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Mushroom Hunting

Apr 27, 2018 12:00 AM

Kids of all ages, including adults, enjoy being in the great outdoors. Taking a walk around your neighborhood, or a trail hike is an excellent way to experience nature, and it’s a great way to incorporate exercise into your children’s day. Getting your children out of the house, or classroom if you’re a teacher, will not only give them a break from being cooped up inside, but it will provide them with a mental break as well.

Now that it’s springtime, are your kids learning about the different trees and plants that grow in your area? Why not take them for a nature hike and look for wild mushrooms? Mushrooms are of the fungi family that thrive in dark, damp environments. There are hundreds of varieties of mushrooms. Some taste delicious and are healthy for you, but unfortunately, many are poisonous. When you go mushroom hunting, you must be able to tell the difference between the varieties if you want to eat mushrooms from your bounty that you acquired during your walk. According to Insteading.com (https://insteading.com/blog/mushroom-hunting/), if you aren’t knowledgeable in different kinds of mushrooms, it’s best to find a park that has an experienced guide.

Some of the items you should take with you on your walk are:

· A small, sharp knife or scissors to cut off samples

· Snack baggies with “Zip-lock” seal

· Waxed paper to keep questionable mushrooms away from the others

· Large basket or bag to carry specimens in

· A notebook and pen or pencil to take notes

· A backpack to carry your supplies

· Flashlight or hat with a headlamp on it

· GPS or local map

· A magnifying glass

If you happen to go hiking on a damp day, be sure to wear a waterproof coat and boots.

Some edible mushrooms include:

· Chanterelles

· Maitake Mushrooms

· Morels, also known as the “American Mushroom.”

· Lion’s Mane also called a “pom-pom mushroom.”

· Porcini Mushrooms

Along with learning about these extraordinary mushrooms, being outside and breathing fresh air has many benefits for you and your kids. Just because you say you’re going for a walk doesn’t mean that everyone will be walking. In fact, many youngsters run ahead and discover plants and other organisms on their own. Many kids do not get enough exercise and getting out in nature is an excellent way to do that, stimulating the circulatory system and getting vital oxygen to the blood, as well as to the brain.

Hiking also helps them hear and see the world around them. Nature has a soothing effect on not only children, but adults as well. Taking in the sights and sounds of nature, like listening to the birds chirping, or hearing the leaves crunch beneath your feet, is in and of itself relaxing. It reduces stress and rejuvenates you mentally because your brain needs a break too every once in a while. For more information on why spending time outside is good for kids, read this article here (https://childmind.org/article/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/) by ChildMind.org.

Mushroom hunting is beneficial for kids, parents, and educators alike. So, get to know which mushrooms grow in your area while you get some exercise and lower your stress levels at that same time.


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