Photo provided by International Rescue Committee
The Bezos Family Foundation matched each pinwheel made during the Healing Classrooms Challenge with a $2 donation—up to $400,000—to the International Rescue Committee’s Healing Classrooms program. You can deepen your learning by exploring lesson resources.
How to Make a Pinwheel
Before you make pinwheels, you may want to review some of our free educational resources and tools to increase your understanding of the Syrian crisis and set some context for your team about why you're taking the Challenge. Then, follow these easy instructions to create a pinwheel for the Students Rebuild Healing Classrooms Challenge.
You can download our handy pinwheel template with photos and step-by-step instructions or watch our short, informative How to Make a Pinwheel video. Pinwheels can seem complicated to make at first, but once you get the hang of it, they’re very easy! Our instructions are for the easiest possible construction with the most accessible materials, but if you would like to use other materials or methods, please feel welcome to do so. We love seeing the many creative and thoughtful ways people everywhere connect and make projects for Students Rebuild!
- Paper (any kind will do but light-weight paper works best!)
- Decorative materials (markers, crayons, paint, stickers, etc.)
- Tape or glue sticks (stickers and metal brads optional)
- Measure and cut a square, or print and cut squares from our handy templates for a 4x4, 5.5 or 8x8 pinwheel.
- Fold paper in half diagonally from both sides, corner to corner – then unfold back to square.
- Your square should now be divided into four triangles, which meet in the center.
Because your paper will be folded again in the next steps, now is a perfect opportunity to decorate your pinwheel! Since realistic drawings might get lost in the folds we recommend working on design rather than drawing pictures—think patterns, abstract design, geometric design, rainbows and swaths of color. You can also decorate with images at the end—it’s up to you! We encourage you to consider decorating both sides of your paper for maximum color and design effect!
- Next, cut along the diagonal fold lines until you are about ½ inch from your square’s center.
- You will have what looks like four triangles; mark every other outer triangle corner.
- Moving around your square paper, fold the marked corners to the center of the paper and secure the corner ends down with tape or glue stick.
If you have waited to decorate your pinwheel, please do so now, or this is a good time to add any finishing touches, such as thoughtful notes to the children of Syria or small drawings.
Optional finishing touches:
- If you’d like to cover the glue or tape at the center of your pinwheel, try stickers, glue or a small circle of decorative paper. You're also welcome to hold the center of your pinwheel together with a metal brad.
- You can just send in this top part of the pinwheel; you do not need to include a stick / handle. You are welcome to send fully functioning pinwheels attached to sticks for this Challenge if you have the resources and time; you can find such instructions here.
Pinwheels are simple, fun toys found all over the world. They represent the innocence of childhood, play, delight and a sense of being carefree. They are driven by wind, an incredibly powerful force. Several organizations have adopted the pinwheel as a symbol for peace, and we believe that this popular, functional device is a wonderful way to send wishes of joy, freedom and a happy childhood to youth living amid conflict. Join us and make pinwheels for healing. You can help Syrian youth gain the peace and security that all children deserve.