Flower Vs. Weed – Explaining the Difference to a Young Child

Q: My preschool students want to know how to tell the difference between a flower and a weed. How do I explain it to 4-year-olds?

A: My answer is simple: A weed is a plant that makes a gardener unhappy. Dandelion flowers are pretty, but I don’t like them growing in my lawn. Garlic tastes good, but it self-seeds in so many places in my garden that I pull out the unwanted seedlings. Sometimes weeds are simply the wrong plant in the wrong place. My friend Theresa Schrum adds: “#1. A weed is something you didn’t plant and wish it were gone. #2. A weed is something you DID plant and wish it were gone. #3. Weeds are the only plants that will thrive and take over while you’re on vacation.” If a plant makes you happy, it isn’t a weed!

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