Fun with Mushrooms
How do you get your kids to eat mushrooms? Play with them? Make them into funny characters with carrot stick legs and red pepper eyes? Or hide them under that thick layer of cheese on their pizza? No matter what way you try to get them to eat them, they always seem to make it from their plate to the garbage (or in my case, onto my plate).
Now back-up. Start again. Let’s try to first get them interested in mushrooms, then maybe, just maybe they might request them at the next family dinner.
Here are some great mushroom activities that will not only get the kids involved with mushrooms, but will create an interest that just might spread to their dinner plate.
Mushroom Spore Prints
Fun, easy and educational, this activity shows the kids how, like other fruits and vegetables, mushrooms have “seeds” too. See what kind of spore prints your kids can make.
- Large Portabella mushroom with dark visible gills
- White sheet of paper
- Large Glass Bowl
Make this activity fun by asking your kids to come to the grocery store with you to pick out their portabella mushroom. When you are ready to start cut the mushroom stem off just below the cap, so that it sits flat. Place the mushroom cap side up (gill side down) on a white sheet of paper and cover the cap with a glass bowl. Leave it covered, undisturbed for 24 hours, which could be hard, the kids are really going to want to take a peek. Carefully remove the bowl and remove the mushroom cap from the paper. Voila, your first mushroom spore print. Be sure to stray the paper with a thin layer of hairspray, this will keep all the mushroom spores intact. Let the kids colour them, frame them or just post them on the fridge.
This activity works best with the agaricus mushrooms; white, crimini, and portabella, the bigger the better. This one could get messy with the little ones. Use a tempera paint for easy clean-up.
- Slice a mushroom into halves from the cap down through the stem.
- Use the halves to dip into tempera paint and make mushroom prints.
- Let them dry, then hang them on the fridge or frame them.
Get the kids doctor kit out, it’s time to play mushroom surgery. This activity it suitable for all the varieties of mushroom, and dressing up as a doctor makes it that much more fun. Ask the kids if they can identify the following parts on the mushrooms:
Using the different varieties will mix things up a bit. Keep them whole or cut them up. Bring in a microscope or magnifying glass for a real close look. Ask the kids to describe what they see. You could even use these mushrooms later in a mushroom medley sauté, provided they are not too handled.
Now, take a step back and admire all the hard work you have done. With all these great activities you might be one step closer to actually getting the kids to eat mushrooms.
Find great parent and teacher mushroom resources, and fun kids activities online at www.thecapcrew.ca.