Camping and s’mores go hand in hand. Toasting marshmallows over an open fire is one of the best parts of camping outdoors. But what if you can’t have an open fire? Should you just forget about s’mores? No, you just have to do the solar oven project to build yourself an oven. A solar oven is a safe-to-use equipment that helps you cook food without using any fuel. It uses the heat from the sun’s rays to cook food. The solar oven is not only cost-effective it is also environmentally friendly.
Doing the solar oven project with your kids is a great way to reinforce their lessons on energy, heat and solar power. In addition to this, kids also learn about alternative energy, making conscious decisions to protect the environment and cooking without fuel. Projects and science experiments for kids like these also help kids learn basic life skills and how to be self-sufficient. They are also a great way to help them understand their lessons better.
In this article, explore:
- What is a Solar Oven?
- Solar Oven Project: How to Make a Solar Oven?
What is a Solar Oven?
Have you ever experienced a situation where you put something to bake in the oven, and the power goes out? Or run out of fuel just before you start cooking? It can be really frustrating and annoying, especially if you’re hungry. The easiest way to remedy this situation is by cooking with a solar oven. A solar oven is a simple equipment that cooks food using the natural heat from the sun’s rays. This simple, portable equipment absorbs sunlight, traps it and channels it towards the pot inside it. This heats up the pot and cooks the food inside it.
Here are the different components of a solar oven or solar cooker:
- A heat-safe pot or container that can resist high heat to cook the food. Dark-colored metal or glass containers work the best because dark colors absorb heat faster.
- A heat trap is something that can trap and hold the heat from the sun’s rays and hold it.
- Reflectors to direct or channel the sun’s rays into the heat trap to heat up the oven.
Want to learn more about the sun and the planets surrounding it? Then, check out this solar system project for kids.
Solar Oven Project: How to Make a Solar Oven?
A solar oven is an environmentally friendly piece of equipment to cook your food. Help your child learn how to cook their own food with this simple solar oven project. Kids will enjoy doing this wonderful science project, especially because of the tasty results it yields. Here are some simple instructions to make your own solar oven using an empty pizza box.
Aim of the Project
In this easy science project, children learn to build a working model of a simple solar oven or cooker. This project helps children understand more about solar energy, heat, absorption, insulation etc. The project also helps children learn about renewable energy and alternative energy.
Things You’ll Need
Here is a list of things you’ll need for the solar oven project:
- Empty cardboard pizza box (clean it beforehand to remove crumbs, cheese etc.)
- Box cutter or craft knife
- Aluminum foil
- Scotch tape
- Black construction paper
- Plastic wrap or large, transparent plastic bag
- Oven mitt
- Heat resistant pie dish or plate
- Graham crackers
- Oven thermometer
Step 1: Draw a square to make the flap: Draw a square on the lid of the pizza box using a ruler and pencil. Ensure that the lines are one inch in from the sides of the box.
Step 2: Cut the square: Use the craft knife or box cutter to cut 3 sides of the square. Make sure to cut along the drawn lines to make the flap. Make a crease along the uncut side to help the flap stand up. This is your oven’s door.
Step 3: Create the heat trap: Cut a large piece of aluminum foil and use it to cover the inside of the pizza box. Also, cover the walls and the lid of the box. Secure the foil using scotch tape.
Step 4: Cut the black construction to the same size as the foil-lined inside of the pizza box. Place the construction paper inside the box and secure it with tape.
Step 5: Insulate the box: To ensure the heat doesn’t escape easily, roll some newspapers into tubes and stuff them into the sides of the box. But ensure that you can close the lid of the box easily.
Step 6: Now, your solar oven is ready to use. Place some graham crackers on the heat resistant pie dish or plate. Place a marshmallow on each cookie and top it with a piece of chocolate.
Step 7: Place the dish with the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate inside your oven. Place the oven thermometer inside the box to monitor the temperature.
Step 8: Now, wrap the top of the pizza box with plastic wrap. To ensure that the flap stays open, place a ruler in the corner of the box at an angle. Attach the other end of the skewer to the open flap to ensure it doesn’t fall on the box.
Step 9: Place your oven in direct sunlight with the flap open. On a hot day with good sunlight, your s’mores will be ready in 40-60 minutes.
In 40-60 minutes, you’ll notice that the marshmallow and chocolate have melted, giving you the perfect s’mores. This is because the foil-covered flap reflects the sun’s rays and channels it into the dish. The black construction paper absorbs the heat and melts the marshmallow and the chocolate.
What purpose do the newspapers serve?
The rolled-up newspapers act as an insulator and prevent heat loss through radiation, which helps the oven stay hot.
What Else Can You Cook in the Solar Oven?
Wondering what other delicacies you can whip up using the solar oven? Try some nachos with some grated cheese or baked potatoes or even chocolate fondue.
We hope you and your child enjoyed this solar oven project. For more science projects, activities, games and worksheets that make learning fun, check our kids learning section.
Frequently Asked Questions on Solar Oven Project
What is a Solar Oven?
The solar oven is a simple cooking device that uses the heat from sunlight to cook food.
What do kids learn from the Solar Oven Project?
Children get to learn about solar energy, heat, absorption, insulation, renewable energy and alternative energy. The project also helps kids learn to cook, which is a basic life skill.