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Making a windmill

Card windmill completedYou will need

Coloured card

A piece of thin dowel 30cm long (thick enough not to split when a nail is knocked through)

A bead

A large headed nail or a nail and a small button



This activity will need an adult to make the holes and hammer the nail through into the dowel.

Link this activity with looking at wind farms and working windmills.

Book: The Wind at Work

An Activity guide to windmills

  • Windmill made from a square of cardCut a square of thin card 20cm x 20cm, (to make a two coloured windmill as shown above, cut two pieces of card of differing colour and glue them together)
  • Draw the diagonals in lightly and then cut along them inwards from each corner for about 11cm, as shown top right.
  • Make five holes in the square, one on one side of each corner cut and one in the middle again as shown top right. The corner holes need to be big enough to allow the windmill to turn, but not too big
    so that the nail head can go through.
  • Windmill viewed from the frontCurl each half corner with the hole in towards the middle and then using the large headed nail, (if you haven't got a nail with a big enough head try threading on a small button) thread it through the holes and then through the hole in the middle. The shape of the windmill should now be made, as shown centre right.
  • Thread the bead onto the nail behind the windmill to allow the windmill to rotate freely without knocking against the dowel.
  • Windmill viewed from the sideUsing a hammer knock the nail into the dowel. If the nail goes out through the other side, hammer it flat against the dowel and cover with a small piece of tape.

  • Let the children test the windmill by blowing onto it from different angles to see which makes the sails turn the easiest and fastest.
  • Take the windmills outside to see if there is enough wind to make them turn. Again turn the windmills round to see if they turn more easily if they are facing a certain direction.
  • If there isn't very much wind let the children either run with the windmill
    or swing it round to see what happens.



A simple activity for looking at the effect of wind.

You will need

Garden canes or similiar sticks

Thin material (cotton or lining materal)


  • Cut different shapes, eg rectangles and triangles out of the material.
  • Glue the material onto one end of the cane, rolling it so that there is a complete turn of material, leave until dry.
  • Take the flags outside to see if there is enough wind to make the flags fly. If the flags fly look at which material flew the easiest.
  • Hold the flags low down to the ground and then up high to see if there is any change.
  • Leave the flags outside in the ground and record each day if the flags are flying and which direction they are flying.