coffee filter (we used a sieve then a tea towel).
  • The liquid left is a dandelion tea which can be drunk neat.
  • In a pan combine the dandelion tea, sugar and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved 
  • Bring the solution to a full rolling boil. 
  • Add the liquid pectin, then stirring constantly bring back to a full boil. 
  • Boil for several minutes or until setting point is reached.
  • Remove from heat and fill the warm jars.  Then allow to cool. It will firm up as it cools.
  • Enjoy!

A Dandelion Story And Legend

Long, long ago, the flowers had a huge argument about which of them was the most beautiful, the most special, the most loved by the humans and by the fairies. The argument lasted for weeks, with each flower claiming to be the most beautiful and the most loved. Finally, all of the flowers agreed to let the Flower Fairies decide.

The Flower Fairies sent they’re gentlest and kindest of spirit fairy to settle the problem and to give one plant her blessing and the title of the “most perfect” flower. The little Fairy decided to test each flower by asking them one question.

The first flower the Fairy talked to was the Rose. “Where would you most like to live?” she asked it.
“I would like to climb the castle wall.” said the Rose. “And then kings and queens and nobles would pass by every day and exclaim over my beauty, my scent and my delicate nature.” The Flower Fairy walked sadly away from the Rose.

Next the Fairy came to a tulip, standing tall and proud. “Where would you most like to live?” she asked the Tulip. “Oh, I want to live in a public garden” said the Tulip. “Where everyday people would come and admire my wonderful colours and see how straight and tall I stand.” Once again, the Fairy walked away feeling sad.

She walked until she came to a forest. There she found some Violets. She asked them “Where would you most like to live, little Violets?” “Oh” said the violets quietly “We like it here hidden in the woods where no one can see us and where the trees keep the sun from dulling our beautiful color.” The fairy thanked the Violets and walked on looking for more flowers to talk to.

She talked to the Tiger Lily who was much too wild and fierce. She talked to the Sunflower who barely answered her because all she wanted to do was be warmed by the sun. The little Flower Fairy talked to the Orchids who only wanted to be taken out to dances and she tried to talk to the Narcissus, but it was too busy looking at its reflection in the water to speak to her.

The little Fairy, with tears in her eyes, was ready to give up and go home when she came to a field with bright fluffy yellow flowers on long thin stalks. The leaves were long and jagged and very close to the ground. But the flowers….oh how happy and cheerful they looked in the field!

“Little one” said the Flower Fairy “What are you called and where would you like to live?”

“I am a dandelion” said the little flower. “I’d like to live wherever there are children. I want to live beside the road, and in the meadows, and push up between the sidewalks in the cities, and make everyone feel happier when they see my bright colours.” The Dandelion chattered on happily saying “I want to be the first flower that the children pick in the spring and take to their mothers. And I could tell if a child likes butter by being rubbed under their chins, and if a child makes a wish and blows my seeds, I could carry that wish on the wind.”

The Flower Fairy smiled brightly and said “Little Dandelion, you are the most perfect and special flower of all and you shall have your wish! You will blossom everywhere from spring till fall and be known as the children’s flower.”

And this is why the dandelion comes so early and pushes her head up everywhere with such strength and determination. And why she is so loved by children throughout her long life. (Author unknown)

Great Fires of London

Key stage 1 children loved their great fires of London topic!! It seemed a shame to set fire to the houses they had constructed out of cardboard and straw and then painted!! But we did!!! (Click to enlarge the pictures)

We watched from a safe distance as the fire started in the bakery and took hold very quickly!! Within minutes they were burned to the ground!! Not like the days it took in 1666!!  Super hands on learning!!

Planting Crocus Bulbs in the Cemetery

Early Years went on a walk to the cemetery to help Clive, one of the volunteers, plant crocus bulbs.

The children had lots of fun making holes, planting the bulbs and getting a bit messy. Clive also took the children on a walk around the forest area of the cemetery and taught them all about the different trees and leaves.