How to Make a Homemade Weather Vane for Kids

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A weather vane is used to show the direction the wind is blowing. Knowing the direction of the wind helps people know from which direction a storm is traveling.Today, meteorologists use sophisticated satellites to predict the weather. However, for centuries people around the world used simple devices such as weather vanes -- also called wind vanes -- to help them predict the weather. A simple way to interest kids in watching the weather is to make a homemade weather vane with them.

    Cut an arrow 5 inches long out of the cardboard.

    Cut a cardboard circle a little larger than the circumference of the empty coffee can. Starting at the top center of the circle, use the pen to write North. Continue around the circle writing Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest and Northwest in the appropriate places. Using the point of the scissors, poke a hole in the center of the cardboard large enough for the pencil to fit through. Push the pencil through the hole, eraser side first.

    Stick some clay on to the pencil eraser. With the clay, affix the pencil to the inside bottom of the coffee can. Pour the sand or gravel into the can to hold the pencil steady.

    Tape the arrow to the pen cap. Put the pen cap with the arrow over the unsharpened end of the pencil. Make sure the pen cap is level and moves freely.

    Take the weather vane outside in an open area. Use a compass to find North. Make sure the North on the weather vane is pointing North. When the wind blows, you will see which direction it is blowing from.

    Things You'll Need

    • Scissors
    • Cardboard
    • Marker
    • Unsharpened pencil
    • Clay
    • Empty coffee can
    • Sand or gravel
    • Pen cap that fits loosely over the pencil
    • Compass


    • Children should be supervised by adults when using the scissors.


About the Author

Janeen Lewis began writing professionally in 1994 for "The Sentinel-News" in Shelbyville, Ky. She holds bachelor's degrees in journalism and elementary education from Eastern Kentucky University, as well as a master's degree in education from the University of Kentucky. Her work has been published in "Arts Across Kentucky" and several "Chicken Soup for the Soul" anthologies.

Photo Credits

  • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images