Creating spore prints is a fun way to observe spores, they are microscopic and otherwise hard to notice. This is a fun STEM activity for children of all ages. Making spore prints is also what people can do to collect the spores and grow mushrooms. spore prints also help you to identify the mushroom. We may cover germination, fruiting and identification in another blog post, for this blog post it’s all about creating the spore prints!
Going outside on an outdoor forest walk to hunt wild mushrooms is part of the fun. Mushroom hunting is one of our favourite activities because you never know what fungi you’ll find! It’s like a treasure hunt. If you don’t have a forest to hike in, you can often find wild mushrooms anywhere, including your own backyard. Try to stick with edible mushrooms that you are familiar with and if you are unsure, wear gloves and collect the spore prints outside.
Freshly picked wild mushrooms works the best for spore prints because store bought ones may be too old. However, if you can’t find any wild mushrooms, you could give store bought ones a go, but be aware that it may not work, or may be a much lighter colour.
fresh picked wild mushrooms
white paper or black paper (depending on the gill colour and spore colour)
a jar, bowl or glass
There are only 5 steps:
Go mushroom hunting and pick some wild mushrooms.
2. Remove the stem then place the cap (top of the mushroom) gill side down onto a white piece of paper.
We kept this as one step because after you remove the stem the cap will still be in your hand, so simply place it onto a piece of paper. .
3. Cover the cap with a bowl, glass or a jar. Anything airtight that will keep the spores from escaping.
4. Allow the mushroom to sit flat, undisturbed for two to 12 hours. The longer you leave it, the greater the chances of more spores being released, creating a darker print. Don’t leave it any longer of it could start to rot. We generally leave it 2-8 hours.