Science Weather

How to Make a DIY Weather Vane and Compass Science Activities for Kids

As spring approaches we see a lot of changes in the weater which make it a great time to explore with some fun weather activities for kids and weather experiments for kids to help children understand more about wind, rain, clouds, and more! I’ll show you how to make a weather vane the EASY way, make a homemade compass and more weather kindergarten, preschool, pre-k, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders will be interested in. So grab a couple simple materials you probably have at home and make this homemade weather vane today.

As spring approaches we see a lot of changes in the weater which make it a great time to explore with some fun weather activities for kids and weather experiments for kids to help children understand more about wind, rain, clouds, and more! I'll show you how to make a weather vane the EASY way, make a homemade compass and more weather kindergarten, preschool, pre-k, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders will be interested in. So grab a couple simple materials you probably have at home and make this homemade weather vane today.

How to make a weather vane

This fun DIY Weather vane is such a fun weather activities for preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, and grade 4 students. The how to make a weather van is a fun way to study the winder, weather, and clouds  with young kids, because the results are so tangible and relevant to their lives. Is the temperature too low? Maybe we should play inside instead of going to the park. Is there a chance of precipitation today? Better take a jacket and umbrella if we have somewhere to go. Even kids as young as preschool and kindergarten can learn to read a thermometer or make simple scientific apparatus such as a wind sock or rain gauge. Even if they don’t learn the difference between cirrus and cumulus, in today’s fast paced society, every child should spend at least some time cloud watching. This science project will teach you how to make a weather vane.

Historically, weather vanes have been in existence and used to help predict the weather for over 2,000 years. Unfortunately, these predictions are not always very accurate. However, although meteorology is a lot more complicated than the direction the wind is coming from, knowing this information can be used to make better educated guesses about the weather.

Make a weather vane

For added educational value, kids can easily make their own homemade compass to help orient their weather vane while simultaneously learning something about the Earth’s magnetic field.

For example, if the wind is coming from the north in the northern hemisphere, one might expect the temperature to cool off since average temperatures are typically colder the closer one gets to the Earth’s poles. (In the southern hemisphere, southern winds would be more likely to have a cooling effect.) Conversely, if the wind was coming from the direction of the equator (so the south in the northern hemisphere, north in southern hemisphere), one might predict warmer weather is on its way. If you live near an ocean, wind from that direction might suggest an increase in humidity (the amount of moisture in the air). Whether or not their predictions are reliable, kids can have fun practicing their weather forecasting skills.

homemade-weather-vane

Weather vane

All you need for this weather project for kids are a few simple materials you already have at your house or in your classroom. So grab your supplies and let me show you how to make a wind vane.

  • straw
  • unsharpened, unused pencil
  • empty circular plastic container with lid (such as sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • playdough (enough to fill the bottom of your container about 1/2 inch)
  • ball pin
  • 1 sheet of card stock
  • needle
  • refrigerator magnet (ours looks like a silver push pin in the picture above)
  • small square piece of Styrofoam (at least about 1″ x 1″)
  • bowl
  • glue
  • scissors
  • x-acto knife
  • pencil
  • markers
  • tape (optional)
  • ruler (optional)

Cut-Circle-Out-of-Cardstock-for-Weather-Vane-Lid

Homemade Weather Vane

Let’s walk you through the simple steps for how build a weather vane. First, trace the lid of the plastic container onto the cardstock and cut it out. Use the X-acto knife to make an “x”-shaped hole in the lid of the plastic container and use the hole to mark the center of your circle. If desired, draw a compass rose onto your cardstock circle. Otherwise, just label the 4 cardinal direction with N, S, E, and W. Glue the circle onto the lid.

Simple instructions for how to make a weather vane with lots of helpful pictures

DIY weather vane

If desired, cut out and decorate a piece of cardstock to wrap around your plastic container. Ours says, “Which Way Does the Wind Blow?” and I had my kids decorate thier homemade wind vane with a weather theme (storm clouds, sun, rain, lightening, etc.)

Decorate-Weather-Vane-Label

How to make a wind vane

Attach the label to the plastic container with tape or glue. Fill the inside of the container with about 1/2 inch of play dough. After the glue dries on the lid, use the X-acto knife to cut an “x” in the center of the paper and push the unused pencil through the lid.

Put-Playdough-in-Bottom-of-Tupperware-Container-for-Weather-Vane

DIY wind vane

Place the lid back on the container, pushing the pencil into the playdough so that the pencil is firmly held in place sticking straight out of the container.

Next, flatten your straw a bit, so that you can see a crease on the top and bottom. (If your straw has a bendy section, cut if off first.) Using the creases as a guide, cut a small slit on the top and bottom of each end (4 slits total). Each slit should be about 1/4 inch in length.

Cut out a square and triangle from the cardstock to make an arrow’s tail and point. Our square was 3″ on each side and our triangle had a 2 inch base and a 1.5 inch height. However, the exact dimensions (and even shape) are not really that important. What is important is that the tail of the arrow is much larger (has a greater surface area) than the point.

Decorate the tail and point if desired.

Place the square and triangle onto the ends of the straw. Add a little glue along each slit for added security.

Attach-Triangle-and-Square-to-the-Ends-of-the-Straw

Wind vane project

Using the crease in the straw again as a guide, push a ball pin through the straw and into the pencil, doing your best to make everything as straight as possible. Since the square end of the straw is heavier than the triangle, placing the pin a little closer to that end will help it be better balanced and remain straight instead of tipped. Our pin is located about 1/3 of the length of the straw (about 2.5 inches) from the square end (2/3 of the length (about 5 inches) from the triangle end).

Push-Pin-through-the-Eraser-of-Pencil-to-Make-Weather-Vane

How to build a weather vane

Now that I’ve showed you how to build a weather vane, your weather vane is ready! Before you use it however, you’ll want to orient the directions properly so that you know which direction the wind is coming from. To do this, you could use your own compass. However it is more fun to make your own.

Rub-Needle-with-Magnet-to-Make-Compass

Weather Vane DIY

The first thing you need to do to make your homemade compass is to magnetize your needle by rubbing the magnet in the same direction from one end of the needle to the other for about a minute. (Do not rub it back and forth.)

Next, glue the magnetized needle onto the Styrofoam.

Glue-Needle-to-Styrofoam-to-Make-Compass

Weather vanes

After the glue dries, place the Styrofoam and needle into a bowl of water and the needle will line up with the Earth’s magnetic field which runs between the North pole to the South pole. You can check the accuracy of your homemade compass with a real compass.

Compare-Homemade-Compass-with-Store-Bought-Compass

How to make a compass at home

Unfortunately, you will not know which end of your needle is north and which is south, so hopefully you will have a vague idea which direction is north already. Or use the sun as a guide, remember the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Once you know which direction is north, simply orient your weather vane so that your compass rose is properly aligned.

Homemade-Weather-Vane-and-Compass-Activity

How to make a weathervane

The way the weather vane works is that the wind is more likely to push the tail end of the arrow than the point end since the tail end has greater surface area. The wind pushes the tail in the direction it is blowing, causing the arrow to point in the direction the wind came from. Kids can test this by simply blowing on the weather vane and seeing how the arrow always turns to point back at them. Have fun watching your kids be young meteorologists!

  air-presssure-science-projects-for-kids We made a Lego Water Cycle to help kids visualize what we learned. We’ve made other water cycle crafts and my kids all loved them, but turning it into a lego activity for kids may have taken the cake! You've got to try this water cycle model that is fun AND educational too! This is a fun water cycle project for kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th graders too. Make learning about clouds for kids FUN with these engaging cloud activities. As children learn all about clouds for kids they will try the rain cloud experiment, cotton ball cloud activity for kids, grab the cloud printables, and make a cloud in a bottle. Use the cloud in a jar experiment with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd grade students. Whether you do all the cloud lesson or just the hugely popular rain experiment - this is sure to be a fun spring activity for kids! Homemade-Weather-Vane-and-Compass-Activity

Weather Activities

If you are ready to learn about the types of clouds, we have lots of fun cloud activities and cloud worksheets to add to your weather unit! Simply print the free cloud printables and you are ready to learn about, review, and make a cloud craft by making clouds with cotton balls. Get ready to play and learn wih these cloud activities for preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade, and grade 4 students. Are you studying about weather for kids? This simple, but memorable weather science experiments will help kids understand that clouds behave like water since a cloud is made mostly of water. This easy weather science experiments is perfect for pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th graders too. All you need are a few simple materials for this cloud experiment. Simple and FUN water cycle in a bag project helps kids visualize this weather phenomena with a hands-on weather activity! This Water Cycle Book is a great way to work on reading and fine motor skills while learning about the water cycle for kids. Use this free water cycle printables as part of a water cycle study, study of life cycles in science, summer learning, or extra practice. This set includes a water cycle explanantion for kids from preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and elementary age students in first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd graders too. Simply print water cycle for kindergarten pdf file and get ready to play and learn as part of a fun science or weather study.

Weather Science

Learn all about weather with this fun week-long Weather theme! Your kids will enjoy learning about weather for kids with these weather activities. These weather activities for kids are fun for toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders. We've included weather printables, hands-on weather experiments for kids, cute weather crafts, and so much more! growing a rainbow capillary action experiment bubble-wrap-rain-craft-for-spring two simple water cycle activities to help you teach about water cycle for kids. These science projects help you teach your littles all about the water cycle on the earth. Start with the water cycle experiment which provides a great way to see how water turns to gas and back into a liquid again. Then try our water cycle craft to help kids to reinforce the water life cycle. These are both fun ways to learn about the water cycle for kindergarten, pre-k, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade science. 

Weather Theme

Make teaching kids about weather fun and EASY with this free weather unit. These Weather Worksheets help kids explore a variety of weather topics as well as some weather themed worksheet for early math and literacy too. Use these free weather printables as preschool, 1st grade, 2nd, grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade and kindergarten weather worksheets. Simply print pdf file with weather worksheets for kids and you are ready to learn! Help kids understand the four seasons and how they relate to the months of the year with this super clever, free 4 seasons printables. This seasons printable is a fun, hands on way for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade studets to learn what months are in fall, winter, spring, and summer. This seasons for kids activities make learning FUN! Simply print seasons worksheets for kindergarten pdf file with the seasons worksheet to color, cut and affix to learn the seasons of the year. Kids will enjoy learning more about the water cycle with these Water Cycle Worksheets. These water cycle printable pages include a water cycle diagram worksheet, pages to label, coloring pages, and more! Use these free science worksheets with kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students.  Simply print water cycle worksheet pdf and you are ready to play and learn about the water cycle for kids. If you are teaching children about weather and clouds for kids, you will love this free printable cloud book for students to learn about the different types of clouds for kids. Simply print the kids clouds and you are ready to read, color and learn about different kinds of clouds. This what are the types of clouds reader is perfect for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders too.

Weather Printables

FREE Seeds Find the Letter Worksheets ladybug alphabet activity Spring Letter Matching Activity for preschoolers and kindergartners easter or spring bunny alphabet matching game for pre-k and kindergarten

Spring Alphabet Printables

FREE Spring Initial Blends Sort - this is a fun, hands on consonant blend activity for first graders to practice in a fun literacy game #blends #literacy #firstgrade Make practicing sights words FUN with this cute Bug Sight Words Game for preschool, pre k, kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade students to practice common dolche words.   farm sight word games for kindergarten FREE Butterfly Rhyming Games - this is such a fun spring literacy game to work on rhyming with preschool, kindergarten, and first graders. #rhyming #kindergarten #educationalspring

numbers to 20 counting board game for kindergarten and first graders spring additon game adding 10s to 1s on a hundreds chart

Spring Math

rainbow activities for preschoolers addition clouds spring math for preschoolers umbrella counting craft preschool

Spring Math for Preschoolers

butterfly activity Introduce children in pre-k, preschool, kindergarten, first grade, and 2nd grade to learning to read a clock with these fun Garden themed Telling the Time Worksheets. Concentrating on learning the o'clock and half-past times, these worksheets are a great way to introduce time and reading a clock to your children. Simply print pdf file with clock worksheets and you are ready for fun, free math worksheets with a fun flower theme. carrot shape playdough mats FREE Hungry Caterpillar Number Book - Practice Counting and writing numbers with this super cute, free printable for Toddler, Preschool, and Kindergarten age kids! LOVE THIS! (kids activities, eric carle day, homeschool, preschoolers, prek) #hungrycaterpillars #numberworksheets #preschool

Kindergarten Spring Math

spring worksheets to roll and dab with bingo daubers

Free Spring Printables

spring-simple-windsock-craft-for-kids You will love this outrageously fun painting with cars activity where kids will make a cheery rainbow painting using hotwheel vehicles. This rainbow painting for kids is a silly rainbow painting ideas that your kids will LOVE! Use this for a rainbow theme, car theme, spring theme, or just a fun play ativity with kids. Try this car activities for kids with toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade students.  Fun to make Tissue Paper Butterfly Craft Whether you are making a classic pasta necklace craft or creating your own work of art using pretty, colorful pasta as a starting point - let me show you how to dye pasta. After I show you how to color pasta you can whip up a some beautiful pasta to make first grade, kindergarten, toddler, and pasta necklace activity! Making a Preschool necklace craft is just one of those kids activities every child should do. Not only is it fun, but it is great for strengthening hand muscles too!

Spring Crafts for Kids

Whether you want to make colorful spring rainbow crafts, umbrella rain crafts, butterfly crafts, or baby animal craft projects, we’ve got some cute ideas!

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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