Fun with Fungi – Engage Kids with Mushroom Themed Activities and Free Printable Sorting for Poisonous and Edible Mushrooms!

Explore the world of mushrooms with your little ones and teach them about the differences between poisonous and edible varieties. This free printable sorting activity is a fun way to help kids learn about the different types of mushrooms. From mushroom crafts to recipes, this post offers a variety of mushroom-themed activities that are perfect for early childhood classroom. So grab your mushroom hunting gear and get ready for a fun-filled adventure!

Fun Learning with Mushrooms: 10 Safe and 10 Dangerous Varieties – Free Sorting Printable for Preschoolers is a great resource to introduce young ones to the fascinating world of mushrooms. Not only will this activity help children develop their cognitive skills, but it will also teach them the importance of identifying safe and dangerous mushrooms. With downloadable printable and easy-to-follow instructions, this interactive game is sure to captivate preschoolers while promoting a fun and safe learning experience. Discover the unique characteristics of mushrooms while having fun with your little ones today!

You are invited to download the fall picture cards for sorting with ten types of edible and ten types of poisonous – learning printables for preschool and kindergarten children. Use this resource with photographs to create hands-on fall activities for your students.

Mushrooms are fascinating organisms that grow in a variety of shapes and colors. They can be found in forests, meadows, and even in our own backyards. However, not all mushrooms are safe to eat. In fact, some species can be quite dangerous and even lethal. Therefore, it is important to teach children about the different types of mushrooms and how to identify safe and dangerous varieties.

Animals and their homes montessori nature sort matching free printables sign up

Learning about mushrooms can be a fun and educational activity for children. They can explore the different colors, shapes, and sizes of mushrooms, and learn about the important role they play in the ecosystem. To help children learn about mushrooms, we have compiled a list of 10 safe and 10 dangerous varieties, along with a free sorting printable for preschoolers.

mushrooms 3 part cards

Mushrooms and Fungi Nomenclature Cards

Safe Varieties:

  1. Morel mushrooms are a type of edible mushroom that can be found growing in forests and woodlands in the springtime. They have a distinct, cone-shaped cap with a honeycomb-like texture. Morels are highly sought after by mushroom hunters and are a delicacy in many cuisines. When picking morels, it’s important to make sure you have the correct identification and avoid poisonous mushrooms. Morels are a good source of vitamins and minerals and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as sautéing, grilling, or even fried. Remember: always consult an expert before consuming any wild mushrooms.
  2. Chanterelle mushrooms are a type of edible mushroom found in nature. They are often bright orange or yellow and grow on the ground in the woods. These mushrooms have a special funnel shape, which makes them easy to spot. They have a slightly sweet and earthy flavor and are often used in soups and sauces or sautéed as a side dish. It is important to only pick chanterelles if you are experienced in mushroom foraging or with the guidance of an expert, as there are some poisonous mushrooms that look similar to chanterelles in the wild.
  3. The shaggy mane mushroom is a tasty and edible fungus found in nature. It has a distinctive look – a narrow white stem with a bell-shaped cap that turns black and slimy as it ages. Shaggy mane mushrooms are commonly found in well-drained soil near trees, and can grow up to 20cm tall. They are a great source of protein, potassium and vitamins B, D and C, making them a healthy addition to any meal. However, it’s important to only eat shaggy mane mushrooms that are fresh, as they can spoil quickly.
  4. Oyster mushrooms are a delicious type of mushroom that grow in the wild. They get their name from their shape, which resembles the shell of an oyster. These mushrooms grow on dead or dying trees, and are usually found in the fall or spring. They are easy to recognize, with their flat, fan-like shape and white, gray, or tan coloring. Oyster mushrooms are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and are a healthy addition to any meal. Just be sure to only eat mushrooms you find in the wild if you are with an experienced adult forager.
  5. Bear’s head tooth, also known as lion’s mane mushroom, is a delicious edible mushroom found in nature. It grows on dead or dying trees in forests around the world. Its thick, fluffy white spines resemble a lion’s mane, hence its name. Bear’s head tooth is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals. It’s a tasty addition to many dishes, including soups, stews, and stir-fries.
  6. The russula mushroom is a fun and interesting type of edible mushroom found in nature. They come in a range of colors such as red, yellow, and brown. They grow in forests, and you can find them in the fall season. To identify them, you can look for their firm stems and thin cap, which can be slightly brittle. They are safe to eat, but make sure to cook them thoroughly before consuming them. Overall, the russula mushroom is a great way to experience the wonderful flavors and beauty of nature!
  7. Hen of the wood mushroom, also known as Maitake in Japanese, grows in temperate forests in North America, Europe, and Asia. It is a large, clustered mushroom with gray-brown caps and a delicious aromatic taste. Hen of the Wood is a popular edible fungus because of its meaty texture and rich flavor. It is often used in soups, stews, and stir-fries. Besides being a tasty ingredient, this mushroom has medicinal properties and is believed to support immune function.
  8. Porcini mushrooms are delicious and nutritious edible fungi found in the wild. They have a distinct nutty flavor and meaty texture. Their caps are brown in color with a round shape, and their stems are thick and sturdy. Porcini mushrooms grow under trees, particularly oak, chestnut, and beech. They can be found in shady forests during the late summer and fall months. Always make sure you are confident in your mushroom identification before consuming them. Porcinis are a great addition to pasta dishes, soups, sauces, and omelets.
  9. Bay boletes are a type of edible mushroom that grows in forests all around the world. They have a brown cap on top, a thick stem, and a spongy underside. Bay boletes are great for cooking, as they have a rich, nutty flavor and firm texture. When searching for bay boletes in nature, make sure to look for their distinctive cap and stem, but be careful not to mistake them for poisonous mushrooms.
  10. Honey agaric is an edible mushroom found in nature during early autumn. It has a distinctive orange-brown cap that grows up to 12 inches wide and is covered with scales. The stem is thick and can grow up to 10 inches tall. Honey agaric can be found growing in forests or near trees and is often eaten by animals like squirrels and deer. Despite its sweet name, honey agaric can cause stomach problems if not cooked properly.

Mushrooms and Fungi Nomenclature Cards

Dangerous Varieties:

  1. The death cap mushroom is one of the most poisonous mushrooms in nature. It is usually found in forests in late summer and early fall. The death cap mushroom is easily mistaken for other edible mushrooms, which can be dangerous. Eating just one bite of this mushroom can cause severe sickness, liver damage, and death. It is important to never eat any mushroom you find in the wild unless you are an expert or with an expert mushroom hunter. Remember: when it comes to mushrooms, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  2. The webcap mushroom is a poisonous mushroom found in nature that can be dangerous if eaten. It has a distinctive cap with a web-like pattern on it and a stem that is yellowish-brown or reddish-brown in color. The toxin in this mushroom can cause hallucinations, vomiting, and even death.
  3. Fly agaric is a poisonous mushroom found in forests around the world. It is easily recognizable with its bright red cap covered in white scales. Although it looks pretty, it can cause hallucinations, dizziness, and even death if ingested. Animals like deer, squirrels, and birds can eat it without getting sick, but it’s important for humans to stay away from it. If you see fly agaric in the wild, don’t touch it or eat it! Instead, admire it from a safe distance and let it continue to grow in its natural habitat.
  4. The ink cap mushroom is also known as the shaggy mane. It has a distinct appearance – tall and thin with lacy, white edges on its cap. While it may look cool, it’s important to remember that this mushroom is poisonous. Eating it can make people feel sick and even cause organ damage. So, let’s leave this mushroom alone and enjoy its beauty from afar.
  5. Pig’s ear is a type of poisonous mushroom found in nature. It is named after its shape, which resembles a pig’s ear. Eating this mushroom can make you very sick and even cause organ failure. It is important to never eat mushrooms that you find in nature unless you are an expert and can positively identify them as safe. Remember, even if a mushroom looks like one you have seen before, it could still be poisonous. Always stay safe and leave mushroom picking to the professionals.
  6. The rosy bonnet mushroom is a poisonous mushroom found in nature. It has a cap that is pink or reddish-brown with a white stem. Although it might look pretty, it can be dangerous if ingested. Eating this mushroom can cause stomach problems, vomiting, and even convulsions. If you see a Rosy Bonnet mushroom while exploring nature, do not touch or eat it!
  7. The beautiful clavaria mushroom, also known as the coral mushroom, is a colorful fungus found in forests around the world. While it is striking to look at, it is also poisonous and should never be ingested. The mushroom grows in clusters and can be pink, yellow, orange or white. It usually appears in the fall and winter seasons, growing on the forest floor or under trees.
  8. The tiger tricholoma mushroom is a type of poisonous mushroom that can be found in nature. It gets its name from its orange and black striped appearance. This particular kind of mushroom can cause stomach problems and other health issues if eaten. It’s important to be very careful when picking mushrooms in the wild, as some can be poisonous and even deadly. Remember, it’s always best to seek the help of an expert or avoid mushrooms altogether if you’re not sure if they are safe to eat.
  9. The false chanterelle mushroom might look like a yellow chanterelle mushroom, but it’s poisonous! It grows in forests and woodlands, usually around mid to late summer. If you see a false chanterelle, do not pick or eat it. False chanterelles have a wrinkly cap with a yellow-orange color, and its gills are wider and flatter than a real chanterelle. Eating a false chanterelle can cause stomach problems, vomiting, and other serious problems.
  10. Destroying angel mushrooms are one of the deadliest and most poisonous mushrooms in nature. They grow in forests and grasslands, usually in the summer and fall. Eating even a small amount can cause severe stomach pains, vomiting, and liver failure. Destroying angel mushrooms have white stems and caps, and a thin ring around the stem. It’s important to never touch, pick, or eat any mushrooms you find in the wild unless you are an expert.

how to forage safely for mushrooms with kids in the forest

Foraging for mushrooms with children can be a fun and educational activity, but it’s important to take necessary precautions to ensure safety. Here are some tips:

  • Know your mushrooms: Before you head out, familiarize yourself with the types of mushrooms that grow in your area. Research their descriptions, habitat, and potential toxicity. It’s best to stick to edible varieties that are easy to identify, such as morels, chanterelles, and porcini.
  • Bring a guidebook: Bring a guidebook or reference guide with pictures to help you identify mushrooms in the field.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear long sleeves and pants, and bring sturdy boots or shoes. You may also want to wear gloves to protect your hands.
  • Bring a basket: Use a basket or mesh bag to collect your mushrooms. Avoid plastic bags as they can cause mushrooms to sweat and spoil. It’s also important to be gentle when picking mushrooms to avoid damaging the surrounding environment.
  • Forage in safe areas: Stay on designated trails and avoid areas that have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. It’s also best to avoid foraging in areas that are contaminated with heavy metals or other pollutants.
  • Don’t eat mushrooms on the spot: Don’t eat any mushrooms until you have identified them correctly. Once you’ve identified your mushrooms, bring them home to clean and cook them properly.
  • Cook mushrooms thoroughly: All mushrooms should be cooked thoroughly before eating to avoid potential health risks.

mushroom themed hands-on activities for children

Mushroom Sorting: Gather different types of mushrooms and create a sorting activity by color, texture, size or shape. Children will learn to identify differences and similarities among mushrooms.

Mushroom Life Cycle: Create a mushroom life cycle chart using pictures or drawings. Teach children the different stages of growth from spore to mushroom.

Mushroom life cycle types parts of mushroom montessori nature printable science preschool

Parts of the Mushroom Life Cycle

Mushroom Counting: Use mushroom-shaped cutouts or plastic toys to teach children basic counting skills. You could also use a mushroom-themed abacus for more advanced mathematical concepts.

Mushroom Painting: Encourage creativity and artistic expression by providing mushroom stencils, paint and paper. Children can explore colors, shapes and textures to create unique mushroom paintings.

Mushroom Sensory Bin: Create a sensory bin filled with mushrooms of different textures, colors and sizes. Include other materials like wood chips, leaves and rocks for children to explore and discover the natural world around them.

Mushroom Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt by hiding different types of mushrooms around a designated area. Children will have to use their observation skills to find them all.

Mushroom Growing: Use a mushroom growing kit to teach children about the growing process. Children can observe and document the changes over a period of time.

Mushroom Storytelling: Read books or tell stories about mushrooms and their role in nature. Encourage children to retell stories or create their own using mushrooms as the main characters.

Mushroom Puzzles: Use mushroom-themed puzzles to teach spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Mushroom Cooking: Prepare mushroom-themed snacks together with the children, such as stuffed mushrooms or mushroom pizza. This is a fun and educational way to teach children about nutrition and healthy eating habits.

-Pre-made pizza dough
-1 can of pizza sauce
-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 cup of sliced mushrooms
-Finely grated Parmesan cheese
-Olive oil
-Flour for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Dust flour on the pre-made pizza dough. Roll it out with a rolling pin and make a round shape.
  3. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil around the border of the pizza dough.
  4. Add pizza sauce to the center of the dough. Spread it evenly with a spoon or spatula.
  5. Add shredded mozzarella cheese to the sauce. Leave some space from the edges.
  6. Add sliced mushrooms on top of the cheese.
  7. Sprinkle some finely grated Parmesan cheese on top of the mushrooms.
  8. Bake the pizza in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  9. Take the pizza out of the oven and let it cool down for a few minutes.
  10. Cut the pizza into slices and serve to enjoy a yummy mushroom pizza.

To make this recipe with young kids in the classroom, the teacher can assign each child a specific task such as spreading the pizza sauce, adding cheese, or placing mushrooms on top of the pizza. The teacher can also involve the children in cleaning up after the recipe by wiping the tables and washing the utensils used.

Mushroom craft: Here are the steps to make mushroom craft for kids.


  • Red, green, and white construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Black marker
  • Cotton balls or white pom-poms


  1. Draw the mushroom stem shape on a white construction paper and cut it out. Next, draw and cut out a mushroom cap shape from red construction paper.
  2. Cut small circles from green construction paper to make the mushroom spots. Glue them onto the red mushroom cap.
  3. Glue the mushroom cap onto the top of the mushroom stem.
  4. Use a black marker to draw the mushroom gills on the underside of the cap.
  5. Finally, glue a few cotton balls or white pom-poms on top of the mushroom cap to create a fluffy, textured effect.
  6. Allow the glue to dry completely before handling the mushroom craft.

This mushroom craft for kids can be used as a hands-on activity to teach them about the life cycle of mushrooms and the parts of a mushroom. You can also use this craft to encourage their creativity by letting them decorate their mushrooms in their own unique way.

Mushroom sorting free printable

This resource will come in handy if you are planning to explore woodlands in the fall in your Montessori and early childhood classroom. Children often get fascinated with mushrooms they find outdoors. It is always a good idea to bring up the topic of edible and nonedible mushrooms to create awareness of mushrooms that can cause serious harm.

Here is what’s included:

  • 10 x labeled picture cards with edible mushrooms (Europe & North America)
  • 10 x labeled picture cards with poisonous mushrooms (Europe & North America)

Gather books about mushrooms for children to explore.

Print on card stock and laminate for more extended use. Cut cards. Place the label cards in a row. Explain the difference between the two types of mushrooms. Invite the child to sort cards into two categories.

Young children can be encouraged to match the mushroom cards if you print them twice and draw the mushrooms they like the most using their choice of art medium.

Older children might be inspired to research and create their own book about wild types of mushrooms that grow in your region.

mushrooms sort

learning printables you might find helpful in your classroom

About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.