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Posts Tagged ‘childrens nature activity’

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Autumn if traditionally Fungi or Mushroom time, yet we can buy White mushrooms all year round, they may just be another item on your shopping list but take a closer look they are quite intriguing.

Their scientific name is Agaricus bisporus they can be white or brown, when immature and white they may be known as ‘common mushroom’, ‘cultivated mushroom’, ‘button mushroom’ or ‘white mushroom’, when immature and brown they may be known as ‘chestnut mushroom’, ‘brown cap mushroom’, ‘Italian brown’ or ‘brown cap mushroom’, when they are mature and the cap flatter they are known as ‘Portobello mushrooms’, they are one of the most widely eaten types of mushroom in the world.

Mushrooms, often wrongly grouped with vegetables, are very healthy, they are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol free and very low in sodium yet they contain important nutrients such as Vitamin B (niacin, riboflavin), selenium, potassium and Vitamin D.

There are three main parts to the mushroom:

  1. The Cap or Pileus, which can grow to 5-10 centimetres in diameter, when it starts to grow it is like a small ball as it gets bigger it flattens out.
  2. Underneath the cap are the gills which are initially pink, they then turn red-brown and finally a dark brown this is where the spores are.
  3. The cylindrical stalk or stripe can grow up to 6cm tall and 1-2cm wide and has a ring around it.

Mushrooms grow from microscopic spores, each mushroom can have 16 million spores, although they are microscopic there is a way that you can see them with the naked eye by making a Mushroom Print.

What you will need

  • Some mature (flat) mushrooms
  • White paper
  • Cups/Glasses
  • Newspaper

What you need to do

  1. Place the white paper on top of the newspaper making sure that the newspaper is flat, (the brown colour of the mushrooms can go through the white paper and stain the surface underneath).
  2. Remove the stalk of the mushroom carefully and place the cap with the gills down on the white paper.
  3. Place a cup or glass over the cap to stop any air currents and leave for about 24 hours.
  4. Remove the cup/glass and carefully lift off the mushroom you should have a ‘print’ made from the spores, the print should look the same as the underside of the mushroom.

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Why not discover mushrooms today?

Have fun

Gill

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Twigs are useful, fun, free, and help wildlife too.

This Half Term why not put on your warm coat and wellies and go for a walk in the woods or the park and find some sticks, after all this windy weather there should be plenty lying on the ground, collect different lengths and thicknesses, you may also find some on the beach which have been washed up by the sea often in interesting shapes and colours.

Here are a few suggestions for your bounty of sticks:

Pooh Sticks

This game was played and made famous by Winnie the Pooh, you can play it on any bridge over running water, each person drops a stick (at the same time) from the bridge on the upstream side then peers (carefully) over the downside of the bridge to see whose stick appears first, this is the winning stick.

Did you know that there is a World Pooh Sticks Championship, this year it is on Sunday 30th March at Day’s Lock, Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire it is a charity event organised by the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires and Friends.

Tracking Sticks

Tracking with Sticks

Tracking with sticks is a popular Scouting activity; you can play it in the park (split your participants into two groups), in the back garden or even in the house. Use your sticks to leave a trail of arrows to give clues to your seekers of your whereabouts they can be in the open or can be slightly hidden to make it harder.

Spider Catcher 2

Make a Spiders Web Catcher

Spiders are opportunists and will make their web wherever there is the chance of catching some insects. Choose three straightish sticks about 30cm long, place them on the floor in a triangle and tie each corner tightly with string, next pick a strong thickish stick about 80cm in length and tie your stick triangle to it at one end. Push your stick into the ground near some bushes and wait patiently, it may take a while before a spider makes its web there.

Build an Insect/Bug home

When you have finished with your sticks return them to nature and make a home for Insects, Bugs and Beetles. Find a nice quiet corner of your garden, break your sticks so that they are roughly all the same size and then lay them all the same way on top of each other, you can put some leaves, soil and grass in between this will make a damp environment for your creatures, finish off by putting some more leaves and foliage on top.

Have a great holiday and have fun!

Gill

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