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Exploring mushrooms with children

Mushrooms are one of the amazing wonders of the world.

The other week during half term, we joined in with The Big Wild Walk to raise money for The Wildlife Trusts in helping them in their mission to protect nature and the environment from the climate crisis. On our walks we discovered some beautiful mushrooms like the shaggy ink cap and fly agaric, and it led us to talk about them and find out more about the many different varieties there are in the UK alone!

Mushrooms are a fungus, and can be called fungi. Unlike plants they don’t need sunlight to make the energy they need to grow. As they are mostly made of water, you will often find them in damp places, like woodland or forest floors, hidden or poking through wet leaves and soil. Some mushrooms grow on trees and branches too, where the wood or bark might be rotten. One thing to remember whenever mushroom spotting is to never touch them. Some mushrooms can be very harmful to eat and make us poorly, and also, protecting the mushrooms means that they can be left to spread their spores for future mushrooms! Those that are edible are a great food source for a lot of wildlife too. Best to get our mushrooms from green grocers! Here’s a fun-gi nature art activity to do with your Nature Makers… The materials you’ll need are: * Edible chestnut, closed cup or portobello mushrooms, or a mixture of edible mushrooms. * Brown or grey paint * Tray or tin foil * Paintbrush * Paper

Cut the mushrooms in half and either dip them into a shallow tray of paint . Alternatively encourage fine motor skills by getting your child to use a paintbrush to apply paint to the flat side of the mushrooms. Take the painted mushrooms and print onto the paper to see the mushroom patterns on the paper! How about repeated patterns using white paint on the mushrooms printed on brown paper and brown kraft card luggage tags to make eco friendly homemade Christmas wrapping paper, or even gift tags! We would love to see your printed mushroom artwork or photos of any marvellous mushrooms you’ve found on walks outside over the Autumn and Winter - maybe you’ll find a mushroom we never have! Tag us @naturemakers on Instagram or Facebook.

(Photo of the first mushroom is used by permission from @emsiam on Instagram)


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