What Makes the Wind Blow? 25 Learn About Wind Activities

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What Makes the Wind Blow 25 Learn About Wind Activities Left Brain Craft BrainEver wonder what makes the wind blow?  We just took a family outing to the Berkeley Kite Festival and were completely inspired to learn about wind.  Check out this video of the gorgeous octopus kites from the festival.

Why Does the Wind Blow?

Wind is the horizontal movement of air flowing from areas of higher pressure to lower pressure. The greater the difference in pressure, the higher the wind speed.

So what causes these pressure differentials?  It’s all about temperature.  The sun heats up the earth, which heats up the air over it.  The hotter air is less dense and begins to rise leaving a low pressure void over the earth.  But the temperature doesn’t rise as high over areas like oceans that can absorb more of the sun’s heat.  This creates the opposite situation, i.e. high atmospheric pressure over the oceans.  So the air flows from high pressure over the ocean to the lower pressure areas over land.  A similar process occurs on a larger scale with temperature differentials between the earth’s poles and equator.

What Makes the Wind Blow in a Particular Direction?kites left brain craft brain small

Three different forces influence the direction the wind blows.  The first is the Pressure Gradient Force which causes the air to move from an area of high pressure to low pressure.  The second is the Coriolis Force created by the earth’s rotation on its axis.  This causes things in the Northern Hemisphere to turn to the right and things to turn to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. The third force is Friction because the Earth is rough and mountains and valleys can alter the wind flow.  The sum of these forces determines the direction.

Wind Vocabulary

Did you know that those words you use to describe wind like breeze and gale have been defined by a scientist named Francis Beaufort?  He created a scale that classifies winds by their speed.  Wind is measured in knots, a measure of distance / time and can also be shown as miles per hour or kilometers per hour.  Here are a few of the Beaufort Scale classifications:

  • Calm (< 1 mph)
  • Light Breeze (4-7 mph)
  • Fresh Breeze (18-24 mph)
  • High Wind (31-38 mph)
  • Gale (39-46 mph)
  • Storm (55-63 mph)
  • Hurricane (≥ 74 mph)

Now that we’re all wind smart, it’s time to play!

Wind  Arts and Crafts

wind arts crafts left brain craft brain

Kite Fun

kite collage left brain craft brain

Wind Science and Engineering

wind science left brain craft brain

Wind Motor Skills Activities

wind motor skills left brain craft brain

Read About Wind

wind books left brain craft brain

  • One Windy Day by Tammi Salzano {affiliate} tells a silly story about a foxy mail carrier whose mail blows away.
  • The Boy Who Harnassed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer {affiliate} is an inspiring tale of an inventive boy from Malawi who uses wind to bring electricity to his village.
  • Figure out which nose belongs to who in Windblown by Edouard Manceau {affiliate} by Edouard Manceau.  Boy Mama Teacher Mama has a great craft to go along with the book.
  • The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins {affiliate} by tells the fun story of how the wind blew so hard it blew everything away.
  • The most important reading about wind you can do is information on winds that come with weather events like tornadoes and hurricanes.  Ready.gov has some great information to help you and your family be prepared.

What Why How Left Brain Craft BrainWhat? Why? How? Answers For Curious Kids

Did you like learning the how’s and why’s of wind?  Check out the Left Brain Craft Brain What? How? Why? page for more answers for curious kids.


18 thoughts on “What Makes the Wind Blow? 25 Learn About Wind Activities”

  1. Wow! So many great ideas! I love the science experiments and all of those fun kite activities :) Flying kites is one of my 3 year old’s favorite things to do outside.

    1. leftbraincraftbrain

      Thanks Amber! We just went out and flew kites again today. My 3 1/2 year old can’t get enough of it!

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