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Poisonous and Helpful Plants of North America 3-Part Cards

Summertime means that lots of us are getting outside of our houses and into nature once again.  The birds are singing, the butterflies are fluttering, and the poison ivy is stinging.  Unfortunately, getting back to the wild can also mean exposing ourselves to lots of harmful plants.  Of course, there are lots of helpful plants in North America, too, but how can we tell the difference?

Before starting this blog post and FREE printable, I had no idea which plants were helpful and which were harmful.  I could maybe name a few, but I definitely couldn't name ten of each kind.  Can you?  Comment below and tell me which ones I've missed.

My information about poisonous plants came from the World Atlas and their list of ten.  Before doing this printable, I had only heard of a few of them, mostly because they're not very common in the Pacific Northwest.  The only one that I have had personal experience with is the nightshade- one of my siblings at some while we were playing outside.  I tattled immediately, and my mom gave him ipecac.  If you have any contact with these plants, call poison control immediately and follow their instructions.

I did know a little bit more about helpful plants from spending so much time in Facebook groups.  We even have an elderberry bush in our yard!  I found the rest of my information about helpful plants on the Wilderness College website.  There are also great books like "A Kid's Herb Book" for children or "The Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" for all ages.  It's a pretty interesting subject.

This free printable is a subscriber's special.  To join my list and get the password, sign up for the newsletter in the box above.  Then, you will receive an email where you confirm your decision to join the mailing list.  After you click that button, you will get a welcome newsletter with the password.  Come back to this post (you can pin it to Pinterest so you don't lose it) and click the "download" link.  Follow the instructions to enter the password and download the cards.

I recommend that you print these cards on cardstock for durability and maybe even laminate them if they'll be used by more than one child.  There are two sets of cards for each plant, one set has the plant name and picture and the other set has the picture and a few facts about the plants.  Cut out both sets of cards and encourage the kids to match the pictures.  The PDF also includes two cards for sorting the plants by whether they're harmful to humans or healing.

The cards can also be used in the traditional Montessori-inspired 3-part card way.  Print two copies of the cards and leave one set of cards whole with both the picture and the label.  Cut the other set of cards apart, so that you have a picture card and a label card.  The whole card and the two parts make the traditional three cards of the Montessori method.  Kids can be encouraged to read the labels and match them to the picture, while using the whole card to check their work.

Take the cards with you when you go hiking and camping this summer to help you identify plants while you're in nature.  Have you found this printable helpful?  Would you like to see more of them?  Comment below and tell me!

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