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Mushrooms have been everywhere in our yard. Sam (4) and Ava (2) are fascinated by the colors and sizes every time we are outside. Opportunity plus curiosity help me put together an impromptu mushroom preschool lesson!

“So, from age of three til six, being able to now to tackle his environment deliberately and consciously, he begins a period of real constructiveness.” 
    ~Maria Montessori
I’m going to confess I don’t know a lot about mushrooms. I have never seen so many different types of mushrooms in my life as I have at our house this month. We moved here in March and have not had the opportunity to experience our home at this time of year. As much as this was a learning experience for my children, this was also a fun learning experience for me. Putting together this mushroom preschool lesson helped me to better understand mushrooms and helped boost the kids curiosity about these funny little things growing in our yard.
I followed the kids natural curiosity and ended up with these steps to our lesson. Your child may find another order that suits them and that is ok. Or you may need to initiate and then go explore to find your own mushrooms. Any way it works is find; this is just a group of ideas and some resources. If you need some more help with giving a Montessori lesson, please check out this article from Montessori Mischief.
1. Inspection
We started our lesson with inspection. If this exploration wasn’t mostly impromptu, I would have had our magnifying glasses out. Then the kids could have used this part of science in their lesson. But it just didn’t work out that way. I hope you will have yours handy!
In our preschool lessons we do a lot of counting and color recognition. We started in our front yard and started counting all the different types of mushrooms we saw and noted the colors. Although, there are some mushrooms that can be very dangerous, we felt comfortable allowing our kid to inspect by lightly touching in order to feel the different textures. (I made a point to wash our hands as soon as we were finished, just in case.)
While we were inspection, I talked with the kids about living and non-living. This was a great opportunity to discuss how mushrooms are apart of the living things in our world, but the rocks we see are non-living. Here’s some more information on living and non-living lessons.
Allow your child to explore as much as you are comfortable without interrupting their own curiosity. You too can explore and wonder allowed to yourself about the texture, color, height, or any other feature you find interesting. This will help bring those features to light for your children.
Photo from Amazon
2. Read About It
We are big believers in reading about an unfamiliar topic. After our exploration, we headed to the library to see what other information we could find on mushrooms. We came home with a book called The Mushroom Hunt by Simon Frazer. This is a beautiful book. It cautioned us to not eat any mushrooms we were unsure of and described how mushrooms tend to grown after rain. We live in a very shaded area that creates a wonderful environment for mushrooms to grow. After popping up quickly, mushrooms will die in a couple days. We took this information and noted our mushrooms for a series of days and noticed ours too were gone quickly.
We found an identification book too. It was not as helpful in identifying the mushrooms in our yard because it was alphabetical without a way to look up the descriptions of what we saw. The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms seems much more like what I would have liked to find. Looking through the descriptions of the mushrooms was a lot of fun for the kids!
Pictures from Montessori Services
3. Study
Once we read about mushrooms, we wanted to learn more about the parts of a mushroom. There are many awesome 3 part cards out there. A beautiful set of mushroom nomenclature cards is for sale at Montessori Service.
Also, we want to be able to watch the mushroom growing process from the beginning so we will order a Mushroom Growing Kit. Here we can watch the mushrooms grow in 21 days and be able to harvest and inspect them a little closer.
Since our children are fascinated with the kitchen, I’m sure we will find ourselves cooking with these beautiful mushrooms.
We took about a week to go through all the steps in our lesson with multiple trips to our yard to inspect and discuss. By the end we found over 16 different types of mushrooms in our own back yard! What an amazing classroom to have.
Need some more information? Check here!
Fungus Among Us: Preschool Mushroom Lesson with fun crafts
Montessori Work YouTube Video: Living and Nonliving Lesson
I’m not much of a joke person, but I have to leave you with one quick one!
Why does Ms. Mushroom go our with Mr. Mushroom?
Because he is a fungi (fun guy)!
All right! Enjoy your fungus!