Friday, October 19, 2012

Go Mushroom Hunting With Your Kids

Photo taken in Bartlett, NH 6 Oct 2012
Many people associate autumn with aging and the approach of death. Indeed many poems have been written about being in the "autumn" of one's life. Sure, annual plants die during the first frost. Deciduous trees lose their leaves and  look dead to some. But around here, mushroom/fungi seem to come to life out of nowhere during September and October.

Have you noticed how many are around? Last year, I took a walk and focused on locating and photographing the variety of mushrooms I saw. Yesterday, I left my camera at home but saw just as many when I was out in our woods.

So here's a nature adventure for you and your kids this weekend- go out mushroom hunting! Maybe hand your kids a point and shoot camera and see how many they can photograph. (Use the "macro" setting to get good shots. The symbol looks like a flower on most cameras). Later, you can try to identify them using a field guide, if you choose.

CAUTION: Just remember that many mushrooms are poisonous. Only trained experts should pick and eat mushrooms. In fact, I generally encourage my kids not to touch mushrooms because I can't identify the poisonous ones. If we do touch them, we immediately wash our hands thoroughly.

How many different kinds of mushrooms do you think you can find? Have your kids make a prediction before you go out. Then, I hope you'll report back to us!

If you don't live in the northeast or an area with lots of mushrooms right now, what organism can you search out this weekend? I'd love to hear what you find.

Related Posts:
Mushroom Hunting
Stress Therapy: Get Back To Nature


  1. Totally cool! I have a very similar photo that may have also been taken in Bartlett. It was definitely from a hike in the North Conway, NH area. I wonder of these fungi are localized.

    1. It' funny, Melissa... when I took this picture I thought of you. I thought I remembered you posting a photo like it on your blog. I didn't remember that you took it in NH, though. I just went and found it and, sure enough, they appear to be the same species. According to your blog, it's a Coral Tooth fungus and while it grows in NH it can also grow here in MA. (I've never seen one here, though).
      Readers, see Melissa's photo here:

  2. And also because of the fact that some of them are dangerous. Parents, guardians or elders in the family should guide the kids while they're looking for mushrooms. Maybe a pair would do. That way, they'll have time to bond, and that they have someone to watch over them. :)

    1. Thanks for the reminder and suggestion, Mark. Grown-ups and kids bonding in nature is always a great idea!