Corn and soybeans are abundant this time of year! We know they are used for animal feed, human consumption, and to produce fuel like ethanol and biodiesel, but there are so many fun things kids can do with corn and soybeans too! I’ve compiled a list of my favorites. Some are very educational and others are just plain fun.
- Corn Printing – Forget rubber stamps, an ear of corn is all you need to create a beautiful work of art with ink pads or washable tempera paint. Rolling the ear of corn in paint will create a beautiful pattern, but also try printing with the husks, cob, or a cross section of an ear. The design possibilities are endless!
- Bumble Beans – What do you get when you put soybeans in a balloon and twirl it as fast as you can? The sound of Bumble Beans! No kidding. It sounds just like a swarm of bees!
- Living necklaces – Add a corn kernel and a soybean seed to a jewelry-size zip top bag filled with moisture beads or a moistened cotton ball. Punch a hole in the top, add a piece of yarn, and viola… you have a living necklace featuring Iowa’s two main crops.
- Seed Dissection – Corn and soybeans obviously look different on the outside, but how do the inside of these common seeds compare? In this simple seed dissection activity, students explore the differences between monocot (corn) and dicot (soybean) seeds.
- What’s in a Soybean? – Crush ½ cup soybeans with a hammer or put them in a food processer for a few seconds. Add them to a quart jar filled with hot water and stir. Let the mixture sit overnight. How many layers do you see? Touch the top layer with your finger and rub it on your palm or a piece of brown paper. What do you think it is? Hint: Check out the ingredient list on a bottle of vegetable oil.
- Cornhusk Dolls– Create a simple doll just like Native American or early pioneer children would have made.
- Corn Mosaic – Explore the difference between Indian corn, popcorn, and field corn while creating a beautiful work of art. Gather seeds of each type, craft glue, and cardboard squares and let your little artist create a masterpiece worthy of display in the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.
- Mighty Soybeans – Mix plaster of pairs with water in a small cup until it is the consistency of a thick milkshake. Push three soybeans into the plaster of Paris about ¼ inch deep. Will they grow? Watch the mighty soybeans crack the plaster!
- Soybean Rain Stick – I just love the soothing sounds a rain stick makes. Now you can make one with soybeans while learning about vibration and energy transfer too.
- Sub-ma-beans – What happens when you add soybeans to a glass of 7-Up? Instant fun and a lesson in buoyancy!
- Sprout a Whole Ear of Corn – Yes, it can be done. Soak a whole ear of field corn or Indian Corn in water for a few hours. Set it in a shallow container, like a pie plate, and place it in a sunny location. Check it every day to ensure there is always a small amount of water in the container. Within a week you’ll have a plate of tiny corn plants.
- Soybeans in a CD Case – Germinate soybeans in a CD case while learning about geotropism – plant’s natural response to gravity!
- Soybean Roller Skating – Dump a bucket of soybeans on a smooth-hard surface and turn you sneakers into roller skates! Be careful to keep your balance!
Do you need corn or soybeans? Contact us! We are happy to send you corn or soybeans so you can try these fun activities in your home or classroom.
Tag a picture of your kids or students doing these activities on our Facebook page and we’ll send you a kid-friendly agriculture-themed surprise to share with them!