S’mores are one of my favorite desserts, combine that with my background in science and naturally, I have been dying to make solar oven smores. Solely in the interest of science education of course. 😉
DIY Solar Oven Smores
Easy Solar Oven Smores
It has been CRAZY hot lately, so we took advantage of the scorching sun this past weekend and made the best solar oven. Why is it the best? We already had all the supplies on hand, I love it when a fun plan comes together inexpensively!
Solar Oven DIY
The base of the project was a couple of personal size pizza boxes I saved in my craft stash just for this project. The boys loved making and decorating their own personal solar ovens but a big pizza box would work too.
How to make a solar oven for kids
This project is fairly easy and older kids can do most of the steps themselves. Just have an adult use a craft knife or scissors to cut the solar oven door.
1) Cut the “oven door” flap on the top of the pizza box. The size depends on what you are cooking and how much access you need. Our door was large to maximize our s’mores capacity!
2) Decorate your solar oven with sharpies. This is a fun *optional* step.
DIY Solar Oven For Kids
3) Glue black construction paper to the bottom of the box. The black color absorbs the heat inside of the box.
4) Glue aluminum foil to the inside of the door. The foil reflects the sun into the oven.
5) Tape the plastic over the opening of the door. This will allow the air inside the box to heat up but keep the heat trapped inside the box.
How to make a solar oven
6) Add a graham cracker, marshmallow, and piece of chocolate inside the oven.
7) Place your oven outside in the sun. I taped a wooden skewer to prop the lid open at an ideal angle.
This project works best on hot summer days. The chocolate naturally started melting quickly.
Our ‘done’ indicator was the marshmallows, we waited until they had puffed up from the heat. It took about 90 minutes to bake our s’mores.
When making these in less extreme temperatures, we just waited until the chocolate melted and called it good enough.
Easy Solar Oven Project
This project was easy, a lot of fun and perfect for preschool through middle school. Older kids could design their own boxes, or conduct scientific experiments by varying factors like the box size, oven door size, construction paper color, cooking time, outside temperature, etc. We talked about what was happening while we waited for the s’mores to bake.
Easy Solar Oven Project Supplies:
- Cardboard pizza box
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap or bag
- Black construction paper
- Glue stick
- Pencil or wooden skewer
- Scissors or utility knife
- S’mores supplies: chocolate bar, graham crackers, marshmallows
Then we feasted on our solar oven s’mores, I’m pretty sure everyone can get behind that scientific result. 😉
Your own solar cooker will not get as hot as a conventional oven but it can still be hot enough to need an oven mitt.
STEM Solar Oven Project Discussion Points
- The sun as a heat source
- “A process called nuclear fusion converts hydrogen to helium deep in the sun’s core, where temperatures hit a balmy 18 million degrees Fahrenheit (15.7 million degrees Celsius). Fusion creates energy that travels to the sun’s surface in a journey that lasts a million years. ” Learn more from National Geographic Kids
- What would happen if you used different color construction paper?
- We use a sheet of black paper to help absorb the heat. Black absorbs the most heat (white absorbs the least) so any other color would absorb less heat and negatively affect the success of the solar oven.
- What’s the purpose of the foil?
- The sun’s rays are collected by the reflective panel and concentrated inside the box. This converts the sun’s energy into thermal energy which is how solar ovens work.
- The purpose of the plastic wrap?
- The plastic wrap helps trap the sun’s heat in the pizza box ovens and lessens heat loss.
- How various weather conditions would affect the result?
- Direct sunlight gives the best result, cloudy days will lessen the success of solar cooking.
Books about Solar Power
- The Kids’ Solar Energy Book is recommended for grades 3-7.
- Running on Sunshine: How Does Solar Energy Work? is recommend for preschool through grade 3.
- Solar Energy! How Does It Work? is another science book recommendation.
Have you made a DIY solar oven before?
Post originally published August 15, 2012