How to make a windwand

When I bring the windwands into Primary, I always have a few children who want to come up and touch them.  “What’s this?” they ask with sparkling eyes.  As we wave the ribbons through a series of complicated patterns, the look of intensity mixed with delight on the faces of the children brings joy to my heart.

Windwands is a post about how to use them.

I have recently been asked to post how to make a windwand, and I promised I would post it here.  There are commercial windwands available, but to get multiple ribbon colors (which the commercial don’t seem to have), here is how you make them. (This page is from a book that Andrea Burgon and I published in 1996.  Wow!  That’s a throwback<grin>.) These are mentioned a lot in my current book, “To Teach a Child a Song.”  Here goes:


make a windwand pattern

I have had my current windwands for over 20 years and they are still going strong.  Occasionally the ribbon with fray at the end, but I just cut off that part and keep using it. The children love windwands, especially when we snap them!


28 Responses

  1. Laura Bickmore

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
    THANK YOU SHARLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Cassie

    Thanks our kids Love them! I also painted clear nail polish on the ends of each ribbon and haven’t had a single fray (three years old now)!

  3. April Smith

    I was wondering if you could give the measurements for the partner scarves that you use. Also do you sew the edges of the scarves. Thanks
    Also just wanted you to know that I love your method of teaching! I was doing a lot of what you do on my own. I could never just “sing a song” I had to do something with it like you teach. Your book has helped me understand why I have been inspired to teach the way I have and has expanded and refined what I was doing before. Thank you for all your knowledge and being so willing to share with so many. I love teaching this way!

    • Sharla Dance

      The partner scarves I have are 26″ by 60″… long enough to have one person on either end and the air lifts the middle of the scarf as they bring it down. I think any measurements around that size would work. Just do what works with your fabric the best. If you get chiffon from Display Costume (great price, lots of colors, and 54″ wide) you don’t need to hem it because it is the right kind of fabric that doesn’t need hemming.

      Thank you for the comment about this way of teaching. It’s not really mine. It’s just what works best for the children! Good for you for teaching in a way that is good for them. I think the Lord bless His teachers with ways to help His children!

  4. Renee

    Where would I find this kind of ribbon? At a fabric store? The ribbon in the craft section at Walmart doesn’t feel like the right kind- too stiff.

    • Trudy Owens

      amazon is probably the best. I found some mixed patterns, solid satin or grosgrain, and some polkadot grosgrain.

  5. Kay Maynard

    Hi!! We use shower curtain rings with strips of plastic table cloth knotted on. Works great!! Question, Is there a way to get some of the handouts and sheet music you introduced in the Workshop I just bought?

    • Sharla Dance

      The music was an accompaniment written by composer Dana Cardon (Built on the Rock musical) for Come Follow Me. The new childlike words are by a good friend. Is that what you would like?
      As for handouts, I do a different handout for each workshop and I”m trying to remember! What is it you would like to know? Thank you for asking, Kay. I’m so grateful you are enthusiastic and ready to learn, and that you care so much about the children! Take care, Sharla

  6. Mara

    I just wanted share with you the joy I have experienced teaching songs in my calling in primary. i love your way to teach a child a song. It was the funniest call I ever served in the church. I am from Italy Rome-west Stake in Ladispoli ward. I have been serving as Primary Music Teaching Leader from latest two years and I got a successful work and now I am trying to share my knowledge around teaching a child a song with the sister who is took my place in Primary .Thank you so much Sharla, for your precious teaching !!! love you sister @ <3

  7. Jessica

    Thank you so much for your wonderful ideas. I’m so excited to make these wands, but I’m looking through the materials. Are the little circles actually called rivets, eyelets or grommets? I looked on Amazon for rivets and they look different than these. Thank you for any help!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Jessi, The word should be grommet, something that protects the hole through the ribbon which also secures these 3 pieces of ribbon together. Thanks for asking!

  8. Katie

    I went to a music workshop in 2004/5 when I was the PP. My music leader couldn’t make it so I attended on her behalf. It completely rocked my world! I was a new mom and soaked in your knowledge like a sponge. I came home and promptly assembled a box of goodies! Fast forward 12 years and I’m the ML now. These props are STILL going strong!

  9. Sheri Mosher

    I would love to make windwands for our primary but I am trying to be as budget conscious as possible. I saw somewhere that you had posted a good place to get the ribbon for a good price. I even looked at the link to see the prices…but I didn’t save it and now I can’t find that post. Would you mind telling me where you suggested that we get the ribbon? Or do you even remember where that was? I love your ideas! We have been using the rhythm sticks and the kids love them…and I really think they would love these too!

      • Sheri Mosher

        Thank you so much! That was the exact site that I had seen earlier. I’m sorry because I thought that you were the one that had mentioned it, but I do appreciate your taking the time to find it for me! I’m sure it will come in handy when we get started on our windwands! Thank you again for all of your wonderful ideas!!!

  10. Renee

    I am going to make these but I am wondering how you attach the rivets to the ribbon? Do I need a special tool to do this?

    • Sharla Dance

      There is a tool like a big pair of pliers that presses the rivets into the ribbon. I found if I poked a small hole in the ribbon first where I wanted the rivet, it even went easier.

  11. Krystal Grover

    Is it just satin craft ribbon? My teen daughters are helping me make these as a service project but i am not sure what kind of ribbon you used.
    My mom and 2 sisters and i are all music leaders in our seperate wards right now and we have just recently learned about your method. Thanks for sharing what tge Lord has taught you so we can bless the children in our lives!

    • Sharla Dance

      The craft store told me it was double sided satin ribbon. I have had my wind wands for over 20 years. Only occasionally do I cut off fraying edges or repair them. I’m so glad you are making these! You’ll be amazed at the children this activity can reach.

  12. Melinda

    Dear Sharla,

    How often would you recommend using the wind wands throughout the year? I have just read your book and love it! My main concern at this point is knowing how often I can repeat each type of activity, especially with the older primary group. I am so grateful for your knowledge and your willingness to share! Thank you!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Melinda,
      Because the brain craves variety, you have to leave enough time in between each type of activity to let it “become new” again. I often will let 6 to 8 weeks go by before I use the same activity with a different song with the Older Primary. The Younger children have a different time table. Developmentally they need more times of repetition to be successful, and their brains accommodate for this. You can do the same thing with younger children two or three times in a row (which would be iffy with older children… they would check out mentally or emotionally). Thanks for asking!

      • Melinda

        Thanks so much for answering. One more question: Would you recommend having only half the primary use the wind wands at a time, so they have plenty of room? Or does it seem to work just fine with all the children at the same time? (Obviously room size and number of children will factor in–just looking for an experienced answer before I try it and have a huge mess! We have 20-30 children in the room at a time.) Thanks!

  13. Roseann

    I attended your seminar last year and was so excited to make these. I had the hardest time time finding the beads with a large enough hole, so I still haven’t made them. Any suggestion on where to find those?

  14. Lisa Hansen

    Could you post a few pictures of your windwands so I ca get an idea of what they look like finished? thank you!

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