Mushroom Manipulatives

Thursday, August 16, 2018
Are there ever any original thoughts anymore? I hope so. I don't know. But before you start reading this and thinking that I came up with this idea in my already cluttered mind, let me tell you that this idea was completely inspired by the latest Wild + Free bundle. I love receiving their monthly subscriptions. The gorgeous photos, the thoughtfully chosen words, and the passion for learning at any age is evident in each issue and serves as a great inspiration to me to be more observant and focused with the kids I have in my home. Sometimes I enjoy recreating what someone else has also found to be a neat project. So much of what has brought us home to learn is a yearning to be outside more, to experience the grass under our feet, the stifling heat, the short reprieve of a breeze blowing across our necks. Nature is healing. I believe that. Yesterday, when I was losing the attention of my dear pupils after eventual blank stares at the thought of learning Spanish, I decided it was time to go outside and reset. I grabbed a basket and asked the kids to go on a mushroom hunt. They love a good hunt. Maybe you have a bunch of boys right in a row, too and you already know this, but at my house, everything is a competition. This activity was no different. Who could find the smallest? Who could find the biggest? Who could find one that wasn't broken at all? Who could find one that was a color other than brown? We had several winners amongst the categories.
We gathered several mushrooms to study. The kids got out their magnifying glasses and looked at the grooves and bends of each and marveled at their colors. I don't use that term lightly either. We were all enamored with the vibrant colors that sprinkled our yard, aware that most people just mow them over. They're whimsical really and this wasn't lost on the kids. After spending some time looking at them, we trimmed off the stems and found a piece of black construction paper to place them on. Then, we covered with a glass dish and waited until morning to see what might happen.

When we woke up the next day, the kids pulled up a bench so they could all unveil what might have happened while they slept. Carefully, we removed each mushroom from the paper and found that they left some fairly intricate prints behind. 
This prompted them to come up with other ways to study mushrooms. My oldest wondered if we might be able to create a dye with the colors from the mushrooms by soaking them in water over night. I suppose that's an experiment for another day, though. We'll have to add that to our growing list of what interests us and what we want to know. 

Top on that list for me right now is:
How many times can one child get out of bed at night before mama goes crazy? Just wondering.

Post a Comment