Make a perfect pinwheel! No tracing or guessing! This activity is fun and also a great way to teach about pattern-making and shapes.
Just print out these patterns I made below on some colorful paper. You can use any kind of paper you want– copy paper, scrapbook paper, or cardstock. If you plan to paint patterns on the paper, it’s best to use cardstock.
These fun shapes will be cute centers for your pinwheels.
Decorate the printouts any way you like. My kids and I chose to paint them, so we used cardstock. You’ll need your printouts, some thumbtacks, craft paint (or crayons or stickers or whatever you want to use to decorate it) and some small-ish dowels. The dowels I used are 3/16″ in diameter and came in a pack of 16 for about a dollar. The thumbtacks were $.88 for a pack of 70. Good deal!
It’s fun to find objects around the house to use as a stencil to decorate your paper. Here I used the end of a marker for the circles, and the dots were created using the end of a pencil eraser. Create a pattern and when it’s dry, turn it over and create a contrasting pattern.
Again, this is a fun way to teach kids about patterns and shapes. You could come up with countless patterns to create and ways to put these together.
When your decorated printouts are finished, just follow the directions on the printout to create the pinwheel. Tape down the corners as you go, it will make it easier. When you are ready to stick the thumbtack in, I found it’s better to cut a hole about the size of a pencil eraser in the pinwheel and the center shape. If the hole is bigger, the pinwheel spins a little better. Also, don’t stick the thumbtack in too far, it needs to have a bit of space for it to spin. I found it best to push the thumbtack through, then turn the pinwheel upside down. Place the dowel on top and use a small hammer to push it into the wood just right.
Another Method for Those Who Are Thumbtack Phobic:
If you’re going to create these with very young children and don’t like the idea of pins, here’s another idea to make it safer for your kids. You’ll need the same supplies as above, but you’ll also need some bendy straws.
A bendy straw fits perfectly over the 3/16″ dowels. Slide it over the dowel and tape around the bottom so it stays in place.
On this one I fluffed the flower shape a little by cutting between each petal and folding the petals up.
Cut the holes in the pinwheel and center shapes, then slide them over the bendy part of the straw.
Cut slits in the end of the straw to make 4 strips.
You can put a button on top and pull the straw strips through to keep everything together. Now it looks like a daffodil.
Last, just put some tape around the straw in the back to hold things in place back there.
Have fun with your pinwheels!