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How to Make a Wind Vane for Kids

Updated on February 07, 2012
Completed Wind Vane
Completed Wind Vane | Source

What is a Wind Vane?

A wind vane is an instrument used to measure the direction of wind. As wind blows onto the tail of the vane, the arrow of the vane points into the direction from which the wind is coming. For example, if you blow at your wind vane, the arrow will eventually come around to point at you!

Supplies to Make a Wind Vane

My daughter used this weather project for a science experiment and it actually worked!

  • Soda Bottle (I used a 12 oz mini water bottle for mine)

  • Bag of sand

  • Unsharpened pencil

  • Sharpened pencil to draw / trace arrow and tail

  • Nail or straight pin

  • Tape

  • 2 straws – one thinner so the one can slide through the other (these can be found at a fast food restaurant or gas station in different sizes)

  • Scissors

  • Thick cardstock from which to cut the arrow and tail

  • Paper, stickers, crayons, glitter, glue to decorate the bottle

  • Ruler

Introduction to Making a Wind Vane

This was a school project my daughter created for her science class in the fourth grade. We made the wind vane small enough for her to carry back and forth on the school bus since I was at work and could not help her transport the project. My daughter was able to follow the directions and complete this project with minimal assistance. However, I did take over the use of the razor blade for her safety. The wind vane experiment really did work and she got full credit for the project. We still have the wind vane sitting in our kitchen window and she takes it down to show her sisters how it works. We were able to complete this project within a half hour. This idea doesn’t need to be completed only as a school science project, it can also be done to pass a rainy day or over summer break when students aren’t learning as much. A hands-on approach is one of the best methods for teaching a child.


Supplies for making a wind vane
Supplies for making a wind vane | Source
I bought orange sand at a craft store because it is our school color.  I also bought a tiny funnel perfect for filling the bottle.
I bought orange sand at a craft store because it is our school color. I also bought a tiny funnel perfect for filling the bottle. | Source
Project for Science - Wind vane
Project for Science - Wind vane
See how the pin goes through the straws and into the top of the eraser?  You may need to slide the straws up and down on the pin a few times to widen the whole - so the arrow and tail can spin freely.
See how the pin goes through the straws and into the top of the eraser? You may need to slide the straws up and down on the pin a few times to widen the whole - so the arrow and tail can spin freely. | Source

How to Make a Wind Vane


1. Get all your supplies ready and set them out beside you


2. Wash the bottle and peel off the label, setting the bottle aside to dry during the rest of the steps


3. Use the scissors to cut three inches off the thicker straw


4. Use the scissors again to cut 1 inch slits at either end of the longer straw parallel to one another


5. Create the arrow by cutting a triangle out of your cardstock with a 2 inch wide base.


6. Create the tail by cutting a 4 inch square out of your cardstock


7. Slide the long straw into the shorter, wider straw leaving room at either end for the tail and arrow


8. Slide the arrow into the slit at one end of the longer straw and slide the tail into the slit at the opposite end


9. Secure the arrow and tail with tape if they do not seem stable and set this piece aside


10. Fill your clean bottle with the sand for weight


11. Push the straight pin through the middle of the straws


12. Slide the pencil into the sand in the bottle with the eraser sticking up


13. Slide the straight pin into the eraser


If you look closely you can see how the one straw is sitting inside the other.  You can also see how the longer straw has a slit to hold the tail.  Our tail would not stay on without tape.
If you look closely you can see how the one straw is sitting inside the other. You can also see how the longer straw has a slit to hold the tail. Our tail would not stay on without tape. | Source
Source

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    • thejeffriestube profile image

      Dave 5 years ago from United States

      Ardie, very interesting and useful, thank you!

    • angela p profile image

      angela p 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      Interesting project. We have to design or find a frequency generator for a 6th grade project in the next few days.. ughhh..

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey! Cool Ardie! My girls can try this project tomorrow:). No school - yippee! Lol

      Really nice job with the perfect layout and everything!

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      This looks really fun and pretty easy! I will be keeping this one on hand for my students!

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Hi thejeffriestube :) This was so much fun to make. Can you believe I've kept it for a year and a half? That's so my little two can use it for the same science projects hahahah Cheaters

      Angela, eeeew I do NOT envy you. I wonder if that's something I will have to make with my daughter next year. Hey, make a Hub detailing your steps and I'll use it!!

      Hello RHW! I've missed you - haven't seen you around much lately. Let me know what your girls think of this. My kids loved it because it involved sand :)

      Hi KrystalD :) Im so excited you will keep it on hand for students. That makes me feel all kinds of warm and happy. Any questions just email me!!

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 5 years ago from Hungary

      Now I can make a wind vane, yay!! Congrats to Bette! The project looks very neat and you are smart to keep it for the little two. :D

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Ardie, hey I like this. Can you daughter do one for a windmill to put out in the garden?

      Nice hub and has attracted a lot of interest for you.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Very cool Ardie! Nice instructions too! I'm going to share this with my nieces. I'll send it over to the science teachers as well.

      Fun hub! Voted up!

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Thanks Haunty :) It was a fun little project to make - BOTH times! I say both because I had to take it apart to get the pics for the hub hahah

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Hmm Posh, I can ask her. But Im afraid the shipping costs would be HUGE! Unless it can be only 5 inches tall too

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Wow, missolive!!! That's the best complement I could ever get passing it on to the science teachers :) The best part of this project was its cost - pretty much NOTHING! Thanks for the votes

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      My grandchildren will love making this. Thank you

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Hello Gypsy Willow, another beautiful hubber name! I hope they do have fun making this. If you have any questions feel free to ask :)

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Ardie, great hub. I don't think I will be making one though. Both my nieces are a bit older now, one has graduated high school and in college, and the other is still in high school but would not need to do this or even want to. LOL! Nice step by step guide for others though. For that you get a voted up! useful and awesome. :)

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Hiya Cagsil, you know YOU could always make one just for the fun of it. What's your favorite color? You can make a wind vane to match your porch :) Thanks for all the votes even if you choose not to make my AWESOME craft hahah

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

      This looks like a fun project for kids ...and me!

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 4 years ago from Nottingham Uk

      Great hub my super star friend, like the pictures also especially the pencil with the rubber on the top. On the next rainy day I'd like to make a blue one to go under the verandh on my summer house. voted up, up and away just like the weather vane:) :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Terrific! This is going to be a project we save for a rainy day! Very cool and fun - I think I am gonna use a little glitter too:) haha! We didn't make one that day it rained so I printed it and saved!

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 4 years ago from Neverland

      haha thanks Audra! I loved making this with my daughter and she did such a good job I kept it :)

      Hi Brian :) You like the pencil with the rubber on top? Thanks!! I have seen some people make a project similar to this but on a much bigger scale and I bet it would look great in a garden!

      Hi RHW, I think glitter makes everything better! Once you have yours all made send me a picture :)

    • johnakc profile image

      johnakc 4 years ago from New Delhi

      wonderful illustration..

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 4 years ago from Neverland

      Thank you johnack :)

    • johnakc profile image

      johnakc 4 years ago from New Delhi

      You are Welcome :)

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Very nice. Kids would love doing this. I wish I still had little ones around so I could show them how to make it. My oldest granddaughter always loved crafts and she still does. Voted Up.

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 4 years ago from Neverland

      Hello moonlake =) I don't even wanna think about the days when I don't have a little one around to make fun crafts with! I will just have to borrow someone else's young kids, right? And not like kidnapping haha maybe just babysitting. Thanks for the vote

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      What a super cute idea Ardie :) Me and the kids will have to do one of these for the coming fall! Excellent idea! Voted up and shared :)

    • GlstngRosePetals profile image

      GlstngRosePetals 4 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

      Great article! very understandable and easy eanough. Love the photo illistrations thamk you for the great read!! Voted up !!!

    • Ardie profile image
      Author

      Sondra 4 years ago from Neverland

      Hi CassyLu :) Im glad you enjoyed this Hub - I have to admit I finally tossed the wind vane that is pictured here. I kept knocking the stupid thing over and getting orange sand all over the house! Maybe my next one will include a lid.

      Hiya GRP, thanks for the great comment :) Now if you make one of these I insist on a pic

    • profile image

      DAVID 3days ago 4 years ago

      Thanks for yr help ardie

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the article. Very helpful and interesting. I'm sure this will be of help to my younger folks when with their science projects. Voted up and useful. :)

    • profile image

      nsor 4 years ago

      Help me a lot i got a A+!

    • profile image

      RGIII 4 years ago

      A is a good grade, right? thank u a lot!!!! :)

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      bad idea i cut my finger off. don't trust

    • monahamed profile image

      monahamed 4 years ago

      Very good idea and easy to do . Thank you.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Nice project! This reminds me of the tornadoes in a bottle we use to make with two plastic soda bottles, blue water and taping the two soda bottle together at the neck. You swirl the water, flip it and a vortex is formed. I like the fact that you added some school spirit to it by coloring the sand the school's color.

    • jasonplus profile image

      Jason Plus 4 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for this post. I'm going to try it in my class.

    • profile image

      angelicatight 3 years ago

      this is all nonsense

    • profile image

      abby 3 years ago

      very boring

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