Toys Moved By The Wind

Who am I to blow against the wind? *

Don't confuse them with wind-up toys. Yes, most of these toys are also purely mechanical. But they don't have real engines or any complex mechanism. These toys are powered only by the wind. Wind power typically causes some kind of spinning which makes the toy move. Except with kites. They are entirely different matter.

Let's have a look at some cool wind powered toys and see how they work:

Wind turbine science kits

If you are looking for a modern toy, some of these are clearly for you. They'll transform wind energy into electricity in quite understandable way. These toys have adjustable rotors that allow best use of wind with different strength. Even if you blow into the toy you'll produce some electricity. They usually include bunches of scientific experiments you or the kid can make to learn how wind power is used.

One of the best features some of these kits have is to use the wind power for lifting heavy weights. This is achieved only through transformation of mechanical power, without any electric conversion.

I love these kits. But I know you might be here looking for toys that are more old fashioned. So here's one:

The pinwheel


I bet you've made at least a few of these as a kid. And I bet your hands itch to make one even now. That's what I call a really simple mechanical toy. Back when I was a kid you couldn't find these at the store. You had to make them yourself anyway. And here is how you can do this now. (Of course now you can just buy everything.)

Bloody simple, this toy is still educational. It teaches how the straight movement of the wind can be turned into rotating movement of the wheel. Don't people use the same principle in most of their engines? Rotating movement does everything, so once the children understand it, they are ready for understanding the Theory of relativity (OK, almost).

Pinwheels are just simplified versions of what follows:

Windmill toys

Centuries before the modern environmental activists started fighting for better use of wind energy, people used it to flour mill. Nowadays it's hard to see a real windmill anywhere. Although I'd love to have one in our backyard. Whatever, we don't have enough space.

Fortunately there are toys. Some of them are static and look great - just like the real wooden windmills from the past. What I don't like about them is that they don't move. The mechanical ones are better because they really spin. The principle of work is not different than the principle of the pinwheel but these toys are more complex, harder to make yourself, and look better. Don't try to flour mill in them.

Of course not all of these toys should look realistic. Here's one that's fun and easy to make yourself.

Weather vane toys

Even the real weather vanes don't differ much than the weather vane toys. All they do is to show the wind direction. It's a bit of exaggeration to say that they are powered by wind although indeed it moves them. They are nice accessories for your home.

And finally, kites

Maybe the simplest and still the most popular wind powered toys. Kites don't have gears inside but don't underestimate their complexity. The shape, position and aerodynamic of the kites defines how well they'll fly. There's a lot to learn from these centuries old toys.

You can buy all kind of kites with or without frame, with all kinds of drawings on them and all kind of interesting shapes - for example a kite looking like a spaceship. Of course it's more fun to make your kite yourself. Here's a site that contains many good guides on this matter.

Want Some More?

Have a look at this video of wind-powered helicopter. Cool!

*Quote by Paul Simon
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