DIY Solar Oven Smores Kids Science Experiment - MywallpapersMobi

DIY Solar Oven Smores Kids Science Experiment

Desert Chica

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DIY Solar Oven Smores

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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

Try this easy DIY Solar Oven for kids this summer. Learn how to make a solar oven with these plans, perfect for summer fun or a science project. Start with a cardboard pizza box (or shoe box) and you are on your way to a simple experiment that combines STEM with cooking. Other Solar Oven baking ideas include nachos, popcorn or cookies. This post is perfect for teachers looking for how to build a homemade solar oven for a school lesson as well.

Easy Solar Oven Smores

It has been CRAZY hot lately, so we took advantage of the scorching sun this past weekend and made a solar oven. The best part is that we already had all the supplies on hand. 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 DIY Solar Oven for kids and supply list

Easy Solar Oven Project Supplies:

  • Cardboard pizza box
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap or bag
  • Black construction paper
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil or wooden skewer
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • S’mores supplies: chocolate, graham crackers , marshmallows

How to make a solar oven for kids

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 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.

How to Make an easy Solar Oven project for smores

DIY Solar Oven For Kids

3) Glue black construction paper  to the bottom of the box. The black color absorbs the heat.

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.

Steps to make solar oven smores with your own easy solar oven project

Solar Cooking For Kids

6) Add a graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate inside the oven.

6) Place your oven outside in the sun. I taped a wooden skewer to prop the lid open at an ideal angle.

The chocolate naturally started melting quickly. So our 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.

Art and science with solar oven smores the best solar cooking for kids

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.

Summer Science Project Idea - Solar Oven Smores and ow to make a solar oven for kids

STEM Solar Oven Project Discussion Points

  • The sun as a heat source
  • The purpose of the black construction paper
  • The purpose of the foil
  • How various weather conditions would affect the result

Then we feasted on our solar oven s’mores, I’m pretty sure everyone can get behind that scientific result. 😉

Try this easy DIY Solar Oven for kids this summer. Learn how to make a solar oven with these plans, perfect for summer fun or a science project. Start with a cardboard pizza box (or shoebox) and you are on your way to a simple experiment that combines STEM with cooking. Other Solar Oven baking ideas include nachos, popcorn or cookies. This post is perfect for teachers looking for how to build a homemade solar oven for a school lesson as well.

Have you made a DIY solar oven before?

Post originally published August 15, 2012

More fun learning activities:

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Comments

  1. Seriously, this is genius! I am so going to try this out next week with the kids! Learning and s’mores? Can’t go wrong with that!! Much better than using a flame, too.

    Reply
    • I loved making it☺😙

      Reply
      • Awesome!!

        Reply
  2. Gah–Karen, I LOVE this!!! What a super fab idea in this crazy AZ record heat! This science loving mama will have to do this too! 🙂

    Reply
  3. That is the coolest thing I have ever seen for not only making S’mores, but put education into it too, awesome!

    Reply
  4. I had never heard of this! What a great idea! I will tuck this away for next summer, brilliant!!!!

    Reply
  5. This is so super cool – I love it! What a fun way to incorporate learning into a fun activity… and even better with yummy Smores!

    Reply
    • yep in our class were bout to make smores in our solar oven its going to be cool.

      Reply
  6. This is really cool! I would have never thought about something like this.

    Reply
  7. Food and science equals fun! Great idea!

    Reply
  8. Yum!!! My boys would LOVE this!!!!

    Reply
  9. Oh, this is fantastic! And your ‘feasting’ pictures are the cutest. Thanks for a great idea!

    Reply
    • this is so ool dude

      Reply
  10. I used to do this with my 8th graders as a fun inquiry project. We’d change all kinds of variables. Makes me miss those days as teacher…

    Reply
  11. Visiting from Let’s Hear it For the Boys. I’d like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend. And who knows, you may just get featured next week.

    Jennifer
    thejennyevolution.com

    Reply
  12. Do pizza boxes work well for this? Or are cereal boxes better? My son’s class is doing these soon. Thank you!

    Reply
    • I think cereal boxes would work better. I’d love to hear how they turn out for your son’s class!

      Reply
  13. Thanks for letting me know about this I’m gonna do it with the boys and girls club for. science thank you

    Reply
  14. How did you keep ants and flying insects out?

    Reply
    • We don’t really have a big bug problem here in Arizona, so there was never any problems with that. The plastic wrap does keep anything out that would randomly fly by accidently.

      Reply
  15. I’m in 6th grade and my class is doing a “Solar Oven” project. This is perfect for me because we have to build and research about Solar Ovens! Thanks! -Bella Ward 6th Grade California

    Reply
    • I’m so glad I could help!

      Reply
  16. also try #10 metal can stove

    Reply
  17. Hi i’m Isaac and i love this solar cooker its a amazing design

    Reply
  18. Worked great- we did jourals to explain the experiment! Sun was 105° needed coffee cups to keep oven from blowing in the wind! Will use cereal box vs pizza box next time.

    Reply
    • Great idea for next time!

      Reply

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Hi! I’m Karen.

I’m a mom to two boys, Arizona native, and travel lover. Desert Chica is my place to share a peek into our life and the easy and inexpensive costumes, crafts and desserts I like to make. “If I can do it, anyone can!” Learn more about me here.

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Make Sun S’mores!









Make Sun S’mores!

S’mores!

Harness the energy of the Sun to make the best snack ever invented.

Drawing of a s'more, a sandwich of a marshmallow and a square of chocolate between two graham crackers.

Yummmmm!

A solar oven is a box that traps some of the Sun’s energy to make the air inside the box hotter than the air outside the box. In other words, the solar oven is like a super greenhouse.

Photo of solar oven to make in this activity.

You will need:

  • Cardboard box with attached lid. Lid should have flaps so that the box can be closed tightly. Box should be at least 3 inches deep and big enough to set a pie tin inside.
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Glue stick
  • Tape (transparent tape, duct tape, masking tape, or whatever you have)
  • Stick (about 1 foot long) to prop open reflector flap. (Use a skewer, knitting needle, ruler, or whatever you have.)
  • Ruler or straight-edge
  • Box cutter or Xacto knife (with adult help, please!)

How to make solar oven:

CAUTION:

Have an adult cut the box with the box cutter or blade.

Using the straight edge as a guide, cut a three-sided flap out of the top of the box, leaving at least a 1-inch border around the three sides.

Drawing shows where to cut the flap in the lid of the box.Cover the bottom (inside) of the flap with aluminum foil, spreading a coat of glue from the glue stick onto the cardboard first and making the foil as smooth as possible.

Line the inside of the box with aluminum foil, again gluing it down and making it as smooth as possible.

Drawing shows box lined with foil and foil on bottom side of flap.Tape two layers of plastic wrap across the opening you cut in the lid—one layer on the top and one layer on the bottom side of the lid.

Drawing shows box with plastic wrap taped across opening of box.

Test the stick you will use to prop the lid up. You may have to use tape or figure another way to make the stick stay put.

Put the oven to work

Set the oven in the direct Sun, with the flap propped to reflect the light into the box. You will probably have to tape the prop in place. Preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes.

To make S’mores, you will need:

  • Graham crackers
  • Large marshmallows
  • Plain chocolate bars (thin)
  • Aluminum pie pan
  • Napkins!

Break graham crackers in half to make squares. Place four squares in the pie pan. Place a marshmallow on each.

IMPORTANT!

Note that unlike most recipes, our s’mores have the marshmallow UNDER the chocolate. That’s because, in the solar oven, it takes the marshmallow longer to melt than the chocolate.

Place the pan in the preheated solar oven.

Close the oven lid (the part with the plastic wrap on it) tightly, and prop up the flap to reflect the sunlight into the box.

Drawing shows completed solar oven, with pan of graham crackers with marshmallows only on top.Depending on how hot the day is, and how directly the sunlight shines on the oven, the marshmallows will take 30 to 60 minutes to get squishy when you poke them.

Then, open the oven lid and place a piece of chocolate (about half the size of the graham cracker square) on top of each marshmallow. Place another graham cracker square on top of the chocolate and press down gently to squash the marshmallow.

Close the lid of the solar oven and let the Sun heat it up for a few minutes more, just to melt the chocolate a bit.

Enjoy!

link image for downloading pdf of above activity

Other Solar Ovens

There are lots of ways to make a solar oven. Some solar ovens do not work like a greenhouse, but instead have so many reflectors that much more sunlight is directed at the food.

Solar oven design with many panels fanned out to reflect to a central point where a cooking pot sits.

The shiny panels reflect the sunlight toward the cooking pot in the center.

Drawing of a solar oven design in which simple flat metal panels reflect sunlight toward pot in center.

This design looks easier to make than the one above.

Some of these cook food and boil water just like a gas or electric oven.

Photo of several solar cookers at work boiling water, with one person squatting by a cooker and tasting the water.

Several solar cookers at work boiling water to make it safe to drink.

Solar ovens are a big help in places like western Africa, where drinking water is not safe and fire wood is scarce. But boiling is just what is needed to kill disease-causing bacteria and parasites, which are very common in their drinking water.

Family gathers around a solar cooker to see how dinner is coming along.

Family gathers around a solar cooker to see how dinner is coming along.

Some projects are underway to bring solar ovens to the villages. With the hot climate and plentiful sunshine in Africa, the solar ovens can boil a big pot of water and make it safe to drink. And it will also cook their dinner and save a few trees in the process.

Woman demonstrates to a crowd of people how to use solar cooker.

Woman shows people how to use solar cooker.

Drawing shows four graham cracker squares in a pie pan, with a marshmallow on each.

Drawing of yummy s'more.

Drawing of yummy s'more.

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You are here: Home / Experiments / Solar Oven S’mores

Solar Oven S’mores

Use solar energy to make a tasty, sweet treat in a pizza box.

So many great things are synonymous with “summertime yummies!” We can’t think of a summer treat we enjoy quite as much as a s’more: warm, drippy chocolate oozing around a melted marshmallow and sandwiched in a graham cracker. But, what would you do if you weren’t allowed to have a fire or didn’t have the materials needed to build one? We came up with a pretty neat way to harness solar energy to create a simple solar-powered cooker. You can make a delicious batch of s’mores without a fire!

Experiment Materials

  • Large pizza box (in pretty good shape)
  • 2 Clear page protectors
  • Black construction paper
  • Duct tape
  • Wide, clear packing tape
  • Box knife
  • Scissors
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • 12” (30 cm) Wooden food skewer
  • Glue stick (Elmer’s Glue® works, too.)
  • Aluminum foil (wide, heavy duty if possible)
  • Ruler
  • Pen or pencil

Scroll Down To:

  • Experiment Steps
  • Additional Information

Experiment Videos

Experiment

1

On the outside of the lid of the pizza box, measure and draw a square that’s about 2′′ (5 cm) from the four edges of the box. Cut along the front and two sides of the square using a box cutter or scissors. Don’t cut along the hinge side but you may need to score the cardboard slightly along the hinge side. The square becomes a flap that lifts up on the hinge side in place of the lid.

2

Measure and cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to line the entire bottom and two sides of the pizza box. Be sure to use the foil with the shiny side out. You may need to join two narrower pieces to do this. Fold them together along an edge and press the seam between them flat and tight against the table.

3

Apply glue to the bottom and two sides of the box and lay the foil piece on it. Smooth and press the foil onto the glue.

4

Measure and cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the inside surface of the flap you cut into the lid in Step 1. Cover this inside surface with glue then smooth and press the foil onto it shiny side out.

5

Measure and cut a piece of black construction paper that’s 1-2′′ (2-5 cm) smaller along each edge than the bottom of the pizza box. You may need to use more than one piece of paper if the box was for a large pizza.

6

Center the black paper on the foil bottom of the box. Hold it in place using the clear, wide packing tape around the edges of the paper. Tape it directly to the foil.

7

Grab both page protectors and carefully pull the thin sheets apart along the short, bottom edge of each sheet. Lay out both rectangles and tape two long edges together to make a single large piece of plastic.

8

Tape your plastic creation to the inside of the box lid so it’s smooth and tight. DON’T tape it to the flap you cut out; tape it inside the lid. The flap should still move freely and the plastic should cover the flap’s opening from underneath the lid.

9

Use the sharp end of the skewer to poke two small dents about 2” (5 cm) apart into one side of the lid. Make them about .5” (1 cm) from the flap and about halfway along the flap. Don’t poke all the way through. You’ll use these dents as a way to prop the flap open during cooking. See Step 12.

10

Wrap a 5” (13 cm) piece of sticky tape around the skewer near its flat end. Do it in such a way that the tape crosses itself on the stick. The skewer and tape make the letter “T”. This will be the “kickstand” you use to prop open the flap.

11

Use the sticky tape on the skewer to attach the skewer to the side of flap that has the dents in the lid you made in Step 9. The pointy end of the skewer goes toward the hinge of the flap. The top half of the tape goes over the flap and the bottom half goes under the flap.

You’re almost ready to cook! Open the lid and load your oven with a few s’mores. For this recipe, use one graham cracker as a “pan” to hold the chocolate and the marshmallow. Put on the top cracker when you’re ready to eat it up. Keep the s’mores kind of spread out on the black paper in your oven.

Before you close it up for cooking, you might want to tape a thermometer near the black paper inside the box. Put it in a spot that you can see through the plastic liner so you can keep track of the temperature inside your solar oven.

12

When you’re ready, go out into the midday sunshine, set up in a spot that will have full sun for a long time, and open the flap. Adjust the flap to reflect as much heat as possible into the oven. You’ll have to leave it for a while but check on it every so often so you can keep it pointed toward the oven in the sky. Your treats will be ready soon!

How Does It Work

The “Solar Oven” you made is more correctly known as a solar cooker. A true oven can reach temperatures far above the heat trapped inside a pizza box. Duh! Your cooker works on the principle of collecting heat energy and retaining or directing it for cooking. To make the process work, you cover as much of the interior of the box as possible (including the flap) with reflective material in order to direct as much heat as possible into the center of the cooker. In this case, you use the shiny side of aluminum foil. It’s important to adjust the flap and the position of the box to grab all the heat you can as the sun moves across the sky. The actual “cooking” surface is black construction paper because black retains heat very well. As heat is retained, the air inside the oven also heats up and the plastic helps hold it in the small space. You load in your treats and the next thing you know, you’re eating delicious, melted-by-the-Sun s’mores!

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Experiment Materials

  • Large pizza box (in pretty good shape)
  • 2 Clear page protectors
  • Black construction paper
  • Duct tape
  • Wide, clear packing tape
  • Box knife
  • Scissors
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • 12” (30 cm) Wooden food skewer
  • Glue stick (Elmer’s Glue® works, too.)
  • Aluminum foil (wide, heavy duty if possible)
  • Ruler
  • Pen or pencil

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