The Best Way to Discover Fungi with Little Ones- Are you ready for some fun-guys?!
I would never have imagined how exciting a week dedicated to discovering the world of fungi could be for my toddler, baby, and myself!
Activity Sneak Peak
- Creating a mushroom log
- Making spore print art
- Cooking with mushrooms- Breakfast Omelet
- DIY fungi puzzle
- Mushroom hunt!
This past week in the Exploring Nature with Children nature study was Fungi Week, and as you may know, our family has been following this curriculum as a guide to creating our own adventures in learning about nature.
If you are new here- Welcome! Be sure to check out my previous post One Full Week of Playful Pumpkin Perfection for pumpkin inspired play and activities.
So, how did we explore mushrooms with a three-year-old and ten-month-old? And more importantly, what did we determine as The Best Way to Discover Fungi with Little Ones?
Let me tell you what we did for Fungi Week!
Mushrooms on a Log
This is such a simple activity and I have to say, makes for a cute mushroom-inspired display for your home! Right now, it’s the centerpiece on our dining room table.
What you need:
- A log or piece of driftwood
- Wine corks (thanks, Nana!)
- Mini cupcake papers
- Paint and paint brushes
- Hot glue gun
We started by gluing the wine corks onto the log. (I did the gluing as we used a hot glue gun). Then glue the cupcake papers onto the tops of the wine corks.
Next, get your painting shirts on and decorate the mushroom tops! Amelia has been liking experimenting with water colour paints, so that’s what we used.
Making Spore Prints
Foragers use spore prints to document mushrooms they have found and help with identification. Making mushroom spore prints is easy and demonstrates how mushrooms release their spores naturally. We used mushrooms from our fridge, but you can also use wild picked mushrooms too.
What you need:
- A piece of white paper or cardstock
- A sharp knife
- Eye dropper or syringe
- Cardboard box
The first thing I did was cut the stem and bottom bit off of the mushrooms with a knife to expose the gills. Next, Amelia laid the mushrooms down on the white paper and using a syringe, dropped a few drops of water onto the tops of each mushroom.
Once the mushrooms were moistened, Amelia covered the paper and mushrooms with a cardboard box. We left the box on overnight. The next morning, we removed the box and mushrooms to expose the prints left by the thousands of spores that were released by each mushroom! Neat eh?
Amelia wanted to decorate the spore prints, so we decided to make a piece of artwork by incorporating them into a picture of flowers!
Cooking with Mushrooms
As you know, some species of mushrooms are edible while others are not. Although we spent a week learning about fungi, I have to say that I’m not a mushroom identifying expert! For this reason, we decided to cook with mushrooms we had in our fridge.
We decided to make a mushroom breakfast omelet!
Amelia helped pick out the ingredients- eggs, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese. She helped by cracking the eggs, breaking the mushrooms into small pieces, and stirring the mixture before it was cooked.
Our omelet made for a quick and tasty lunch!
DIY Fungi Puzzle
Puzzles are a favourite activity here. We have several word puzzles, but not one that relates to fungi… so we made one!
That’s right! You can make a word puzzle with a few objects that you likely already have around your home.
What you need:
- A piece of cardboard
- A marker
- Alphabet letters
Just trace the letters onto the cardboard with your marker to create an instant word puzzle. We’ve been working on recognizing and naming the letters of the alphabet, so this FUNGI puzzle was a hit!
You can either set out the letters needed for the puzzle, or allow your child to search through all of the alphabet letters to find the ones that fit.
Okay, but what did we find to be The Best Way to Discover Fungi with Little Ones? After enjoying the activities, crafts and tasty sampling of mushrooms, here is what we found to be
The Best Way to Discover Fungi with Little Ones:
Go on a Fungi Hunt!
That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but I can’t tell you how much fun we had trudging through the woods in search of fungi. Amelia had a blast looking high in the trees and low on the forest floor for mushrooms.
We started our expedition as a casual stroll in search of fungi, but it quickly became an exciting scavenger hunt, and I have to say, Amelia is quite the mushroom hunter! There were many times where she found fungi that I had missed.
Our Fungi hunt opened our eyes to how diverse and prevalent mushrooms are on our own property. Now that we’ve finished Fungi Week, Amelia is still pointing out fungi on our nature walks and it makes me so happy (and proud) to see her showing such an interest in the natural world.
Remember that going on a nature walk doesn’t mean you have to haul your children to the deep woods. Go for a stroll through your neighbourhood park and I’m sure you’ll be able to find mushrooms.
Mushrooms are everywhere and make for a neat scavenger hunt- hidden under logs, up trees, and even in plain sight on the ground… that’s what makes them fun-guys!
I hope you found inspiration with The Best Way to Discover Fungi with Little Ones
Let’s hear from you!
Have you explored fungi with your children?