The Spore Project – Magic Mushrooms

“The SPORE Project is a worldwide effort developed by artist Doug Rhodehamel to promote awareness for the support of art education and creativity in day-to-day life. The project illustrates the importance of self expression, resourcefulness and creativity – specifically, how to look at one thing (a simple paper bag) and see what it can be instead of merely what it is. The project was created to build awareness, to let people know the importance of art.”


As soon as I heard about this project I knew my kids would love it, and I suspected it wouldn’t take long for other creative educators to get on board with it too!  (Check out Teacher Tom’s mushrooms here, and more gorgeous creations over at Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning.  Can’t wait to see who else plays along.)  Using humble brown paper bags, even young kids can participate in this international art installation.  Here is our contribution…

We made our mushrooms with your run-of-the-mill flat brown paper bags.  It took a while for my three year old to get the hang of folding the corners under (especially with her little brother “helping”) but we ended up making 18 mushrooms together.  The next day we painted our creations!

Once they were dry (and we checked about every 15mins to see if they were…) we could plant them outside!  We spent quite some time deciding where the mushrooms would be happiest, and my daughter finally settled on a shady spot beside the fence.

This project has brought us a lot of joy.  The mushrooms were easy to make and we already had everything we needed at home (paper bags, bamboo skewers, paint).  There was a good amount of problem solving involved with planting them, as our ground was pretty tough and the skewers pierced the bags easily until we worked out a method!  The overall effect of the planted painted mushrooms is stunning, and the kids have delighted in showing them to visitors.  And I smile every time I see them too, because I know that in some small way my children are connected to others around the world through art.

Want to join us?! “Turn your trash into art and take part in the largest art installation in the world!  This month, thousands and thousands and thousands of paper bag mushrooms will be planted around the world!  Show your support for art education and creativity!”

Please let me know if you decide to join in too.  I’d love to see your kids’ creations.  You can find everything you need to know about The Spore Project here.

18 thoughts on “The Spore Project – Magic Mushrooms

  1. sounds like a fun activity for next weeks playgroup

    Funny though that you call it Magic Mushrooms I had a bit of a laugh at that one, of all the people in the world to be growing “mushies” I never thought it would be you.

  2. Cath we’re so glad to see more irresistible mushroom popping up around Australia! Like your children, our kinder children had an absolute ball making theirs. We took them along to one of our local primary schools in Croydon last week and planted them into their gorgeous sustainable garden which we’ll post about this week. Now they are making them as well! Oh I love the way the circle of inspiration reaches out around the world!
    Donna :) :)
    .-= Sherry and Donna´s last blog ..gorgeous goop =-.

  3. Gorgeous! Make sure to let Doug know you’ve participated. Apparently, he’s planning a grand unveiling of all known installations sometime this month.

    These are the cheeriest things, aren’t they. I know we’ll be making them at our school every year from now on.
    .-= Teacher Tom´s last blog ..Pre-K Play: "A Beautiful Nightmare" =-.

  4. Now we have Gus’s Digging Pit “unveiled” (turned 3 yday) this is on the To Do list to add to whats already going on out there (hmmmm need to find the time somehow…..next rainy day project or a backyard crafty/painting day perhaps. This sunny Autumn weather is too nice to be inside). Love seeing all the different versions all around the world. Great stuff.

  5. this is so awesome! my daughter is working on a fairy garden and i saw some ceramic mushrooms at the garden shop, but these are so much better because she can make them herself AND it supports a great idea! we will try them!

  6. I’m so in… I work at a Kinder within a Long day care, and I plan to hit everyone up for this event, such a fantastic idea!

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