Nature Journal – Mushroom Magic

| November 20, 2008 | 10 Comments

It’s a story up for hot debate in our house right now, “Do fairies ACTUALLY live under mushrooms in the forest?”

Our daughter is adamantly against the whole theory. They may use these cool weather blooms to escape from the rain, stay out of the sun or hide from odd creatures (like humans, according to her). But, fairies would NEVER live under mushrooms. Too stinky.

Apparently, in her book, they can only live in trees…and we as adults are plainly ignorant about things that only 3-year-olds know the answers to.:)

It’s a good thing she’s along on our forest adventures these days. Otherwise I would spend my time trying to catch a glimpse of my fairy pals in all the wrong places.

The rainy season is one of THE coolest times of year in the forest as, while everything else seems to be settling in for a long Winter’s nap the season of fungus is in full bloom.

We hit the trail right after the first couple of cold, heavy rains to see how what we’ve deemed Fall flowers start to create a bit of a makebelieve world.

It’s a fantastic way to get the storytelling moving as we cruise from mushroom bloom to mushroom bloom creating creatures and adventures that MUST be happening right under our noses. We practice flying and counting, see how many different kinds of fungus we can find.

If our daughter was a bit older, this would be a great science project. Check out Fun Facts About Fungi for some great information. Also projects such as letting kids photograph mushrooms for later identification and keeping a mushroom journal throughout the season make for interesting, hands-on ways to keep track of these guys.

In all honesty, though, getting down and dirty with the mushroom crowd makes me very, very nervous. I have no clue about poisonous mushrooms, and there are many. With kids in tow, the thought of anything that could make them sick or even worse scares the bejeezeez out of me.

But, the tiny person is not deterred by panicked mommy.

So, with the preschool crowd, I’ve opted for what I call “Safe Science” which may be a cop out. But, I don’t spend the whole time planning an emergency room visit.

That’s where the fairies come in – and sticks. We check out mushrooms with the “stick-length rule.” Hands stay on the stick. You can lift the mushroom up (with the stick), turn it over (with the stick), poke it gently (with the stick). We never take mushrooms out of the forest anyway. So, everything, including the stick, stays when our adventure is through.

Then, we hit the dining room table for some mushroom drawings, debate the merit of the fairy mushroom theory for the millionth time, and read the hilarious The Fungus That Ate My School by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by David Catrow.

All in a good rainy-day adventure.

NOTE: New photos from our latest NeighbourWood Walk at the Lazo Marsh are now up on the NeighbourWood Walks page. This walk was so much fun, with the kids getting to spend the afternoon feeding the small birds that Winter here.

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Category: KIDS, NATURE & OUR HERITAGE, Nature Journal, Outdoor Family Activities

About the Author ()

Robin Rivers is the Project Development Director for Vancouver-based Mherge Media Group. Often can be found leaping tall buildings with the help of great friends. Predisposed to odd hats and the color orange. In love with imagination, her kids and that crazy guy who married her.

Comments (10)

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  1. Maureen says:

    Of course mushrooms are fairy umbrellas!

  2. Stacey says:

    Miss J was so excited in the summer when we found an (almost) fairy ring in a yard down the street! That started some good stories about fairies and their world.

  3. Stacey says:

    When I just told Miss J that your daughter thinks fairies live in trees, she laughed and said: that is so silly! Their wings would get broken in the trees, that is why they live in blackberries!

    Kids make me laugh!

  4. Stacey says:

    When I just told Miss J that your daughter thinks fairies live in trees, she laughed and said: that is so silly! Their wings would get broken in the trees, that is why they live in blackberries!

    Kids make me laugh!

  5. Jen Dodd says:

    You can tell her that they really live under leaves in the forest!
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3239/2442486306_b1bf9e148e.jpg

    I caught some strange bokeh in the background of this photo and it appears as if a faerie was trying to get her picture taken!

  6. Jen Dodd says:

    You can tell her that they really live under leaves in the forest!
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3239/2442486306_b1bf9e148e.jpg -

    I caught some strange bokeh in the background of this photo and it appears as if a faerie was trying to get her picture taken!

  7. Bevin says:

    Love the “stick-length rule.” I’m all for safe science, not knowing all there is about what’s dangerous and what’s not.

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