Mushrooms & Fungi

There is some kind of fungi that is growing on one of the old maple tree slices in the yard;

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Its texture has attracted the children’s attention all summer.  It is fairly solid – like rubber – but it also has soft ‘fur’.

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I know nothing about mushrooms and fungi except that I like eating the ones I buy from the store.  The ones that sprout up in our garden every year I think are gross, ugly, and possibly poisonous.

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I once asked an experienced gardener what I should do about the mushrooms.  They looked somewhat confused and said I was lucky to have them.  Mushrooms would only grow in healthy soil and probably liked that I use only compost and no chemicals in our garden.

I still think they are ugly.

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Luckily most of them are only there for a day or two.  They sprout up, turn black, and then disintegrate back into the soil.  They are usually so fragile that picking them is nearly impossible.

I always tell the children the mushrooms are not edible even though they grow in our garden.  I probably don’t have to worry about them eating the garden mushrooms – none of the children will eat store bought mushrooms either.  Actually, now that I think about it, maybe they don’t eat store bought mushrooms because I keep telling them not to eat the garden mushrooms.

Last week we found a mushroom in the garden that I thought was much nicer than the ones we usually see.  It was quite solid and I was able to pick it.  I brought it inside for ‘science’.

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I also cut off a piece of the maple stump fungi for comparison.  It was surprisingly difficult to cut and I had to try several different tools before I could hack off a piece.

The toddlers were very excited as they gathered around the table.  They love the magnifying glasses.  They each had one – it is very important to have the same number of magnifying glasses as there are toddlers – they don’t like to share.

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There were not enough pieces of mushroom and fungi for all the children to have a piece of each.  That didn’t matter because the children had no interest in looking at the mushrooms or fungi.

They did spend nearly 30 minutes using the magnifying glasses to look at everything other than the items on the tray – and several times they asked when the ‘Fun Guy’ was going to arrive.

That’s what happens when you try to have science class for toddlers.

What do you think?

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