Saturday, July 13, 2024

How To Make A Solar Oven For Kids

How To Make A Hot Dog Cooker From A Pringles Can

How to Make a Solar Oven with @Beau Coffron | The Home Depot Kids Workshops

Once you’ve cleaned the crumbs from your Pringles can, remove the plastic lid and place it on the bottom part of the can. Using the hammer and nail, tap gently in the center of the can on the plastic lid, through the can.

This is where your wooden skewer will go, so be sure to tap a hole large enough to accommodate the skewer. If you need to make the hole larger, simply rotate the nail in the hole until it is the proper width.

In the meantime, place the skewer through the lid and out the other side of the can.

Next, simply measure out a rectangle on one side of the Pringles can four or five inches by three inches will work. This is where the DIY solar cooker will catch the sun’s rays.

Have the Cub Scouts carefully cut out the rectangle with scissors. You could also have an adult volunteer or den leader use an X-Acto Knife or utility knife to make quick work of this task.

With the glue gun, adhere the rectangular section, rounded side up, to the bottom of the cooker, opposite the hole that you cut. This will help to stabilize your DIY solar oven so it doesn’t roll around once it’s outside in the sunlight.

A parent will need to assist with this.

Grab a section of cling wrap and some masking tape and proceed to fully cover the rectangle opening. Make sure all sides are sealed tightly to ensure the hot dog cooker reaches optimal temps once placed in the sun.

Serve with condiments and of course a side of Pringles chips and enjoy!

To Make Smores You Will Need:

  • Graham crackers
  • Aluminum pie pan
  • Napkins!

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


Note that unlike most recipes, our smores have the marshmallow UNDER the chocolate. Thats 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 tightly, and prop up the flap to reflect the sunlight into the box.

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 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.

How Does It Work

A solar oven works by catching sunlight using a reflector and reflecting it onto a black surface . The black surface transforms the light into heat and the upturned glass bowl traps the heat inside. It heats up just like your car does on a hot summer day.

Solar ovens slow-cook food on a low heat over a longer period of time than conventional ovens but they DO work. You can purchase manufactured solar ovens in different designs like this one from Amazon. They are usually used by people when camping or for dehydrating foods. I researched a number of different solar oven designs and DIY projects before coming up with this version.

Recommended Reading: How Much Do Solar Panels Lower Your Electric Bill

Cut A Thin Lid From Your Box

Our DIY solar oven needs to collect sunlight and direct it towards our food. To do this we need a mirror. We wanted to build a stand-alone solar oven that didnt need too much setup, so we attached our mirror to the lid of our box. Think about what you want your solar oven to look like before determining where the mirror will go. Will your box be tall and skinny? Will it be flat and wide?

To collect the most light from the sun you want to put the mirror on the biggest surface of your box. That means if you want a hotter oven it needs to be flat and wide.

Once you have your box laying on one flat wide side carefully cut a lid into your solar oven. We cut right along the crease where the box bends from the top to the sides, leaving us with just a thin piece of cardboard that can flap up and down.

How To Make Rainbow Crayons:

DIY Solar Oven Smores {Kids Science Experiment}

This is a perfect recipe for this experiment because its not a food item and demonstrates how your oven works. To make them simply chop some old crayons up and place them into silicon cupcake liners. Place the silicon cupcake liners inside your oven and observe them cooking over time. Taking note of the results will give you a good idea of how your oven cooks when its time to make a food item.

The hottest our oven got on this day was 80ºC . It was enough to mostly melt the crayons but there were a few chunks left which were obviously not going to change no matter how long we left them in the oven.

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Diy Solar Oven For Kids

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Love science? Love s’mores? Try this fun and easy DIY Solar Oven for Kids. Use your creativity to make some delicious s’mores and memories.

Make memories with the kids all while learning a little science with this fun DIY Solar Oven for Kids. Harness the power of the sun and use it to melt some marshmallows and chocolate for s’mores with this easy and fun project.

For this project you will need some things that you likely already have on hand.

  • Box with flip top lid
  • aluminum foil
  • plastic wrap or page protector
  • bamboo skewer

How To Make Rocky Road Bites

We made these Rocky Road Bites in our solar oven and they were YUMMY! Ordinarily chocolate is best cooked at a low temperature so its perfect for your solar oven.

To make Rocky Road Bites place a small amount of chocolate melts into a silicon cupcake liner along with a scattering of chopped marshmallows, a teaspoon of chopped nuts and a teaspoon of desiccated coconut. Place in your oven and observe the results.

Once the ingredients have melted into a lump that resembles Rocky Road remove them from the oven and refrigerate until set.

Our Rocky Road Bites took over an hour to fully cook but they were worth the wait!

Your solar oven is easily folded and packed away to use on another day. I found it a great way for the kids to learn about solar energy and sustainability.

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Solar Oven Project Materials

Note Make this a partner or small group project to save on materials and prep-time.

  • Cardboard pizza box ask parents and fellow staff members to donate their empty boxes
  • Thermometer
  • Whatever treat you are heating up
  • Optional free printables

*Printable directions are included in the free download in the following section.

1. Start with a clean cardboard pizza box.

2. Using a marker or pencil and a ruler, draw a square one-inch in from the edges on the top of the pizza box.

3. Using a box cutter cut out three of the four lines to make a flap. Do not cut the line at the top of the pizza box.

4. Cover the inside of the flap with aluminum foil and tape it down securely.

5. Line the inside edges of the bottom of the pizza box with strips of aluminum foil.

6. Line the bottom of the bottom of the pizza box with black paper.

7. Now youll need to cover the opening with plastic wrap. Securely tape one piece of plastic wrap to the top of the hole and one piece underneath the hole. You want to create an airtight window.

8. Place an aluminum pie pan or a plate covered with aluminum foil inside your new solar oven.

One delicious treat you can make is smores. Stack a graham cracker, a piece of chocolate and several mini marshmallows on your aluminum plate. Place your solar oven out in the afternoon sun and check on your treats every few minutes until the chocolate and marshmallows are melted.

How To Use Your Diy Solar Oven

How to Build a Solar Oven | The Science of Cooking | SciShow Kids
  • Set your DIY solar oven up outside in full sun, with the reflector facing directly at the sun. Monitor how hot it gets inside, when the temperature is above 70ºC it is warm enough to start using. As the sun moves across the sky adjust the direction of the reflector accordingly. This will ensure maximum temperature inside your oven.
  • Use your chart to record the temperature details along with observations of the item you are cooking inside. This will vary according to factors like the outside temperature, how high the sun is in the sky and the angle of your reflector in relation to the sun. We found that the temperature at high noon was actually lower inside the oven than it was in the late afternoon due to the angle of the sun in conjunction with the angle of the reflector.
  • Remember to use a tea towel to lift the glass bowl because it can get very hot.

We tried making two different things in our solar oven Rainbow Crayons and Rocky Road Bites.

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Adding A Touch Of Science To Your Pizza Box Solar Oven Smores Activity

We used this activity to investigate heat retention with the dark paper compared to the aluminum foil. While we didnt notice a difference in temperature between the two, the kids did enjoy using the thermometers to check the temperatures inside the boxes. Perhaps it might have been a better experiment had we just compared white to black paper on the bottom. Or, perhaps we should have also experimented with different heat measuring techniques.

Solar cooking science update: A reader recently shared with me how her son started experimenting with solar ovens and came across a site full of great information all about solar ovens. .

I find that any time we include food in our outdoor adventures the kids are always very eager to come out and participate. This activity was a definite hit for all the kids that afternoon, from baby to10 years old, and the adults too!

If youre looking for other ideas on getting kids excited to go outside, head over to this post on top tips for getting children outdoors.

What should you do now?

Getting outside and connecting your family with nature is an important part of Take Them Outside. If youd like to learn more and stay connected, sign up for our newsletter. Youll get a mini kick in the butt to help you and your kids outside and connecting more with nature.

Cub Scout Adventures Involving Cooking Outdoors

Cooking outdoors satisfies requirements for three Cub Scout adventures.

Bear Elective Adventure Bear Picnic Basket Requirement 5: With the help of an adult, select a recipe to prepare in the outdoors for your family or den. Help to select the needed ingredients, perhaps from a garden, grocery store, or farmers market. Cook and serve your planned meal. Clean up after the preparation and cooking.

Webelos Required AdventureCast Iron Chef Requirement 2: Prepare a balanced meal for your den or family. If possible, use one of these methods for preparation of part of the meal: camp stove, Dutch oven, box oven, solar oven, open campfire, or charcoal grill. Demonstrate an understanding of food safety practices while preparing the meal.

Webelos and Arrow of Light Elective AdventureCastaway Requirement 1A: On a campout or outdoor activity with your den or family, cook two different recipes that do not require pots and pans.

200 Cub Scout day campers made pizza box oven s’mores!

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Putting It Together Oval Solar Oven

I recommend building the oval solar oven it’s just as simple and I had better results, but it does sit higher. You can refer to the photo for the general layout of this design, but the PDF drawing will be more accurate. As with the rectangular design, the dimensions on the PDF are based on the width of your oven . Take the overall width of your oven and multiply the factor on the drawing to get your dimensions for your oven.

Start with measuring your suncover and fold it along the cutout for the mirror. Refer to the picture above. This should serve as the fold at the base. Measure up the distance to the right distance and cut the opening. You will note that I used a yardstick to help define the radius cut. Mark your cut lines and stich lines with a Sharpie/permanent marker.

If you have a sewing machine stitch the edges/base as shown on the PDF. That would work best, and not require any trimming or cutting. Even the weakest sewing machine can sew this material so don’t worry about using large needles or heavy-duty thread. Since I didn’t have a sewing machine I just stapled along the dotted line. Or, if you have some spare adhesive backed velcro use that at the joints .

I also found that if I secured the acetate to the bottom of the opening with some adhesive-backed velcro strips it worked well to temporarily open the top of the oven to place or remove the cookware. I’m still experimenting with both, but I do like the rigid acetate because it holds it’s shape.

How T O Build Solar Oven

DIY Cardboard Crafts &  Upcycling Ideas

Step 1:

To create a solar oven each group of children is given a shoe box, aluminum foil, plastic wrap and tape. You can also give the children black construction paper to work with. Children will brainstorm ways to trap heat in the shoebox causing the chocolate and marshmallows to melt making a Smore. They need the temperature inside the box to be hotter than the outside air.

Some children line the inside the of the shoebox with foil, while others wrap it in plastic wrap. Some groups of children will leave the inside of their shoebox empty but then place a piece of aluminum foil on top. You can use tape to secure the aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Step 2:

Once the children have an oven concept they can place their Smores ingredients in the shoebox or cardboard box. Place one graham cracker square on the bottom, then place a piece of chocolate, then put on a marshmallow then top it off with another graham cracker.

Step 3:

Take the shoeboxes outside

Have the children place their solar oven where they think it direct sunlight.

Next, have the children brainstorm on which way to leave their solar oven and what would be the best way to reflect sunlight.

Should they leave the box open or keep it closed? Should they wrap the outside of the box with foil or leave the box open and place foil on the lid? Which way do you think will trap the most heat?

You can use your wooden skewer to keep the lid of the box open.

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The Perfect Diy Solar Oven

Welcome to another kick-ass Instructable from Disc Dog!

I love cooking with a solar oven! It’s like using the perfect slow cooker, but no heat in the kitchen and best yet, the energy to run it IS FREE! I have a Sun Flair solar cooker on our sailboat and use it every time we’re on the hook. I used it as a basis for this design.

I wanted to design a very functional solar oven for the DIY’er, but not something that is big, bulky nor permanent. Something for the backyard…something you can use on the picnic table in place of your grill! I also wanted to make it as low cost as possible, and something that can be built on the kitchen table with nothing more than some office supplies, fence wire, left-over blanket case and a windshield sun protector/dash cover.

I also wanted it portable and foldable, that’s why I didn’t build a permanent frame. Built correctly this little oven should last you years and years.

I went through two designs and each had their advantages, however I found that the oval one was a better performer it got hotter quicker.

I also wanted to design a solar oven that doesn’t get over 200F . That’s important, because at those temperatures you don’t have to worry about over-cooking your dinner or drying it out. Think of it as a slow-cooker, but solar powered!

Diy Solar Oven From A Repurposed Cardboard Box

Make a DIY solar oven to help kids to learn about sustainability, solar power and harnessing energy. This is a fun and easy science experiment that also has practical use.

Note: This DIY Solar Oven is a kids activity for experimental purposes only. The oven DOES work but eat your solar-cooked food at your own risk. Its also important to note that this oven gets HOT so please supervise young children and take care when touching the glass bowl. Use a tea towel or oven mitt for safety.

This kids STEM project was first published in 2017 and has been updated and republished for todays audience

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Weve had a super-hot summer this year, apparently the hottest in recorded history. For our location this means more 40ºc+ days than I care to remember .

A hot summer is not all bad though! Its given us multiple perfect opportunities to test out this completely awesome DIY solar oven we made from a cardboard box.

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