Dandelion Threading

Dandelions threaded into cardboard to resemble a lions mane

Laura @inspiremyplay

Founder of @inspiremyplay, Early Years teacher for 11 years and mummy to three gorgeous girls. I'm passionate about about the benefits of play in early childhood.


This is the perfect activity for anyone who’s lawn has been left just a bit too long without a mow! It’s really simple to prepare using a circle of cardboard and a pencil to create some holes. You can then thread the dandelions through the holes to create the lion’s mane. This activity is so good for fine motor skills and a great little boredom buster!

The Benefits of Natural Resources for Creative and Sensory Play

Natural materials are great to include in a child's sensory play. They encourage children to closely observe and explore the world around them and use all their senses since they have a variety of textures, scents, sizes, colours, and sounds. Loose objects like twigs, flowers, leaves, shells, and sand are all readily available open-ended materials which can be used on their own or combined with other items to foster creativity and imagination. 

While playing with natural materials, children are engaged in decision making and problem-solving opportunities. Natural materials can be taken apart, put back together again, combined, moved, and lined up. By exploring, manipulating, arranging, designing, stacking, and building with the materials in a variety of ways, children are able to be artistic, explore, design and collaborate. 

Natural resources inspire outdoor play and exploration and can also be found in natural surroundings. Exposure to nature gives children opportunities to discover and explore new things, solve problems, take risks, unleash their creativity and develop a sense of wonder.



Dandelion Threading

For this activity we took a circular piece of cardboard with holes in it and walked around our back garden collecting dandelions to create a lions mane.

  1. Cut a piece of cardboard into a circle;
  2. Using a pencil, punch holes around the edge of the cardboard and draw a lions face using marker pen;
  3. Then let your child collect as many dandelions as they want to thread through the holes to create the lions mane. 

Other Nature Play Ideas

Natural materials can be used in a variety of ways for learning activities. Toddlers and preschoolers absolutely love combining art and craft with nature so if you are looking for more ideas you could try:

  • Leaf printing. This is a great kid's activity. It can be combined with a nature walk to collect the leaves and even a bit of fine motor practice with a pair of scissors to cut them off the tree.
  • A nature colour hunt is the perfect spring or summer activity to get kids outdoors and appreciating the world around them.
  • nature treasure hunt. Gofindit is a nature treasure hunt that encourages kids to explore the natural world. It's great for taking on walks, trips to the beach or for playing in the garden. Read our full review here.
  • Creating a sensory tray for children to start exploring their senses while honing their motor abilities. We love small world set ups and natural resources are great to incorporate into small world play. You can read about some of our favourite small world themes here.


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Sensory and Creative Play Made Easy

Whether you are new to sensory play for little ones, or you are a seasoned pro, the PlayTRAY is the perfect tool to create a playful home.