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Weather vs. Climate Activity for Kids

Wind Vane DIY

  • Duration: 30-60 min
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Cost: $0 to $5

Build a device that tells you which way the wind is blowing!

Material List

  • 1Plastic straw
  • 2Paper plates
  • 1Marker
  • 1Pencil with a new eraser
  • 1Pair of scissors
  • 1Roll of tape
  • 1Poster board
  • 1Straight pin (for use by adults only!)
  • 1Ruler
  • 1Tube of modeling clay
  • 1Table fan


  • 1On the bottom of a paper plate, use a marker to write N, E, S, W (clockwise).
  • 2Cut an arrow point and tail from the poster board. The tail should be much larger than the point.
  • 3Cut 1-inch long slits lengthwise on both ends of the straw.
  • 4Slide the arrow tip and tail into the slits.
  • 5Separately, squish a big ball of clay in between the two plates.
  • 6Push the pencil through the plate you wrote N, E, S, W on so it stands straight up and is sturdy.
  • 7Ask an adult to loosely push the pin through the center of the straw and into the pencil's eraser.
  • 8Test the wind vane using the fan to represent wind.
  • 9If you go outside, use a compass to align North on your plate for accuracy.

How It Works

A wind vane is an instrument that can measure wind direction. Wind is moving air, and it pushes on the tail of the wind vane, causing it to turn so that the arrow points in the direction from which the wind is blowing. You can test this using a fan. This wind vane shows wind direction, but it is up to the user to record this information. Along with temperature, pressure, and precipitation (rain), wind speed and direction are important measurements for understanding and predicting the weather.

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