Easy and Educational Fungi DIY

The other day N and I went on a long walk in the brisk fall air. We stopped as we got back to our own yard to hunt the many varieties of mushrooms that grow on our now leafy lawn. Naomi loves to pluck them from the wet, bright green, grass that is starting to get quite too long. We had recently watched a Netflix documentary about fungi and I thought it would be cool to emulate a little experiment they had performed on the show.

We left our tops on the paper overnight. The ones that made the best prints were the ones I put in the laundry room on top of a cooling rack. The dark brown imprints almost appear watercolor like, and yet are simultaneously distinct against the white paper. I plan on framing the best ones and hanging them in my bedroom.

 Spores adhere onto white paper leaving a sort of fungi fingerprint, each one unique just like humans. The scientists in the documentary placed the caps of different kinds of fungi onto white and black paper and left them alone for a few hours. Naomi and I had fun playing mushroom scientists for a little while, the correct term for people who study fungi is mycologist, which is something that I learned along with a lot more over at SCRIBD. 

There's just something so cool and magical about mushrooms. I figured this would be a great lesson to expand on in the future, including more in depth lessons as N gets bigger. After watching just that short documentary on Netflix I was really amazed by just how many products we consume every day can credit their awesomeness to fungi.

Around where I live people hunt edible mushrooms, though I've never quite considered myself educated enough to attempt this. It'd be a good thing to learn in the future though! If I study this year maybe we'll be able to do more than just make mushroom prints, though I think for now they're quite satisfactory.

Little Gnome looked quite the part as she hunted our yard for the squishy, brown and white clusters, lumped under the fallen, autumn leaves. She's old enough now to know not to eat the potentially dangerous fungi and instead has a blast collecting it to dump into her old easter bucket.

Fungi is really such a multifaceted member of our eco-system. They are basically responsible for keeping our world a tidy place, feeding off of waste and bacteria. On the flip side they can be absolutely lethal to humans and animals, being the cause of many plant diseases as well. However I think we can all agree that the benefits of fungi far, far outweigh the pitfalls.

Did you know fungi is a vital ingredient in everything from soy sauce to ice cream? I didn't until I got educated the other day with that awesome documentary. There's seriously nothing better than the PBS style documentaries that I used to watch after cartoons on Saturdays as a kid.

I hope you guys like this super simple DIY idea! Let me know if you have any questions about what we did in the comments below, or throw some random spore knowledge at me!



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