Wind has been amongst the best companions of our mother planet – Earth. It is one weather phenomenon that can be gentle like a breeze and as savage as a tornado. You experience it almost everyday!

But, do you really know the science behind wind? What makes the wind blow? Before we dive into the mechanics of wind, let’s first find out what wind is.

What is Wind?

Wind is moving air near the surface of earth. We are surrounded by air. This air, when in motion, is called wind. Wind greatly influences the weather. It brings rain, snow and even dust! In fact, The Great Indian Monsoons are nothing but winds!

For centuries, people have utilised the power of wind. From early sailors of the Nile who used the wind power to propel their boats as early as 5000 B.C to the present day windmills, wind has never failed to make its presence felt.

wind for kids

What Makes the Wind Blow?

A simple answer to this question is the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface by the Sun – that is the temperature difference! Difference in the temperature of land, water and air causes wind.

sun and wind

Earth is unevenly heated by the Sun owing to its landforms. Different landforms differ in how they absorb and reflect sunlight. Snow covered landforms reflect most of the light, making them cooler than plains. Similarly, rocky landform reflects more sunlight than sand. This uneven heating creates areas of warm air and cold air near the surface of earth.

Warm air rises up, just like smoke from the chimney or bonfire or steam from kettle moves up, into the atmosphere. This leaves an empty pocket (space) near the surface of earth. The nearby cooler air rushes in to fill up this empty space, thus creating wind.

What Makes the Wind Blow Fast or Slow?

It’s the same reason that causes wind in the first place. The faster the warm air will rise, the faster the cooler air will replace it. And it is the temperature that determines how fast the air rises. Hot air rises faster than warmer air. 

Higher the temperature difference between the pockets of cooler and warm air, higher will be the wind speed! Based on Beaufort scale, there are 12 different levels of wind speed ranging from clam to catastrophic.

How is Wind Measured?

Meteorologists measure wind using two parameters — Speed and Direction.

Speed of the wind is measured in miles per hour or kilometers per hour. A tool called anemometer is used to measure the speed of wind. The fastest wind speed ever recorded has been 254 mph (408 km/h) in Australia. It came from Tropical Cyclone Olivia.

anemometer for kids

Direction of wind is defined as the direction of the source of wind i.e where the wind is coming from. For instance, southerly winds blow from south to north. Wind direction can be measured using a windsock or a weather vane.

windsock for kids

Types of Winds

1. Windstorm

Windstorms are straight-line winds with little or no rain.

2. Jet Stream

A jet stream is a fast moving river of air between two air masses with different temperatures. Generally formed at about 12 km above the surface of earth, jet streams always move from west to east. The air in a jet stream generally moves at a speed of about 185 miles per hour.

3. Monsoon

Monsoon winds are seasonal winds that bring heavy rainfall to the Indian sub-continent.

4. Trade Winds

The winds moving towards the equator are called trade winds. These warm, steady winds blow almost throughout the year. Trade winds that form over land are called continental trade winds and those formed over the ocean are called maritime trade winds.

5. Wind Gusts

Wind gust is a sudden burst of cool air rushing down and out from a thunderstorm that collides with cool, dry air from below.

6. Sea Breeze

Sea breeze refers to gentle winds that blow from sea to land. It generally occurs on warm, sunny afternoons in coastal areas.

7. Land Breeze

Another coastal wind, land breeze blows from the land to the sea during night. Just like the sea breeze, land breeze is also caused due the difference in the temperature of air over sea and air over the adjoining land.

8. Prevailing Winds

Like the name suggests, these winds are ever present and ongoing. They blow from a single direction over a specific area of the Earth.

9. Hurricane

Hurricane is a violent, giant, spiraling tropical storm accompanied with rain. These powerful storms pack in high-speed winds of at least 74 mps and can reach up to 150 mps or even more!

These tropical storms are referred to as cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean and typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean.

Is Wind Helpful?

While the force of wind is powerful and can be devastating, wind is also a great resource. It plays a significant role in our atmosphere and weather cycles. Wind carries water vapours from one terrain to another, bringing rainfall to far off areas. It even dries up your clothes!

uses of wind for kids

Wind also helps plants grow by dispersing their seeds to different places. It even carries pollen from one plant to another so fruits, vegetables, and flowers can grow.

One of the most promising uses of wind is renewable energy. Wind can be used to generate electricity through windmills. Wind energy is in fact one of the cleanest forms of energy.

How Do Windmills Generate Electricity?

windmill for kids

Windmill has been around since centuries. The picturesque windmills of Holland are a great reminder of how people have harnessed the power of wind for ages. Traditionally, windmills were used to pump water and grind grains.

But with the advancement of science, we have learned to generate electricity through windmills. The process of generating electricity is quite simple. As the wind moves through the blades of the windmill, the blades move in circular motion. The blades are connected to a rotor, which in turn is connected to a shaft that leads to the generator. As the blades move, the motion is transferred to the rotor, then to the shaft and finally to the generator, which produces electricity.

Wind Fun Facts  

1. Windmills have been in use since 2000 B.C. with the earliest ones built in Persia and China.

2. Wind farms, also called wind plants, refer to a large number of wind turbines that are installed close and together.

3. The windiest place on Earth is Cape Farewell in Greenland.

4. Some tornadoes can be faster than formula one racing cars!

wind facts for kids

5. The largest wind turbine in the world is located in Hawaii, United States.

6. Sailing ships use wind to power their movement with the help of sails.

7. Rotating column of air over the body of water is called a waterspout.

8. Anemometers are used to measure wind speed.

9. Winds that continue to flow for about one minute are called squalls.

10. Many sports and recreational activities make use of the wind. Such sports include kiteboarding, windsurfing, sailing and paragliding.

11. Winds originating from Pacific Ocean in the northwest region of Northern America and flowing towards the eastern side to the Rocky Mountain range are called Chinook winds.

12. Cats and dogs have been known to sense when a tornado is approaching beforehand.

13. Saturn and Neptune are home to the fastest planetary winds in the Solar System.

wind facts for kids

14. Solar wind in outer space is a stream of charged particles that come from the Sun.

Wind & Air Activities for Kids

A great way to teach kids about wind is through wind science activities. Since you cannot see air, it is tricky for little kids to imagine wind! But these wind STEM activities will help children see the unseen and understand the mechanics of wind and air.

1. Hot Water Balloon Experiment

This air science experiment is a perfect starting point for kids who are learning about air and wind. It helps children really see how hot and cold air behaves.

What you will need:

  • Empty Plastic Bottle
  • Balloon
  • Bowl of Hot Water
  • Bowl of Iced Water

How to Do it:

Step 1: Put the balloon on the mouth of the empty bottle.

Step 2: Place the bottle in hot water. As the heat is transferred from the hot water to the bottle, the air inside the bottle warms up and rises, inflating the balloon.

air experiment for kids

Step 3: To see how cold air contracts, place the same bottle from the hot water bowl into an iced water bowl. The balloon will contract.

hot cold air experiment for kids

This is such an easy wind activity to do with kids and quite an essential one as it lets children see for themselves how hot air expands and cold air contracts.

2. DIY Pinwheel

Making a pinwheel is just the right STEAM activity for kids. It packs all the components of STEM along with arts and is really fun to make.

What you will need:

  • A4 Pastel Sheet
  • Scissors
  • Scale
  • Straw
  • Pushpin
  • Sketch Pens

How to do it: 

Step 1: Take the pastel sheet to make a perfect square. Let your child use a scale to draw one herself/ himself.

Step 2: Draw diagonals, joining the opposite corners of the square.

Step 3: Cut out the square.

Step 4: Cut along the diagonals going up halfway to the center of the square. Center is where the diagonal lines intersect.

paper pinwheel for kids

Step 5: Take alternate corners and glue them to the center of the square.

paper pinwheel for kids

Step 6: Using sketch pens, make patterns on the folds.

Step 7: Take a pushpin and insert it at the center of the pinwheel. Make sure it holds all four folds together.

paper pinwheel for kids

Step 8: Attach the pinwheel to a straw. Your pinwheel is ready.

paper pinwheel for kids

Blow onto your pinwheel or take it outdoors to see the power of wind.

3. Balloon Pinwheel

Here is another version of the classic pinwheel. Balloon pinwheel is just right for your budding engineer and apt for older kids who have progressed above the paper pinwheel.

What you will need:

  • Balloon
  • All-pin
  • Bendy Straw
  • Pencil with eraser top
  • Elastic band

Balloon pinwheel experiment for kids

How to do it:

Step 1 Take the straw and insert its non-bendy part into the mouth of the balloon. Secure the balloon on the straw with help of an elastic band to make a snug fit.

Step 2: Using an all pin, attach the straw to the eraser top of the pencil so that both the ends of the straw are balanced. Folding the bend part of the straw at a right angle will help balance the straw.

balloon pinwheel for kids

Step 3: Blow into the straw through the bendy part to inflate the balloon.

Step 4: Once you have inflated the balloon enough, let go and hold the pencil away from your face to see the balloon spin.

This STEM activity is a great demonstration of how wind can be used to work for us. Here, the energy of gushing wind is converted into kinetic energy, which makes the balloon spin around the pin.

4. DIY Anemometer

An anemometer is a simple device that measures the speed of wind. It consists of cups that capture the wind and rotate as a result. Anemometer counts these rotations to calculate the speed of the wind. A must try air activity for kids that doubles up as a cool science project for kids.

5. What is in the Wind?

This cool air science experiment is like a magic trick. Simple, easy to do and eye-popping, this wind activity for kids will help your kids investigate what is actually in the wind.

What you need:

  • Craft Paper
  • Scissors
  • Vaseline
  • Twine
  • Puncher

wind experiment for kids

Step 1: Using scissors, cut out 6”X4” rectangle from the craft paper.

Step 2: Make a punch at one corner of the rectangle.

Step 3: Cut 15” from twine and lace it through the rectangle to tie it.

wind is matter for kids

Step 4: Apply a thin layer of vaseline on one side of the rectangle to make it sticky.

Step 5: Tie the assembly outdoors where it can swing freely in the air.

Step 6: Check on the paper after 4-5 hours. The sticky side of the paper will reveal dust particles, pollen and all sorts of things floating in the air.

wind experiment for kids

6. Balloon Powered Car

This STEM project for kids is just right for your vehicle crazy kid. Lots of learning in this simple project – from making a DIY car from recycled materials to understanding the power of wind.

7. Pick Me Up

This is a total fun air activity for kids to give them an idea of how wind can be used to our advantage. This wind activity makes up for a cool family night or party game that can be played solo or even in groups.

What you will need:

  • Gems – 4 packs
  • Straws
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Timer

wind air activities for kids

Step 1: Empty gem packs in a plate and spread the candies evenly.

Step 2: Set the timer for 1 minute.

Step 3: The players have to use straws to transfer gems from the plate to their respective bowls.

The player who transfers maximum gems to her bowl wins the game and gets to eat her candies too!

7. Balloon in a Bottle

This eye-popping air science experiment for kids is nothing short of magic. Certain to delight and amaze kids, this STEM activity is a must try and is a great demonstration of the fact that air occupies space.

What you will need:

  • Balloon
  • Plastic bottle
  • Push Pin
  • Water

How to do it:

Step 1: Place the balloon inside the bottle and stretch its mouth over the mouth of the bottle.

Step 2: Try blowing into the balloon to inflate it. You won’t be able to blow the balloon!

air occupies space

Step 3: Now, fill the bottle one-third with water, cap it and poke a small hole with a pushpin near the bottom of the bottle.

Step 4: Empty the bottle and repeat step 1.

Step 5: Now try blowing the balloon.

The balloon will magically inflate now! Can you guess why? The hole in the bottle allows air inside the bottle to escape, thus giving space to the balloon to inflate. When there was no hole, the air inside the bottle had nowhere to go and thus no space for the balloon to inflate inside the bottle. This simple experiment shows that air occupies space.

8. Ping Pong Race

Another fun air activity for kids that is surely a hit with kids of all ages. Like the name suggests, this air activity for kids is a racing game and the player who races his Ping-Pong ball fastest wins the game.

air wind activities for kids

What you will need:

  • Clay
  • Ping Pong Ball
  • Table
  • Straw

Step 1: Roll clay between your hands to get a long rope like structure.

Step 2: Use the rolled clay to make a clay spiral, on a table, keeping track wide enough to let the pin pong ball roll through it.

Step 3: Place Ping-Pong ball at the outer end of the spiral.

Step 4: Using straw, guide the Ping-Pong ball to the center of the spiral. Make sure the ball does not fall off the table else you’ll have to restart from the beginning.

The player who gets his Ping-Pong ball fastest to the center of the spiral wins the game!

9. Air is Matter Experiment

Air, like matter, occupies space. But unlike liquid and solid forms, it is difficult to envision air that is occupying the space. That’s where this STEM experiment for kids comes to rescue! This watery experiment is loads of fun and perfect for a sunny afternoon.

What you will need:

  • Bucket
  • Tumbler
  • Water

Step 1: Fill the bucket three-fourth with water.

Step 2: Hold the tumbler upside down in your hand and press it straight into the bucket till the bottom without tilting it. You will observe no water will get into the tumbler.

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 with a little twist. This time, tilt the tumbler a bit to let the air escape. You will observe bubbles of air escaping and the water getting into the tumbler this time.

This experiment shows that air occupies space. When the tumbler is kept straight and pushed into the water, there is no way for air to escape. Hence, no water gets into the tumbler. But when you tilt the tumbler, you provide space for air to escape that lets the water to gush in. Thus, confirming that air occupies space.

10. Balloon Rocket

Make a balloon rocket using the power of wind with simple supplies found at home. This wind activity for kids will leave them excited and help them understand Newton’s third law of motion – action and reaction.

11. DIY Working Windmill Model

This is a great hands-on lesson on how wind energy can be used to do work. Our ancestors have been using wind energy for ages to grind grains and draw water. Here is a simple working windmill project for kids that you can make at home with easy to find materials.

You will need:

  • Skewer
  • Empty Toilet Paper Roll
  • Clay
  • Origami Sheet/ Plain paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper Punch
  • Paper Cup
  • Twine

How to do it:

Step 1: Use an origami sheet to make a pinwheel. For instructions, refer to air activity 2 – DIY Pinwheel. Instead of securing the pinwheel with pushpin, insert the skewer in it.

Step 2: Using clay, secure the pinwheel onto the skewer from both front and back so that it does not move along the length of the skewer.

Step 3: Punch two holes near the edge of the paper cup. The holes should be opposite to each other.

Step 4: Lace twine through the punch holes and tie a knot. Leave the free end at least 10 inches long.

Step 5: Insert the skewer with the pinwheel through the toilet paper roll.

Step 6: Attach the twine lacing the cup from the free end of the skewer. Your DIY working windmill is ready!

DIY Working windmill for kids

Hold the assembly in your hand and blow on the blades on the pinwheel. The air turns the paper blade of the pinwheel, causing it to rotate. This motion will be transferred to the skewer (shaft) that will in turn cause the twine to roll up, bringing the hanging paper cup up.

Wind Craft For Kids

1. Windsock

Windsock is a simple, easy wind craft for kids that can be made from common household items and in less than 20 minutes. Great for motor skills, this is a perfect craft that lets children decipher the direction of wind.

What you will need:

  • Empty Toilet Paper Roll
  • Sketch Pens
  • Ribbons
  • Single Hole Punch

Step 1: Take the empty toilet roll and draw interesting patterns on it to make it look beautiful.

Step 2: Punch holes along the edge of the toilet roll using a single puncher. You can also use a skewer or a nail to make holes.

Step 3: Lace ribbons from holes and let them hang loose at the other end.

Step 4:  Punch two holes, opposite to each other, on the other edge of the toilet paper roll.

Step 5: Lace a single ribbon through both the holes and tie its ends to make a loop.

Your windsock is ready! Hang it from the loop to a tree or on your balcony. The windsock will sway in the wind and help you know the direction from which the wind is blowing.

2. Blow Painting

Blow painting is an instant hit with kids! All you need is paint, straw and paper. Add runny gallops of paint on the paper and let your kids blow the paint through the straw to create their very own wind masterpieces.

air crafts for kids

3. DIY Kite

DIY Kite is an indispensable wind craft for kids. With components of math, this DIY project for kids promises learning with fun. All you need is paper and twigs (you can use the ones from a twig broom!).

4. Wind Chime

Wind chime is a great fine motor wind craft for kids. Not only is it pretty but also musical. Just make sure to string in some small bells for the lovely music.

5. Bubble Snakes

Kids (and adults!) love bubbles! While we do know about the soapy part, bubbles are actually pockets of air. To make bubble snakes, you will need:

  • An old sock
  • 2Tbs Glycerin
  • 4Tbs Dish Soap
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • Plastic Bottle
  • Rubber band
  • Wide mouthed dish

Step 1: To make bubble solution, mix water, dish soap and glycerin together. Keep the solution overnight for best results.

Step 2: Cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle.

Step 3: Cut the sock above the ankle and discard the upper part.

bubble snakes for kids

Step 4: Wrap sock on wider part of the bottle. Secure it with rubber band

Step 5: Pour the soap solution in a wide mouthed dish.

Step 6: Dip the sock covered part into the soap solution and blow through the mouth of the bottle to make bubble snakes.

6. Windmills

These paper cup windmills are perfect wind crafts for any young wind and air enthusiast. This craft perfectly blends motor skills with creativity to make beautiful windmills.

7. Stick Ribbon Streamers

Ribbon streamer is an ideal craft for a windy day. This nature inspired craft will let your children out and running. Extremely easy to make, these stick ribbon streamers are absolute delight.

wind crafts for kids

What you will need:

  • Stick
  • Ribbons
  • Scissors

Cut ribbons into 12” long strips. You will need at least 5 such strips. Simply tie the ribbon strips onto the stick to make a fun ribbon stick streamer. By the way, tying ribbon knots is a wonderful fine motor activity for little kids!

8. Plastic Bottle Wind Spinners

We absolutely adore these wind spinners. They are a delight to watch on a windy day. Made from recycled material, this is a zero-spend craft.

Wind Books for Kids

1. The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm

Join Mr Fizz as he takes children on an adventurous journey to explore the weather! Informative and fun, Magic Bus Series is a great way to introduce to science concepts without overwhelming them.

wind book for kids

2. Kate, Who Tamed The Wind

If you wish to take a fun, story-like approach to teaching your kids about the environment, this is the book for you. Though the book is not really big on winds, it delivers a powerful message on how everything in nature is related.wind book for kids

3. The Wind Blew

A good start to introducing the tactics of wind to young children, this book is simply delightful. Packed with lovely illustrations and rhyming verses, it is worth a read.

wind books for kids

4. Feel The Wind

This book covers all the basics about the wind and how we can use this powerful natural resource. Easy on language, this one scores high on the list.

wind book for kids

5. Finding Out About Wind Energy

Learn how you can harness this bountiful natural resource to save the planet and humanity. A very informative book for children aged 8years and above, this book will surprise your kids as to how they can use this renewable, non-polluting resource and help their planet.

wind book for kids

6. What Is Wind

Another beginner level book for young kids explaining all about wind, the tools we use to measure wind and how wind affects people. Nice and bright illustrations, interesting facts presented in an engaging format makes this book a hit with kids.

wind book for kids

7. Tornado! The Story Behind These Twisting, Turning, Spinning, and Spiraling Storms

This title from National Geographic Kids is all about tornadoes and what it is like to be caught in a tornado. This book certainly packs a punch and is great resource for kids keen on learning about these powerful storms.

wind books for kids

8. Gusts and Gales: A Book About Wind

Enrich your child’s wind vocabulary with this informative read. A great book for elementary students, Gusts & Gales packs information about various types of wind, hurricanes and tornadoes.

wind book for kids

9. Wind (Whatever the Weather)

This wind book for kids is targeted at children beginning to read. Simple sentences and just enough information to excite little minds makes this book an informative read for young kids.

wind books for kids

10. I Face The Wind

This pre-school to grade 2 book brings the concept of wind to life. The concepts are backed with easy to understand explanations, which would help little children envision wind. Coming from a former science teacher, Vicki Cobb, this is a science book for kids you will simply fall in love with.

wind book for kids

We are certain with so many hands on activities, craft and books, learning about wind is going to be a breeze for your kids. Have fun!

 

Further Reading:

Outdoor STEM Activities

Watery Science Experiments for the Monsoon

What is Solstice?

 

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