During the summer, one of the most fun things to do is roast s’mores over a campfire. For a fun twist on a classic treat, you can try making s’mores in a solar cooking oven, which uses sunlight to heat up the marshmallow and melt the chocolate. Setting up your oven is easy and requires only a few materials, but make sure you have an adult around to help.
This activity is a fun and simple way to show how solar energy works. Similar to the cooking box you can create using these instructions, cells in solar panels absorb heat and turn it into electricity to power lights and many other things. Because solar energy is a renewable form of energy, it is great for the environment and has many cool applications. A solar cooking box is one of many fun things to try with solar energy!
How to make a solar oven
You will need:
• A personal-sized pizza box
• One sheet of black construction paper
• Plastic wrap
• Aluminum foil
• One straw, wooden skewer, or pencil
• Marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars for s’mores!
1. Turn your box upside down. Have an adult cut a “door” in the box as the oven flap. Cut the black sheet of paper so it will fit in the bottom of the box. Then, tape the sheet down. The black color of the paper will absorb sunlight and heat up the oven.
2. Tape a sheet of aluminum foil to the inside of the oven flap. Since it reflects a lot of light, aluminum foil will ensure that a lot of sunlight reaches the black sheet of paper to warm up the oven.
3. Cover the base of the oven in plastic wrap. Tape the wrap securely to the bottom of the box so it stays in place. Plastic wrap works to ensure that no heat escapes from the area where you will cook your s’mores.
4. Add your s’mores into the oven, placing it under the plastic wrap and directly on the black sheet of paper.
5. Close the top of the oven, but keep the oven door propped open. Using tape, secure your straw, skewer, or pencil to the door and base of the oven to make sure the door stays propped open on its own.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
6. After your oven is ready to go, place it out in direct sunlight. On a hot and sunny day, the s’mores will take around 90 minutes to cook. The chocolate will melt quickly, but keep an eye out for your marshmallows to get bigger. This is a good sign that your s’mores are cooked. After around 90 minutes or when your marshmallows have gotten much bigger, enjoy the s’mores the sun has just cooked for you!
Matthew 25, an independent, local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, began in 2006 to help strengthen and elevate neighborhoods on the west side of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Matthew 25 continues to empower people to transform neighborhoods through three tools: food, housing and education. Learn more at hub25.org.