While a windmill may look like just another fun craft for your munchkin -- looks are deceiving. Sure, he gets to have some fun decorating and folding the paper, but when the project is done, that windmill will give him a little lesson in science and he won't even know that the windmill is sneaking in some learning. What's the science lesson, you ask. It's all about wind power! That little windmill will teach him the basics of wind propulsion and who knows -- maybe even help him develop a lifelong love of science.
Start with a plastic-coated piece of paper (like a plastic microwave rice pouch) or a plain piece of paper if you can't find anything plastic-coated. Cut the paper into a 6-inch square. (You can modify the size for a bigger or smaller windmill, but make sure it's a square.)
Help your little guy fold the paper in half diagonally, press along the fold line and then open it up again. Have him do it again to make another diagonal line.
Get your munchkin to place a penny in the center of the paper and help him trace around the penny. Now you can put the penny in his piggy bank. Take over for a moment and cut along the diagonal lines. Stop at the outline of the penny.
Decorate the windmill. It's his turn to get a little creative. Have him use his markers, stickers and even paints to decorate both sides of the paper.
Fold the four corners of the paper inward to the center and poke a pin through all the layers in the middle. (Let him sit back and relax for a second as you do this part to keep his little fingers away from the pointy end of the pin.)
Remove the eraser from the end of a pencil and slide it onto the pin. Keep sliding until you are almost right up against the paper.
Bend the pin beyond the eraser until it makes about a 90-degree angle. Poke the eraser end of another pencil onto the end of the pin. Now you've got the handle for the windmill and the end of the pin is safely covered.
Tape a piece of ribbon to the top of the pencil, just below the eraser and let your little guy wind it down around the pencil until he reaches the bottom. Tape the ribbon end to the pencil.
Have him give his new windmill a try by blowing on it from the side. You can also take it outside on a windy day and let the wind do the work for him.
Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.