Have you ever thought of exploring wind with a young child or a group of children? The wonderful thing about wind exploration is it brings up lots of scientific questions. It also provides a unique opportunity. We cannot really see wind but we can feel wind. It is less tangible and yet, part of nature.
Here are some of the things I’ve used to explore wind with young children:
Millicent and the Wind by Robert Munsch
The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins (this story is great for adding props as you tell the story)
Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets
Frog and Toad: The Kite by Arnold Lobel
The Magic Fan by Keith Baker
Set up an electric fan in the classroom. Leave a variety of items beside the fan that can be held up to the ‘wind’ that the fan creates. Try crepe paper streamers or scarves, tissue paper or heavier paper, string and hole punchers and paper, cardboard tubes etc. Try blowing bubbles near the fan and observe what happens as the wind meets the bubbles.
Show children how to fold paper to make a fan and feel how the hand held fan can make wind too.
Talk about questions related to wind…
Where does wind come from?
Can we see wind? Why not?
How do we know the wind is there if we cannot see the wind?
How can people make wind?
What can wind do?
On a windy day, play outside and notice what you can do with the wind. Try flying a kite. What other things can the wind lift up and take for a flight? Look for the maple seeds and try throwing them into the wind. They are like nature’s helicopters. What does the wind do with leaves? What does the wind do to trees? Try bringing some streamers or scarves or bubbles outdoors and use them on a windy day. Notice how the wind can make things move. What about feathers? Can the wind lift them up too? Its a great opportunity for children to act like scientists to test out what the wind can do with a variety of items. Try flags, or parachutes or just tie some streamers to the trees. Try wind chimes too. Or just play with the wind as Millicent does in Robert Munsch’s story.
Go out and play! Remember that children learn so much through play experiences. These opportunities will give them a basis for future scientific learning. So have fun exploring wind with children!