Practical Life: Shelling Corn

The squirrels in our yard are either incredibly picky about their food or they are a bit lazy. Several weeks ago Silas and I picked up some ears of corn to put out for them and they haven't touched it at all. Not a bite. Now, this may be due to our feeder (it's not the best) or its placement or maybe they're avoiding the corn because it's GMO, but to me it seems that perhaps the effort of actually biting the corn off the cob is a bit daunting for them.

So, looking for an afternoon project, and hoping to encourage our little furry backyard friends to take a nibble, I decided to introduce Silas to shelling corn. What could be more "Iowa" than that, right?

Silas really dug into this one. I worked right next to him and, without words, demonstrated a couple different strategies for removing the kernels from the cob, but he preferred to pick them off one by one. He kept at it for a solid half hour before he declared that he was done.

It was a great fine motor workout and a way to exercise that pincer grasp.

Then we took a trek out to the yard, filled up the squirrel feeder and now we'll wait and see what happens!


  1. you know i actually saw a pic a month or so ago and someone had put up gmo and non gmo corn in their feeders. the squirrels ate all of the non gmo corn and didn't eat much of the gmo corn at all. however, im pretty sure most of this squirrel corn they sell is gmo and most squirrels eat it. interesting though.

    1. Yeah, I think I saw the same picture. The only thing they were trying to prove with that experiment is that, given the choice, animals will choose non-GMO over GMO. And I've heard many, many anecdotal stories to support that claim. However, I'm sure that if an animal is hungry enough they'll eat what's available, GMO or not. The corn we put out was grown by local Amish farmers and I have absolutely no idea about its GMO status.

  2. Great activity for those little hands. Have the squirrels dropped by yet?

  3. Great activity! Will have to try this too. I let Bea shell some broad beans the other day and she loved it. When it was all done and finished, she said 'more, pease' (she can't say her Ls very well yet :) )

  4. Can't wait to hear what happens to that corn.