"If there is no such thing as a 'weed', what do you call a dandelion?!"
"Food, profit, and a hard working immigrant"
This is a snippet of a conversation that I had with an older man at a bookstore when I was looking to buy "One Straw Revolution" by Masanobu Fukuoka. I was trying to tell him the basics of permaculture and how we view "weeds". I doubt that he will ever look at a dandelion the same way after I told him what the environment and humans can use them for.
Look for different weeds in your garden with your child and then look them up on a chart like this one: http://www.oregonbd.org/Class/weeds.htm to see what they can tell you about your soil. Many of the "weeds" are edible or medicinal. Since dandelions are so easily recognizable, spend a day picking dandelion flowers in a chemical-free area to make into dandelion syrup. If you are looking for more reasons to love dandelions, check out this site: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dandelion-000236.htm
While you are out picking dandelions, notice where they are growing. School playgrounds, around bus stops, near sidewalks, but rarely in low use areas. With their large tap root, dandelions help to break up the soil (which can be harvested, washed, dried, roasted, and ground up into a coffee substitute in the fall) to allow for other plants to have a suitable place to live.
Let me know where your adventures lead you and how your dandelion syrup turns out!