Homemade weathervane

Explore the science of wind with a timeless tool that's simple to make.  

You'll Need

  • Poster board
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pen top
  • Knitting needle
  • Modeling clay
  • Heavy block
  • Marker
  • White contact paper (or other adhesive paper)
  • Compass
  • Notebook


45 minutes

Engage your child in the science of meteorology. Following these directions to make a homemade weather vane that will monitor the wind direction:

  1. Cut out an arrow from the poster board and tape a pen top to its middle.
  2. Press a tiny lump of clay onto the arrow point.
  3. Use the remaining clay to affix the knitting needle to the block, and then slide the pen top over the needle.
  4. Cut out four squares of adhesive paper and write one of the following letters on each square: N (north), S (south), W (west), and E (east).
  5. Take the squares, the compass, and the wind vane outdoors. Position the vane in a large open area. (The higher the vane, the better the reading.)
  6. Using the compass as reference, attach the directional labels to the sides of the block.

Encourage your child to observe the wind vane several times a day and record the direction of the wind in her weather log. (Remember that the arrow points in the direction from which the wind is blowing from). As your child becomes more familiar with cardinal directions (North, South, East, West), introduce her to the ordinal directions (Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest) and have her practice reading more precise wind directions.