Windmills operate on very simple principles, which make them an easy arts and crafts project for kids. Scout troops can create them in the course of a single meeting, parents can work on them with their children during a slow afternoon and kids can make them on their own with just a little basic safety and oversight. The process itself takes only a few minutes, and requires basic materials that you can find around the house.
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Start with a square piece of paper. You can buy it square or cut household printing paper to fit. Printing paper is usually 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, so you'll need to measure and cut 2 1/2 inches off of the bottom to make it square. Fold the paper diagonally along two corners, forming a triangle. Unfold it and repeat the process using the other two corners. Unfold it again, leaving the paper with two creases forming an "X" through the centre.
When the folds are complete, you need to make some cuts. Cut along each of the creases until you reach 1 inch from the centre of the "X." Measure with a ruler and mark it with a pencil if you need to. You can go a little higher or lower if you wish, depending upon the size of the paper you are using, but don't cut too far or the windmill will fall apart. Pull one half of each of the four corners of the paper to the centre of the "X." The corners should all be uniform--don't pull down the left half of one corner and the right half of another--and you should act with care so you don't crease the folds.
Now you're ready to complete the windmill. Insert a pin carefully through the centre of the paper. It should catch and hold all four of the corners you have bent and then poke out through the back of the paper. You should be able to spin the paper gently while you hold the pin. Stick the pin through the eraser end of an unsharpened pencil. Alternately, you can push it through the end of a thin wooden stick, then put a dab of glue around the hole to hold it in place. When the pin is secure, the windmill will turn when you blow on it or hold it up to a light breeze.
Although adults have a better sense of hand-eye coordination, children can perform most of the these steps themselves, which increases the enjoyment of the project. Have them use safety scissors for the cutting and watch them carefully when the time comes to insert the pin.