Space & Astronomy Gifts for Kids & Aspiring Astronomers

15 Space & Astronomy Gifts for Kids & Aspiring Astronomers

One of the best ways to nourish a child’s curiosity and imagination is to give them gifts related to their interests. If your son or daughter is obsessed with space, there are plenty of cool and educational astronomy gifts to help inspire them. We’ve gathered space gifts perfect for a variety of ages, whether they like science fiction or dream of one day blasting off themselves. If you want to get your kid interested in science and astronomy there are lots of cool options. The gifts are perfect for children who dream of being an astronomer, an astronaut, or any child obsessed with space.

1. MaxUSee Kids Telescope

One of the best gifts for child aspiring astronomers is a telescope of their own. This one is made especially for kids and is very affordable. This easy to use telescope comes with two lenses and a finder scope which makes it easier to locate objects in the sky. It also includes a moon mirror, which makes it easier to see a full moon without glare. Perfect for backyard viewing or portable enough to take to the park.

Recommended Age: 5 years and up

2. 50 Things To See With A Telescope Book

To help guide your child’s observations, this book makes a great telescope companion. “50 Things To See With A Telescope – Kids: A Constellation Focused Approach” is the perfect introduction to observing the sky for children. It not only covers the basics of telescope use, but also guides how to find 50 different stars, planets, and more in the sky.

Recommended Age: 7 to 12 years

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How to keep your apartment or house cool during summer without air conditioning

Summertime can be pretty hard without air conditioning. But we’ve got several tips to help keep your home cool during summer even without A/C. Alternatives to air conditioning can range from simple fans up to lifestyle choices to help you keep your house or apartment cool in summer without A/C.

10 Tips: How to keep a house or apartment cold during summer without air conditioning

Each of these tricks to keep a home cool in summer may be useful by themselves but you may get more mileage if you combine different techniques at the same time.

1. Close your blinds, shades or curtains

A tremendous amount of heat can enter an apartment or house through its windows in summer. By closing your blinds or curtains or shades in the morning before things get hot, and keeping them closed during the day until things cool off, you can typically lower the temperature in your house by several degrees. This is even a good cost saving strategy for those with air conditioning because keeping your curtains closed will reduce the amount of work that your A/C unit has to do to keep the temperature cool.

Tip: If your curtains still let a lot of light in, or if your shades are not particularly light-proof, you may want to consider investing in lightproof blackout curtains or another way to make all your rooms aren’t letting light in.

2. Check your doors for maximum efficiency

Door air gaps like this one can let hot air in, or cold air out during summer.

Check your doors that open to the outside world to see if they are sealing properly to prevent heat from coming in. Consider adding a weatherproofing strip if the seal seems to be letting a lot of heat in, particularly at the bottom of the door where it meets the floor. Weather stripping will also help protect your home from cold in the wintertime too.

Tip: Closing doors to rooms that you don’t go into often can also help insulate your home from the summer heat.

3. Stay hydrated

Although this won’t lower the temperature in your apartment or house, staying hydrated is crucial in summertime – especially if your home lacks A/C.

4. Use seasonal bedding

Flannel sheets are appropriate for winter but smooth cotton or silk sheets can make sleeping much easier in summertime. Old or worn sheets can also be hotter in summertime than newer ones. Be sure that you’re using the right kind of sheets for summer.

5. Spend more time on lower floors or in the basement

You’ve probably heard the expression that heat rises, and it’s true. If you have a two story house, your upper level will be hotter than downstairs (and if you have an attic it’ll be quite hot compared to downstairs because heat rises and gets trapped up there). If you have a home with a basement, consider spending more time down there in summer because it’ll be several degrees cooler than the rest of your home.

If you live on the top floor of a three story apartment building, you might not have ways to get away from the heat at home, but you can always spend more time outside your home in air conditioned public places like libraries.

6. Use a window fan to suck hot air out

This may seem counterintuitive, but using a fan to suck air out the home and push it back into the world outside can help keep your home from getting too hot during summer. While positioning a fan to blow the hot air from outside into your home can actually heat up your apartment or house (even though it provides a breeze) it may not be as efficient as pushing the hot air out. You can also use a box fan or window fan to help suck air out a window.

Tip: Different homes are different and this may depend on factors like how much shade the window gets, so experimenting with both approaches is worth trying. Using a rectangular window fan unit with a reversible air direction switch will let you experiment with which direction to blow air. It can also let you easily suck in some cool air once the temperature drops at night.

7. Try to provide shade on your windows

If you live in a house, you may be able to plant trees or shrubs that will provide shade to your windows which can help cool your home without air conditioning during summer. Alternatively, some people install awnings on top of their windows to help shield them from sunlight from above (and thus heat).

8. Place an oscillating room fan in the corner of a room

Not every room has a ceiling fan, and installing one can be expensive and complicated, even if you own your own house. Using a rotating fan can help distribute the air in a room to create a breeze indoors. Modern oscillating fans have different modes and some even have remote controls that are miles better than the old fan you may remember from springtime classes in an elementary school that didn’t have air conditioning.

9. Open windows or doors on opposite sides of your home

In the days before air conditioning existed, it was common for farmhouses to be designed with a central corridor of windows or doors on opposite sides which could be opened to let air flow throughout the house to cool it down in summer. By opening two doors or windows (each on opposite sides of the home from the other), you can allow a breeze to run through your house or apartment.

This is also the “low tech air conditioning” method you may remember from road trips in a car without A/C as a child. Your parents may have opened one window in the front of the car and another window on the opposite side of the car in the back of the car to create a cross-breeze. Of course, it’s also possible that this can let more heat in and some houses aren’t designed with this summer cooling technique in mind.

Tip: Open your windows at night when the air is cooler to let in fresh air during the night, then close your windows during the day once it gets hot outside.

10. Get an air conditioning window unit or evaporative air cooler

Central air conditioning can cost $10,000-$20,000 or more to install in a house depending on whether the home has a duct system already exists for heating purposes. But installing a window mounted air conditioning unit can be a less expensive and incredibly effect way at cooling a room or part of a home. Today’s window mounted A/C units can cost as little as a few hundred dollars.

Evaporative air coolers are not A/C units and they don’t have to be mounted in windows but they can mimic some of the refreshing cooling effects of air conditioning under some circumstances. They often have a water tank which you can fill with water or ice which then gets blown into the room similar to how cool breezes can form on the surface of a lake. Evaporative air coolers come in a range of sizes and shapes and some have wheels that can be moved from room to room to cool you while you’re sleeping or during the day in a living room area.

Frequently asked questions about cooling a home without air conditioning

Which direction should I run a ceiling fan to stay cool without airconditioning? Modern ceiling fans can run either forwards (counter-clockwise) as well as backwards (clockwise). In summertime when you want to push air down on yourself so you’re cooled. But in wintertime you’ll want to run your fan backwards which will suck hot air up as it rises, and push it down the walls to warm you again.

Are there certain appliances I shouldn’t use in summertime to make my home colder? One basic way for how to keep a house cool in summer is to hold off on running dryers or stoves and ovens until the sun goes down. Air drying your clothes on a rack can also avoid running the dryer entirely which can keep your home cooler in summertime. Ironing clothes may also contribute heat to your apartment or house, so it’s best to do that at night when it’s not as hot outside. Make sure you also turn off the lights in rooms you’re not using.

Any other tips to stay cool without A/C in the summer? Preparing cool foods will not only keep you from using the stove or oven, but it may also help make a hot summer bearable. Look for cool food recipes on websites like Food Gawker or invest in a summer cookbook. Grilling food outdoors can also eschew using your oven or stovetop so that’s another way to keep your home cool.

Related tips for keeping cool in summer:
How to Keep Your Rabbit Cool in Hot Weather
How to Keep a Chinchilla Cool in Hot Weather

15 Gift Ideas For Weather Enthusiasts & Weather Geeks

weather enthusiast gift ideas for weather geeks

Are you looking for the perfect weather themed gift for the weather nerd in your life? We’ve got some ideas for weather-related gifts whether you’re shopping for a storm-chaser, weather nerd, bad weather lover or just a dad who’s obsessed with checking the meteorological forecast.

Weather Geek Gift Ideas

1. I Love Rain T-shirt

I Love Rain T-Shirt

Do you know somebody who loves rain or “bad” weather? This shirt is the perfect gift for anyone who can’t wait to run out and jump in puddles after a rainstorm. Or for those kids who refuse to come in and want to dance in the rain (or, really, a person who loves bad weather of all ages). With a cute illustration of an umbrella and raindrops, this t-shirt proclaims: I love rain!

With adult and youth sizes, this is perfect for kids of any age who enjoy a good summertime thunderstorm. Get it as a gift for aspiring meteorologists, storm chasers, and weather enthusiasts. This shirt makes a great gift for people who aren’t disappointed by rain and like storms!

Available in navy & royal blue.

2. RunningSnail Solar Crank NOAA Weather Radio For Emergency

Here’s another weather gift idea to consider getting someone: a weather alert radio. This radio for weather notifications receives warnings on 7 NOAA weather channels and also receives AM and FM radio. It also has a built-in flashlight and LED reading lamp and is waterproofed enough to work outdoors during rainy weather, making it a great all purpose and weather radio for camping trips.

Plus, it can be charged with USB power from a computer or USB power brick (like a cell phone charger), or AAA batteries or a hand crank or solar power with its built-in solar panel for use outdoors! The built-in solar panel is also adjustable so you can set an appropriate angle for use. This alone makes it one of the best emergency weather radio for preppers or weather enthusiasts, or that dad who always wants to be prepared no matter what!

For more information on this type of device, see our separate article on the best weather alert radios.

3. Weather Necklace

Weather Necklace Gift Idea

This is more of a romantic gift for if your special someone is interest in weather. These minimalist engraved pendants are classy and whimsical. Your choice of sun, snowflake, clouds, lightning bolt, and umbrella.

Available in silver, gold, and rose gold. Makes a lovely gift for a birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day.

4. Storm Chaser Street Sign

Here’s a whimsical weather nerd gift: a street sign that reads “Storm Chaser St.” It comes in a variety of sizes ranging from a small decal sticker for a laptop all the way up to a life-size 3 foot novelty plastic sign! Just like real street signs, this one is green with white lettering and a white stripe around the edges. For mounting purposes, this street sign has pre-cut holes to hang it with (supply your own nails, however). This sign makes for a unique weather-related gift.

5. KidzLabs Weather Lab Science Kit

Here’s a weather enthusiast gift for the smallest type of enthusiast: children! This weather station for kids can measure rainfall, temperature and wind speed in your backyard. It also teaches kids who are interested in weather about climate change, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, the water cycle and much more. This weather kit is a great science gift for kids. You can even grow “storm clouds” in the palm of your hand! Also includes a weather journal for your child to record the conditions in their area.

Age recommendation: 8-15

For more weather gifts for kids, see our related article: 12 Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists.

6. AcuRite 01512 Wireless Weather Station

Any list of weather gifts for enthusiasts would be incomplete without a personal weather station! If you’ve got a serious weather enthusiast on your gift list, you might consider getting them one of these units. A weather station is in some ways one of the ultimate weather forecast gifts that you can give: it generates a personalized hyperlocal weather forecast for your area. Weather stations are especially useful for people who live in microclimates or in rural areas or places where the weather forecast is often inaccurate, either because of topography (mountains), bodes of water (lake effect/ocean effect), or other reasons. This particular weather station has an instrument unit that you can mount outdoors and a wireless display unit which you can keep inside.

This weather station will generate a forecast as well as measure temperature humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction, plus barometric pressure. The easy to read color display provides all that information and can stretch as far as 330 feet (100 meters) away from the instrument unit, although in most cases you’ll have the best reception if you mount it about 100 feet away with a relatively clear line of sight to the instrument unit.

For more personal weather stations, see our related article: What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?

7. Set of 4 Meteorology Patent Prints

This set of weather nerd gifts are handsome prints of artistic meteorology patents that depict four instruments from 1879 to 1962. There is a patent for a cup anemometer, a patent for a special type of weathervane, a patent for a type of dial used on barometers, and an obscure instrument designed by a civil war officer in the 19th century to help farmers predict the weather. What a nice type of simple but handsome weather art. These prints measure 8 inches wide by 10 inches tall.

Note that this set of four patent prints does not come with frames, so if you’re giving them as a weather forecast gift, you might want to pair them with a set of 4 appropriately sized picture frames so they’ll be ready to hang immediately.

8. Galileo Thermometer & Analog Weather Station

Here’s another one of those really unique weather-related gifts: an analog weather station with a Galileo thermometer. This type of thermometer was invented by Galileo Galilei in the 1600s and is made up of various spheres of different liquids floating gracefully based on the temperature.

To “read” the temperature using the color liquid balls, just look at the tag on the lowest floating colored sphere (those spheres that are touching the ground do not count). The tag on the lowest floating sphere will correspond roughly with whatever temperature it is currently. This instrument is a very attractive retro style weather themed gift. It also includes a handsome interface of three old fashioned dials showing the time, plus a barometer and hygrometer, with which you can formulate your own rough weather forecasts (hygrometers measure humidity and barometers measure changes in atmospheric pressure).

9. Weathervane

You don’t have to have a farmhouse to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of a weathervane. Used now mostly for their decorative appeal, weathervanes are a functional way to measure wind direction while enhancing the beauty of a home, shed, or gazebo. They’re easy to mount on a roof and come in a variety of styles to match different interests and decorating sensibilities.

Look for a weathervane made of durable metals like copper. Then find a design that will suit the person you’re shopping for whether it’s a traditional rooster, other birds, or even mythical creatures like mermaids.

10. Storm Glass Weather Predictor

This is the kind of weather gift that’s so unique and interesting that it makes a fun present for anyone. More than just a beautiful minimalistic art piece, this is a weather predictor. Inside the tear drop shaped glass is a special chemical that stransforms depending on the weather. Originally popularized in the 17th century, we have more advanced weather tracking abilities, but the novelty makes it a cool gift.

Based on the appearance, this storm glass can predict sunny weather, cloudiness, storms, and even snow. Looks beautiful displayed on an office desk, bookcase, or mantle.

Available in three sizes.

11. The Man Who Caught the Storm Book

If your loved one is fascinated with extreme weather or an aspiring storm chaser, they will enjoy this thrilling book. The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samara by Brantley Hargrove covers the life of Samara and his adventures chasing tornados. While he never finished college, Samara was a prominent engineer who also enjoyed chasing twisters and helping to learn more about these powerful storms. He was a groundbreaker in researching and documenting tornadoes. This book makes a great gift for any weather enthusiasts.

12. Ambient Weather WM-4 Handheld Weather Station

If your loved one is interested in storm chasing or spends a lot of time outdoors, they’ll really appreciate this gift. More than just a portable anemometer, this Ambient Weather station measures windspeed, wind direction, temperature, relative humidity, and compass direction. Even better, it calculates other stats like wind gust, dew points, wind chill, and even heat index. Any weather nerd will be thrilled to receive this gift.

Uses one coin style Lithium battery (included).

Measures: 5.5 inches long x 1.75 inches wide x 0.75 inches thick
Weighs: 181g / 0.4 lbs

13. I Am Cirrus About Weather Mug

I Am Cirrus About Weather Mug Gift

This hilarious rug will have weather nerds laughing everytime they enjoy their morning coffee. A play on the phrase “I am serious about weather,” it substitutes the cloud “cirrus.”

Include some of your loved one’s favorite coffee or tea to create a gift bag they’ll really enjoy.

14. Balsam Barometer Weather Stick

This a must-have gift for weather lovers. What looks like a simple stick, this actually tells the weather! Made from balsam wood, it reacts to barometric pressure, so it points up when the weather is good and droops when the weather is bad. It seems like a gag gift, but this simple stick actually works!

15. Rain Cloud Earrings

Rain Cloud Earrings Weather Gift

A super cute gift for meteorologists and science teachers. These dangly earrings feature acrylic storm clouds with bright blue raindrops dangling. Handmade and completely unique, it will delight anyone who loves a cozy rainy day.

Looking for more gift ideas? Check out these weather gift ideas for kids & aspiring meteorologists and unusual gifts for gardeners.

How to get kids interested in STEM and curious about science

Getting your kids interested in science is very important. Today there is a shortage of people going into STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). But beyond possible career directions, developing an active curiosity and interest in science can yield all sorts of benefits for children. It can lead to them becoming better critical thinkers and rational adults later on. Because of under-representation issues, these days many parents are also wondering how do you get girls interested in science or STEM careers? And how do you get kids interested in STEM or science more generally?

In this article we’re going to list several ideas you can try to ignite an interest in science and STEM.

Tips to get children interested in science

The example ages listed below are suggestions but the age-appropriateness of each activity will differ with each child. Let’s begin!

Give your kids STEM toys and science kits (Age 3+)

For children of all ages, play is a great way to learn and develop interests. If you’d like your child to become interested in science, you probably aren’t buying them a bunch of princess toys to begin with. Buying STEM aligned toys might take many forms, from explicitly science oriented toys to buying toys that require them to use their brains.

Here are some examples of several different types of STEM toys for kids:

Legos: Although you can build Legos according to the kit instructions, free-play and free-building can help to develop an interest in engineering or just learning how to put things together in creative ways. Browse Lego kits for different ages here.

Science kits: From DIY solar powered model car kits to model rockets that blast off, to robotics kits to weather kits, there’s all sorts of age-appropriate science kits for kids out there. For more ideas, see our companion articles : 12 Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists and Space and astronomy gifts for kids.

Related: Browse STEM toys.

Take your kids to science museums and other science experiences (Age 5+)

Science museums are often geared towards children with a wide range of age-appropriate exhibits and experiences. A family trip to your local science museum (or any science museums that are nearby when you’re traveling as a family) can be a wonderful experience for a child.

Beyond formal science museums, there are other types of science experiences that children can gain from. A trip to an observatory or planetarium can spark an interest in space for kids. Even a walk in the woods at different times of year accompanied by a conversation about the seasons changing can be interesting to children.

If your child is young, there are also lots of easy home science experiments you can look up on YouTube to do with them.

Give your kid books that have scientists as characters (Age 7+)

Depending on the age of your child, getting them a science-related book from the library or as a gift can be a great way to increase their interest in science. Check out this terrific list of science-themed books from the American Library Association. It’s sorted both by age and science topics from chemistry and physics to earth sciences, weather, medicine, animals and the environment.

Browse Best Sellers in Children’s Science & Nature Books

Watch movies that have science-related plots as a family (Age 10+)

No matter the age of your child, there are all kinds of movies available that you can watch as a family. When movies have scientists as heroes they can increase your kid’s interest in science fields and STEM topics in general. And–crucially– you don’t want to stop at just watching the film. Discussing the movies after you’ve seen them as a family helps to boost children’s interest too. Talk about what your favorite parts of the movie were, what characters were your favorites, whether they seemed realistic or not and so forth. If a film is based on a true story, you can look up more information about the events or concepts or characters online at a place like Wikipedia together.

Movies like The Martian, Apollo 13, and Hidden Figures are great space movies for instance. Browse more science themed movies for kids. Science or nature documentaries and educational programming on PBS are also great possibilities.

Engage your kids in discussion about science-related news (Various ages)

Have you read any interesting articles about science topics lately? Do you watch the evening news as a family? You can start discussions about science-related news. Whenever your child asks you a question that’s science related (“Why is the sky blue?” “How do cars work?” etc) look up the answer online together and figure it out. This leads kids to understand how to answer questions for themselves and can also lead to a discussion of how things work.

You can start these conversations yourself too: wonder out loud how something works or ask your kid if they can figure it out or have any ideas. Then look up the answer together and talk about it. Bring it up again later when you see something similar in everyday life. This reminds me of XYZ. Remember when we learned about something similar?

The amount that you need to “dumb down” for your kid will depend on the topic and the age of your child. Don’t be afraid of explaining several different concepts just to explain the original question, however. You never know what a kid will remember or develop an interest in– even if it comes up tangentially.

If your kids are old enough to have a science class in school, ask them what they did today in science and take particular interest in it. Ask questions about what they’re learning about and what activities they’re doing.

You can also listen to science podcasts for kids in the car while you’re driving your children to soccer practice or on errands. Discussing science radio shows or science news can help show your kids even amongst you and your spouse out loud while your child is around can signal that something is interesting.

Gift Ideas For Weather Enthusiasts & Weather Geek Gifts

Space and astronomy gifts for kids

Gardening gifts for kids

Wind Speed and Direction Meters & Wind Direction Gauges

best sailboat wind meter and anemometer for sailing

A century ago, if you wanted to know which direction the wind was blowing, your only choice might be a creaky old weathervane. But today there are several types of wind speed and direction instruments available. In this article we’ve rounded up the best wind direction and speed meters for your consideration. We’re going to list the least complicated and most simple wind direction meters first and then move on to progressively more complex and fully featured wind direction gauges. Let’s get started!

The best wind direction meters

Outdoor Windsock wind direction instrument

This simple windsock is the most basic type of wind direction meter that exists. This airport style wind sock is a large easily visible wind gauge that will make the wind direction very obvious and to anyone looking at it. On the pro side, this sock needs very little setup and is pretty hard to misread and doesn’t require any batteries (though you will need to buy a wind sock pole separately if you don’t already have one). On the other hand, there is the small possibility that the sock might rip, and it doesn’t give you numeric measurements like some of the other wind speed meters in this article. And if the breeze is too light you might not be able to tell that there is a wind blowing at all, because it takes a certain minimum wind speed to elevate the windsock.

Wind Mill Style Weathervane

One step up from a a simple wind sock is a weathervane. When you think of weathervanes you might think of the traditional ornamental weathervanes that you may have seen on top of beautiful old farmhouses. Those weathervanes are wonderful decorations but they aren’t quite as functional because they’re often heavy and the surface area they offer to catch in the wind often isn’t very substantial.

This functional wind mill style weathervane stands 8 feet high (2.44 meters) and has a large and easily visible face with 12 blades and a rear paddle. The blades of the windmill are tipped with colored paint, further increasing their visibility even against gray skies. This wind mill kit comes with everything you need to set it up in your yard. Available in green and yellow or gray and red. Pros: Easy to operate, easily visible from far away, doesn’t require batteries, looks nice (if you like the windmill tower look). Cons: Doesn’t give exact speed measurements, is quite large.

Ambient Weather WM-4 Handheld Weather Station

The Ambient Weather WM-4 handheld wind speed and direction meter is a great little device that you can carry with you in your pocket. It measures wind direction using a digital compass that can give you precise wind direction in degrees and compass points. And it does more than that: for this anemometer, wind direction is only the beginning. It also measures wind speed, temperature, dew point, crosswind and tail wind, and much more.

Pros: Offers precise digital measurements of wind direction, compact handheld form factor for travel anemometer use

Cons: Slight learning curve. Requires batteries, although the included replaceable battery often lasts for years at a time

Related: The Best Portable Anemometers & Portable Weather Meters

Ambient Weather WS-12 Wireless Weather Station

Here is another instrument that measures wind speed and direction. This personal weather station can be mounted outdoors and collects several types of data. It’s a wind speed and direction meter for starters, but it also collects temperature information, dew point, humidity (allowing for the calculation of a “feels like” temperature) and much more. The weather station monitoring unit is solar powered. It also comes with a backlit wireless readout screen unit that works up to 300 feet away from the actual outdoor instruments, and even includes a rain gauge. It can also be used as an alarm clock.

Pros: Solar powered wireless weather station, affordable price, multi-featured instrument system

Cons: Not portable, must be mounted somewhere outside

Related: What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?

Frequently asked questions about wind speed and direction instruments

What is an anemometer?

An anemometer is a wind speed meter. For more about anemometers, how they work and when they were invented, see our article: What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

What are wind direction meters used for?

There are many different uses for wind direction and speed meters. A person might want to know the precise wind direction before they fly a model aircraft or a farmer might use wind speed and direction instruments to figure out when it’s safe to spray pesticides. Or a person might want a mountable wind direction gauge for sailing.

What is an instrument that measures wind speed and direction called?

“Wind direction gauge” or “wind direction meter” are two common terms for these devices. More broadly speaking wind speed meters are called anemometers, and wind direction is often an extra function of sophisticated anemometers.

How do wind direction gauges work?

Very simple wind direction meters like wind socks or wind vanes rely on the wind moving the instrument phyiscally in the direction of the gust. Anemometers that function as wind speed and direction meters (such as handheld wind speed and direction meters) will sometimes have a small flag or vane that rotates combined with a digital compass to read out exactly what the wind direction is.

Besides being a wind direction and speed meter, what else do anemometers measure?

Anemometers often measure much more than just wind speed and direction. Some sophisticated anemometers can also measure temperature, humidity, dewpoint, and even come up with forecasts for what the weather will be like. These complex instruments are sometimes called personal weather stations (they will sometimes be mounted in a person’s backyard because they live in a microclimate where official weather forecasts aren’t very accurate). Anemometers or wind speed meters also commonly will keep track of data like the maximum wind gust speed, and they may also be able to translate these speeds into various units of measurement such as miles per hour, meters per second, knots per hour, etc.

The best anemometers for kids (kids anemometer info & how to guides)

Anemometers or wind speed meters are terrific tools for teaching science to kids because they are easy to understand even from young ages. Everyone who has experience windy days and less windy days is familiar with the concept of fast wind vs a slow breeze no matter their age. And, it stands to reason, that there ought to be a way to measure the speed of wind, right? By equipping a young person with an anemometer they’re in the driver’s seat to answer that question themselves. Science can often be abstract but with an anemometer kids can experience it in a hands on way.

In this article we’re going to be suggesting some of the best anemometer kits for kids as well as exploring some related topics like making an anemometer themselves. If you’re only interested in our recommendations, you can skip straight down to the recommended products section.

What is an anemometer for kids?

An anemometer is a wind speed meter. Many basic anemometers measure the speed of wind by counting how fast a set of wind cups or wind blades move in a circle. The wind speed is then translated into a speed of miles per hour or some other unit of measurement. (Related article: What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?)

How does an anemometer work for kids?

Different wind speed meters (“anemometers”) work differently. The most simple type of anemometer is a rotating cup anemometer which works pretty much how you’d expect. It typically features two or three or four wind cups and it spins in the direction that the wind is blowing. By counting the number of rotations in, say, a minute, we can calculate the speed of the wind.

Other anemometers use wind blades inside a fan type enclosure (these are often called vane anemometers). Still other anemometers measure the speed of the wind by calculating how long it takes to cool down a heated wire (unsurprisingly these are called hot wire anemometers). Another advanced type of anemometer is an ultrasonic anemometer which measures how fast sound pulses move through air. A wind sock isn’t quite an anemometer but it is another simple method of roughly measuring wind speed and direction.

For most science classroom or children’s usage, cup and vane anemometers are the most common type, with cup anemometers being especially common. (Related article: The Best Cup Anemometers & How Wind Cups Work)

How to make an anemometer for kids

Making a do-it-yourself cup anemometer is a great science activity for kids. You can even create a simple but functional anemometer out of common household items like a pencil, straws, a pin and paper dixie cups. Watch the following how-to video or read our comprehensive guide How to make a cup anemometer for kids (DIY paper cup anemometer) – Video.

Related article: Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists

What are the best kids anemometers?

Eisco Labs Small Anemometer

If you’re looking for a basic anemometer kids will understand, this is it. It consists of four wind cups which are mounted on a stem that spins in the wind. The faster the wind blows, the faster the cups rotate. One of the wind cups is red which makes it easier to count as it spins (the number of rotations per minute will allow you to calculate the wind speed). This is a great science classroom anemometer or for home use if you don’t want to make your own anemometer out of paper cups.

Didax Educational Resources Anemometer for Grades K-12

This is a basic handheld wind cup kids anemometer. As the wind gets faster, the spinning cups start to rise, which elevates the reading bar on the stem of the device. It won’t produce very exact results of course but it’s a simple anemometer for kids that doesn’t require the user to count the number of revolutions per minute, instead relying on the built-in wind speed gauge. This cup anemometer also does not require batteries — another plus.

SmartLab You Track It Weather Lab

This is a weather science kit for kids ages 7 and up. It includes an anemometer with speed gauge, a rain gauge, a weather vane, a compass and color booklet with additional information about extreme weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, high heat, lightning, thunder and more. (You may also want to consider this alternative weather station kit for kids which features a cup anemometer that must be manually counted along with some other features.)

Handheld mini anemometer

This bright yellow battery powered vane anemometer features a simple, easy to read screen that measures wind speed in a variety of units (miles per hour, knots, feet per minute, meters per second, kilometers per hour). It also has a handy wrist strap and options for displaying the current wind speed, average wind speed, and peak wind speeds. This anemometer for kids even has a built in thermometer too. The backlit screen allows it to be used at night. Powered by a single CR2032 “coin style” battery (included and replacable). This anemometer is great for sailing, kite flying and more.

Frequently asked questions about kids anemometers

What are the pros and cons of building an anemometer with kids vs using a pre-assembled anemometer kit?

DIY cup anemometer projects where you build anemometers out of paper cups can be a great project that involves kids directly in the building process. At the same time, they won’t be terribly accurate and it may be hard to know how to translate the number of cup rotations per minute into the speed of wind in miles per hour or other units of measurement.

What is the right age to start using anemometers with kids?

The youngest age recomended by a product in this article is 7 years old for the toy weather kits. However to make paper cup anemometers the minimum suggested age is 8 or 9 years old (third or fourth grade). There is no maximum age for anemomters although the complexity of the work you can do with it depends on age. Anemometers are used in middle school projects commonly.

What can a child or student learn from using an anemometer?

With anemometers kids can explore numerous subjects including:

– Weather science
– Instrument use
– Mechanical ability (if doing a build it yourself anemometer project)
– Math and formulas (in the case of simple cup anemometers with manually counted/calculated wind speed)
– Discussion of wind power and clean energy

The best sailboat wind direction indicators, sailing wind speed meters & sailing anemometers

best sailboat wind meter and anemometer for sailing

If you’re a sailing enthusiast you probably are no stranger needing accurate wind speed and direction information. There are a slew of wind meters available today for just about every need: from handheld anemometers (wind speed meters), to sailboat mounted wind direction indicators and more. In this article we’re going to do a roundup of the best wind meters for sailing, windvanes for sailboats, the best anemometers for sailing, and more.

The best wind direction meters for sailing

WeatherHawk SM-18 SkyMate Hand-Held Wind Meter, Yellow

This floating anemometer is one of the best wind speed meters for sailing. It can measure wind speeds ranging from 0.5 miles per hour all the way up to 99MPH at user-selectable intervals of every five seconds, ten or 13 seconds (in addition to calculating the average windspeed, and tracking peak speed for you). Plus it can also measure wind temperature and windchill in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. One other nice feature about this sailboat anemometer is that it it comes with a durable build and a bright yellow flip-shield. Naturally it’s also water-resistant so if it falls into the water you’ll be able to easily spot it floating. Also comes with a loop for a lanyard or wrist strap if desired. A belt sheath is also available for this product.

For more handheld anemometers, see our full article: The Best Portable Anemometers & Portable Weather Meters.

Cape Cod Wind Speed Indicator for Sailboats

Cape Cod Wind & Weather instruments have been a staple of sailors since the company was founded in 1939. With an emphasis on quality American-made wind speed indicators, these gauges are built to last.

This wind speed indicator for sailing can mount on your sailboat either vertically or horizontally and it comes with a spinning cup wheel which can be mounted wherever you like (the supplied cable is 50 feet long and comes with a mounting bracket and screws). For wireless anemometers, see our related article: What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?

For decades Cape Cod Wind & Weather has supplied sailors with reliable real time sailboat wind direction indicators, and this wind speed meter for sailing is no exception.

This unit measures wind speed from zero to 100 miles per hour and comes with a ten year limited warranty. Pairs well with Cape Cod’s Wind Direction Indicator which matches with a lighted dial interface for wind direction metering.

Davis Instruments Windex 15 Suspension Bearing

This weather vane for sailboats mounts on your masthead through bolts or a tap and it provides an easy to read wind direction indicator. It’s one of the most popular sailing windvanes on the market and this particular Davis Windex model is intended for medium to larger boats (the vane itself is 15 inches long; a smaller model exists for smaller boats). This model has what Davis calls a bird-proof spike to keep seagulls from trying to land on the instrument while you’re sailing. The vane itself features tabs that reflect in order to remain visible at night or in dark conditions.

Davis Instruments Spar-Fly Wind Indicator for Yachts and Dinghies

This compact sailboat wind direction indicator comes in a bright red color and has both a top and side mounting option. It measures 15 inches long, is highly visible and weighs an astonishing 1.25oz for a highly responsive level of accuracy even in light wind conditions. The Spar Fly sailing wind vane is intended for sailing dinghies or small yachts and has great reviews.

Raymarine i60 Wind System with Masthead Instrument

The Raymarine i60 Wind System comes measures wind speed and direction as well as a slew of other readings with an easy to read digital-dial hybrid display and a masthead mounted instrument. It comes mounting gear and a 100 foot long (30 meter long) cable to connect the wind meter to the display. This is one of the best anemometers for sailing. Can measure wind speed/direction, maximum wind speed (peak), Beaufort scale, Tack and VMG. Plus it has a red backlight for dark conditions.

Frequently asked questions about windvanes for sailboats & the best anemometers for sailing

What features should I look for when shopping for a wind meter for sailing?

The best wind meters for are often mounted anemometers made specifically for boating which have a display you can attach to your console. We have a few such wind speed meters for sailboats listed in this article, above.

Handheld anemometers for sailing usually float, are brightly colored and are waterproof in case they fall into the water. They may also contain temperature gauges and loops for wriststraps or lanyards.

No matter the type of anemometer you choose, a large easy to read at a glance display is also especially useful for sailing anemometers.

What is an anemometer?

An anemometer is simply a wind speed meter. Some anemometers have digital displays, others have dial displays. The most sophisticated anemometers can also measure a variety of other metrics like temperature, dew point, humidity, barometric pressure and so forth. Advanced anemometers can even give a personalized weather forecast for any location (especially useful if you’re using an anemometer in a spot where there isn’t a reliable weather forecast). Anemometers for sailing are useful because they give a clear an accurate reading of wind speed and direction. For more information about what anemometers are, read our related article: What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

14 Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists

Science & Weather Gift Ideas for Kids & Aspiring Meteorologists

Encouraging children and young people to be interested in science can yield all sorts of rewards later on in life. One way to promote an interest in scientific and technical fields is to give STEM gifts for kids (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Weather-related gifts can be especially accessible for children because weather is immersive and experiential– they see what the weather is like every day (it’s not an abstract concept).

We’ve rounded up some of the best gifts for kids who are interested in weather below:

Great science & weather gift ideas for children

1. KidzLabs Tornado Maker Science Kit

Here’s a great science gift for kids: a tornado simulator! This weather kit allows children to simulate tornados to learn about how vortexes work using water and a recycled bottle. Kids can put the kit together themselves (with adult supervision) and then run a “tornado experiment” which will wow family and friends.

Battery powered (2 AAs not included). Requires a Phillips head screwdriver to assemble.

Age recommendation: 8 years and up

Related article: How to get kids interested in STEM and curious about science

2. Future Meteorologist T-Shirt

This cute and bold “future meteorologist” shirt comes in both youth sizes and adult (men’s & women’s) and is available in various different colors as well. For a kid that’s super interested in weather, this could be a thoughtful gift (and something they’d love to wear). Support their curiosity about science and weather with this fun t-shirt.

Solid color choices are 100% cotton. Classic fit. Also available as a hoodie.

Age recommendation: All ages (various sizes available)

3. The Everything KIDS’ Weather Book

Written by a TV meteorologist, this weather book for kids explains how hurricanes, tornadoes, rainbows and other weather events work and why they happen. It also answers questions about how weather forecasts are made, includes DIY home experiments, and answers to frequently asked questions about weather phenomena like storms. This educational children’s book about weather also teaches about the difference between various cloud types.

Age recommendation: 7-12 years old

4. 4M Weather Science Kit

This weather station for kids can measure rainfall, temperature and wind speed in your backyard. It also teaches kids who are interested in weather about climate change, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, the water cycle and much more. This weather kit is a great science gift for kids. You can even grow “storm clouds” in the palm of your hand! Also includes a weather journal for your child to record the conditions in their area.

Age recommendation: 8-15

5. Daily Weather Chart

Kids' Daily Weather Chart

Younger weather fans may not be able to use tools to study the weather, but there are other ways for them to learn about the world around them. This weather chart is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are interested in the weather. Each day they can observe the weather from their window or a trip outside and then select the figures that represent the conditions.

The simple felt board is perfect for little hands. The base says “Today is…” and the children can select the weather icon that represents the weather. The figures include a sun, clouds, snow, rainstorm, hot temperature, cold temperature, and wind. As weather conditions change, they can swap out the markers. This is perfect for children who live in climates where you have all different types of weather in a single day.

Age recommendation: 2 years old and up

6. Scientific Explorer Wacky Weird Weather Kit

Here’s another science gift for kids: this kit offers 7 different hands-on experiments children interested in science can do. It includes the ingredients for making your own tornado in a bottle, a blizzard in a test tube, a tidal wave, snow, volcano, and more. Includes an instruction book with information about weather phenomena.

Age recommendation: 12 and up

7. Storm Chaser Mobile Weather Pod

If your child dreams of loading up in a truck and chasing tornados or is otherwise fascinated with storms, this is the perfect toy for them. Made by Backyard Safari Adventures, this mobile weather pod has all the tools you need to introduce your children to the science of storm-tracking. Your kid will learn how to track wind speed and direction with the built-in weather vane and anemometer. There’s also a compass to help track wind direction. The pod also has a rain gauge and a thermometer for tracking real-time weather conditions.

Since this weather pod is portable, it’s great to analyze the weather anywhere, like the park or your own backyard. The kit also comes with a collectible storm chaser patch and a field guide. Requires two AA batteries, not included.

Age recommendation: 5 years old and up

8. Felt Weather Wheel

Felt Weather Wheel - Gifts for Kids

Perfect for preschoolers who are still discovering the joy of weather, this weather wheel helps them observe and categorized weather. Each day they can look out the window and turn the wheel to match the weather they observe. They can even change it if the weather changes.

Handmade from felt, this weather wheel is 5″, the perfect size for little hands. Great for classrooms or home use.

Age recommendation: 2 to 6 years old

(See our related article: the best anemometers for kids)

9. Be Amazing Toys Big Bag Of Science 65 Activities

This science lab experiment kit for kids has dozens of activities in the fields of weather, physics, magnetism, chemistry, geology, biology, and more. It includes a photo book with instructions for each activity and over 30 pieces for the experiments. The parts all fit back into a resealable ziplock bag so everything can be neatly put away after the experimenting is done.

Age recommendation: 9-14

10. The Magic School Bus – Chemistry Lab

Here’s another great STEM gift for kids: a Magic School Bus themed chemistry lab. Kids can do sorts of science experiments and put them away in the school bus-shaped storage box. Includes instructions for each experiment on colorful cards, and all the accessories you need. Your “young scientist” will enjoy more than 50 experiments like measuring pH, making slime or sticky ice, bouncy balls, their own volcano, and more.

Age recommendation: 5-12 years old

11. Learning Resources Weather Center Kit

This weather center is perfect for kids who are ready to learn the specifics of weather measurement. It includes a thermometer to measure temperature, a barometer to measure atmospheric pressure, and a hygrometer to measure humidity. The kit also comes with an activity guide to kickstart their weather learning. Great for home learning or use in the classroom.

Age recommendation: 5+ years old

12. AcuRite 02064 Wireless Weather Station

If you’re looking for a science gift for teenagers, or advanced kids interested in weather, a home weather station might be a great option. This home weather station lives in your backyard or porch and can wirelessly send forecasts to your phone or a color base station inside. Pretty neat, huh? Weather enthusiasts use personal weather stations to offer super-accurate hyper-local weather information for their specific area (often microclimates or houses in between mountains have unusual weather patterns that broad TV weather forecasts don’t accurately reflect).

For more home weather station choices, see our related article What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?.

Age recommendation: Teenagers and up

13. I Love Rain T-Shirt

I Love Rain T-Shirt

This shirt is the perfect gift for anyone who can’t wait to run out and jump in puddles after a rainstorm. Or for those kids who refuse to come in and want to dance in the rain. With a cute illustration of an umbrella and raindrops, this t-shirt proclaims: I love rain!

With adult and youth sizes, this is perfect for kids of any age who enjoy a good summertime thunderstorm. Get it as a gift for aspiring meteorologists, storm chasers, and weather enthusiasts.

Available in navy & royal blue.

14. Storm Chaser Street Sign

A fun weather gift for kids and teens who dream of chasing tornados. This fake street sign says “Storm Chaser Street.” Makes a cool decoration for a dorm room or children’s bedroom.

Comes in four sizes. Made in the USA

Frequently Asked Questions About Gifts for Weather Geeks

Can you recommend a weather book for kids interested in science?

National Geographic’s “Everything Weather” book for kids is a great place to start. It has plenty of great photographs and information about weather phenomena (64 pages long, recommended for ages 8-12). Browse other weather books for kids here.

How important are the age recommendations for these gifts for kids interested in weather?

Many of these science gifts for kids have small parts that can present a choking hazard for children under a certain age so we’d recommend taking the manufacturer’s age recommendations seriously.

Related Articles:

Space and astronomy gifts for kids

Gardening Gifts for Kids

The Best Action Cameras for Kids

Activity Trackers and Pedometers for Kids

Art Gifts for Kids & Aspiring Artists

Fitness Tracking Smartwatches for Kids

Handmade Gifts for Kids

Kids GPS Watches and Locators

Gift Ideas for Aspiring Young Writers

How to get kids interested in STEM and curious about science

Gift Ideas For Weather Enthusiasts & Weather Geek Gifts

The Best Smartphone Anemometers – Wind Meters with iPhone & Android Apps

Anemometers have been around for hundreds of years. They’re extremely useful devices that measure wind speed and sometimes other climate or weather information. Today a new class of wind meter is gaining popularity: smartphone anemometers. Anemometers for smartphones (and anemometer attachments/accessories for smartphones) are useful for both professionals and hobbyist anemometer users. In this article we’re going to run down some of the best wind meters for smartphones.

Our picks for the best wind meter for smartphones

WeatherFlow Wind Meter for Smart Phone

This Android/iPhone anemometer attachment plugs into your headphone port (or Lightning to Headphone adapter in the case of newer iPhones) and provides you with wind data in an app. It measures both the current wind speed and also keeps track of gusts, plus the direction and GPS location. Using the free app you can even share the wind data on social media. Also works on iPads and iPod Touches.

Note: this model also comes in a wireless Bluetooth anemometer version for your smartphone (plus a second Bluetooth version with ballistics information for shooting).

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Powered by your smartphone’s battery
Max wind speed: 125mph / 200kmph / 108 knots

Vaavud Wind Speed Meter with Smartphone App

This is a basic iPhone anemometer/Android anemometer that plugs into your smartphone’s headphone port (it also works on iPads). It doesn’t use any battery power but instead measures wind speed by cleverly calculating the speed of the spinning magnets turning by using your phone’s built in magnetic compass. Note that if you have a newer iPhone or Android phone without a headphone jack, you may want to get a wireless Bluetooth anemometer instead (it will still work, but you’ll have to hold it instead of plugging it in). Comes with a carrying pouch.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: None
Max wind speed: 56mph / 90kmph / 48 knots

Netatmo Wireless Weather Station for iPhone & Android

This iPhone/Android anemometer does not plug into your smartphone but instead can be mounted outdoors as a stationary weather station. It connects to your smartphone or tablet using its special app and gives you information on weather conditions wirelessly from up to about 100 feet away. (It even can connect to an Amazon Echo device for voice readsouts of weather conditions, if you have one.)

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Yes (4 AA batteries)
Max wind speed: 100mph / 160kmph

Vaavud Sleipnir Wind Meter

The Vaavud Sleipnir from the Netherlands is one of the best iPhone anemometers (it works on iPads and Android devices too). This device plugs into your smartphone’s headphone jack (or in the case of the iPhone 7 and above without a headphone jack, it plugs into your Lightning to headphone jack adapter or a stiff Lightning to headphone adapter). It works with the Vaavud smartphone app to measure both wind speed and direction. The data can be added to an online crowd-sourced database and stored in your phone as a log. This smartphone wind meter is extremely popular for sailing.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Powered by your phone’s battery
Max wind speed: 89mph / 144kmph / 78 knots

Skywatch Windoo Wind Speed Accessory for Smartphones

This weather station smartphone accessory plugs into your iPhone or Android device’s headphone jack and gives you a plethora of data. It measures: wind speed, wind chill, dew point, temperature, and barometric pressure and feeds that data into a convenient free multi-platform smartphone app. Since this weather station for iPhone/Android is so small, it has a built in keychain attachment as well as an included but optional wrist strap.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: Powered by your smartphone’s battery
Max wind speed: 93mph / 145kmph / 80 knots

Kestrel Fire Weather Meter Pro

If you’re looking for a professional grade anemometer that works with a smartphone, this might be a good unit to consider. It’s made by Kestrel, the high end anemometer manufacturer and it syncs data with an app on your smartphone or computer. Like other Kestrel wind meters, this one is quite rugged, drop tested, waterproof and it even floats if dropped in water.

The Kestrel Fire Weather Meter Pro is more than just an anemometer accessory for smartphone, it also measures heat stress index, wet bulb temperature, humidity, altitude, temperature, and other weather related measurements. Its backlit screen makes it easy to view both in the dark and outside on sunny days. Comes with a lanyard. Note: if you’re looking for a Bluetooth anemometer for shooting, there is another version of this product with ballistics capabilities. See our companion article: The best wind meters for long range shooting.

Platforms: iPhone, Android
Battery required: 1 Lithium metal battery (included, replaceable)
Max wind speed: 134mph / 216kmph / 116 knots

Frequently asked questions about smartphone wind meters

What are anemometers for Android phone/iPhones used for?

People use smartphone anemometers for a variety of purposes. A person might use an anemometer for sailing, RC flying, windsurfing, kite flying, and any manner of other things. Wind speed meters are also used in various professional applications from HVAC testing (air conditioning/heating) to checking locations for wind farm appropriateness.

How do anemometers for smartphones work?

The phone + app anemometers on this list measure wind speed by calculating the rate that rotating elements spin in the wind. The faster the wind is blowing, the faster the cups or blades will spin. The rotations are counted and the wind speed is calculated as a result.

What’s better: an anemometer that connects to your smartphone physically or a Bluetooth anemometer?

This list includes both types of smartphone wind meters: those that are plugged into headphone jacks and those that connect wirelessly. There are two main differences: first, the Bluetooth models require their own internal battery. Second, the Bluetooth units tend to be more expensive.

There are reasons why a Bluetooth model may be more desirable in some cases however, such as when you want to be separate from the wind metering instrument itself (if you have it mounted on something), or if you have a new smartphone without a headphone jack it can be easier to just get a Bluetooth model than using a Lightning to headphone (or USB-C to headphone) adapter.

What is the absolute best iPhone anemometer attachment?

Naturally, as with anything, people’s preferences vary tremendously. But if you have an iPhone or Android phone with a headphone jack you might want to strongly consider the Vaavud models. If your smartphone doesn’t have a headphone jack, then the WeatherFlow Wind Meter (Bluetooth model) may be the best wind meter for smartphones.

I use a protective case on my smartphone, what do I do if these smartphone anemometer accessories don’t quite plug into it as a result?

This is a common problem among people who have Otterboxes or other chunky smartphone cases with thick protective plastic housings. Luckily you can get both flexible and firm headphone jack extenders which helps you plug in these anemometer smartphone dongles.


What is the Best Handheld Anemometer? Handheld Weather Station Reviews

The best wind meters for long range shooting

What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?

How to Make a Cup Anemometer (DIY Paper Cup Anemometer) – Video

An anemometer measures wind speed and making a DIY anemometer out of cups is a great school science project. In this article, we’re going to give you a step by step guide for how to make an anemometer with cups and straws and answer some questions you might have.

How to Make a Cup Anemometer (DIY Paper Cup Anemometer)

How to build a cup anemometer

This straightforward video shows you how to make an anemometer step by step. Below we’re going to repeat the steps and give you a little more detail on some of them. First, here’s what you will need:

Anemometer Ingredients

How to build an anemometer at home – Step by step guide

Step 1 – Use the sharpened pencil to poke a hole in the bottom of one of your dixie cups or another type of paper cup if you’re using easter egg cups for your DIY anemometer. Then use your hole-punch to punch two sets of 2 holes (four holes total) so that each hole is perpendicular to another hole. One set of holes should be closer to the top rim of the cup, and the other set of aligned holes should be lower down.

how to make anemometer model

Step 2 – Insert the straws into the holes through the cup so they make an X when you look down at the cup from above.

how to make anemometer diagram

Step 3 – Punch one hole into the sides of all four other dixie cups. Make sure each hole is roughly in the same spot on the cup.

how to build anemometer

Step 4 – Thread all four ends of the two straws through the holes in your four dixie cups. Bend the edge of the straw so you can tape or staple it to the other end of the cup.

how to make an anemometer

Step 5 – Your anemometer cups are now all assembled. Make sure that you’ve maintained the same direction for each cup. It should look like this, viewing from above:

how to make anemometer science fair

Step 6 – The cups should twirl in the air easily. To finish your anemometer, place the pencil into your empty plastic soda bottle for a base. You can use stickers or a marker to make an X on one of the four rotating cups which will make counting revolutions easier (it will be obvious how many times the red dot or X has turned around).

How to use your cup anemometer to measure wind speed

Have one person look at a stopwatch to see exactly how long ten seconds is. Use the following chart below to calculate roughly how fast the wind is blowing.

Alternatively you can “calibrate” your anemometer by driving exactly 10 miles per hour and seeing how many times your cups rotate when held out the window. However many revolutions are equivalent to wind blowing 10 miles per hour (assuming there is no additional wind blowing). Obviously you don’t want to be driving and sticking your arm out the window counting anemometer cup revolutions so you’ll need two people for this step.

Alternatives to DIY home-made anemometers

Several educational products are available if you don’t want to built an anemometer from paper cups. Here is an assortment of anemometer kits that you may find useful in your classroom. Click on an image to open the product in a new tab/window and check the price of these weather anemometer kits.

(See our related article: the best anemometers for kids)

Of course if you’re reading this article because you’re interested in how to make anemometer for science project, you’re probably going to have to make one yourself using the DIY method outlined above instead of using a ready-built kit like these.

Frequently asked questions about cup counter anemometers

How does a cup anemometer work?

Cup anemometers are used by professionals to gauge wind speed. Normally anemometers will have built in computers that calculate how many revolutions they make per minute (or every 10 seconds or every 30 seconds, depending on how the computer is set up). The number of times that the wind pushes the cups around in a circle is then translated into the wind speed by the anemometer’s calculator into a unit like miles per hour, meters per second or whatever unit is desired. The more times the cups turn around in a circle, the faster the wind is blowing.

What is the difference between a 3 cup anemometer and a 4 cup anemometer?

Three cup anemometers are similar to four cup anemometers, they just simply have one less wind cup. For the purposes of this article about how to make an easy anemometer, we’re making a four cup model since that’s easier to make. Four cup models are also more common these days than 3 cup or 2 cup anemometers.

What is the cup anemometer working principle?

Cup anemometers feature a rotating array of wind cups that rotate as the wind blows. The faster the wind is blowing, the faster the cups will rotate. By measuring the number of cup rotations within a period of time (for instance within 30 seconds), we can calculate how fast the wind is blowing.

What other types of anemometers are there besides cup anemometers?

While this article is about how to make a kid friendly anemometer out of cups, there are several other types of wind guage instruments. Some examples include: hot wire anemometers (which measure how quickly a heated wire cools down in the breeze), ultrasonic anemometers (which transmit a sound signal to a reciever, measuring wind speed off of how long it takes to send it), and vane anemometers (which work on the cup principle but instead of rotating cups they have flat blades like a fan).

I don’t understand the instructions for how to make anemometer at home

Watch the “how to make anemometer video” at the top of this article for more information about how to build an anemometer out of cups for a school project.

I don’t want to use dixie cups, what else can I use for my homemade DIY anemometer cups?

Here are some ideas for how to make an anemometer with cups– using things other than dixie cups:

  • Colorful plastic egg shells – separated in half
  • Ping pong balls – sawed in half
  • Paper cups or condiment cups
  • Plastic soda bottles – sawed in half

You can also browse some professional anemometer cups for sale.

Terms Defined / Anemometer Vocabulary

Anemometer An anemometer is a device that measures the speed of the wind. Anemometers are used by many professionals who work in the wind energy field as well as meteorologists/weather scientists, hobbyists and others. Different anemometers measure wind speed differently, depending on how they’re designed.

Cup anemometer A cup anemometer is a specific type of anemometer that measure wind speed by counting the number of rotations that a set of cups makes when the wind blows. Cup anemometers can be manual like the types of cup anemometers made of paper cups for science projects, or they can be electronic. Sophisticated cup anemometers can calculate the wind speed in units like miles per hour, meters per second or Knots (a naval unit of measurement for sailing). Simply put, the cup anemometer definition is: a wind speed gauge that uses rotating cups to measure wind speed.

Wind energy Wind energy is power created by the wind blowing.

Windmill A windmill harvests the power of the wind and translates it into energy. Early windmills pumped water or milled grains but today modern wind turbines generate electricity.

Wind farm A wind farm is an array of wind turbines in a windy area that all work together to harvest a large amount of wind power.

Wind/weather vane A weather vane or wind vane is a flat instrument which rotates. Depending on which direction it’s pointing, it will tell you which direction the wind is blowing in.

Related articles:

All about anemometers: what they are, how they’re used & much more

The Best Portable Anemometers & Portable Weather Meters

What is the Best Wireless Anemometer & Wireless Wind Speed Meter?

The Best Cup Anemometers & How Wind Cups Work

What is an Anemometer and What is it Used For?