Whole kernel dried corn purchased at a feed store provided hours of fun for kids of all ages.
A digger out of sheet steel pieces, wood levers, bicycle brake cables and springs was used to scoop up the corn. Thin sheet metal covers the moving parts so little fingers don't get pinched. The seat was cut out of wood and the edges were rounded to make it more comfortable. Squeezing the wood handle activates the brake cable which allows the bucket to take a big scoop. The base was made out of steel tubing welded together. The seat simply screws onto the base.
The next step was to create a conveyor belt to transport the corn from a lower table to a higher table. The digger digs the corn and drops it into a hopper made of sheet metal. The hopper slowly drops the corn onto the conveyor belt. The kid powered handle at the top of the conveyor belt moves the corn up to the top. Screws were added to make tightening the belt easier. Ebay was the source for the 10 foot by 5 inch belt.
A clear plastic tube was used to slide the corn back down to the lower table.
Old buckets, shovels, cups and sand toys were great for scooping up the corn and putting it into the funnel attached to the top of the plastic tube.
The plastic tube was a florescent light protector tube from the hardware store.
At times the activity got quite frantic as kids tried to make sure that the corn was going up just as fast as it was coming down.
Two old tables with plastic garden borders screwed on the outside were used for the two levels. We kept a broom handy to sweep up all the corn that ended up on the floor.
After the four day event, the 200 lbs. of corn was rebagged and given to a chicken farmer to feed his flock.
Just don't let small children eat it or let it get wet, enjoy!