Have you ever thought of using the sun to make a delicious treat? In this article below you will learn how to make a DIY solar oven to create yummy S’mores and make your very own solar sun syrup that you can use on waffles, pancakes or even ice cream. This is a great hands on STEM project. Keep reading to learn how to make solar oven experiments for kids.
Science Discussion Topics
During these experiments you can talk to your children about what is going on. Questions you can ask are:
- Ask what they think is going to happen at each step
- Do you think the sun is string enough to melt chocolate?
- How does using the sun to cook help the earth?
- Why do these experiments need to be completed during the hot months?
- How would different weather conditions affect this experiment?
Solar Sun Syrup
Creating solar sun syrup is fun to do and tastes great too! This activity does take a lot of time so make sure you start early on a bright and sunny day. This makes a great Science Project, Earth Day Activity, Camp Activity or just something fun to do with the kids at home! Follow the step-by-step directions below to make your own solar sun syrup.
- 2 cups of berries cut in half (strawberries, blueberries or raspberries)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (use less sugar is you would like low sugar syrup)
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- plastic wrap
- 1 pot
- 1 cake pan
- Mason Jar or container to store syrup
*A stove will be used in one part of this experiment. Remember only use a stove when a parent is present
Place berries, sugar and lemon juice in the pot and mix together.
Let mixture sit for 45 minutes or until berries look juicy.
Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 7 minutes.
Pour mixture into cake pan, let cool.
When the mixture has cooled wrap pan with plastic wrap and place outside in the sun for 5 – 7 hours. The mixture will thicken into a syrup.
Pour syrup into container and store refrigerator.
Enjoy! You can pour your fruity solar syrup over pancakes and waffles or you can pour it over your favorite ice cream or dessert. When you are finished you can pour your solar syrup into a mason jar or container and store it in the refrigerator for a week.
This this S’mores solar cooking experiment below:
S’mores Solar Oven Experiment
S’mores are a gooey delicious summer treat. They are made with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow. In this experiment children will make a solar oven using a shoebox or cardboard box.
You need a hot and sunny summer day to complete this experiment. We usually do this on a hot July or August day around 12PM.
How do solar ovens work?
In this experiment children will brainstorm the best way to trap heat in their oven to melt the chocolate and marshmallows to create S’mores. Essentially children will learn how to use the sun’s energy to create hot air inside the box turning it into an oven.
This S’mores solar oven experiment is a fun team building exercise in any summer camp program. It’s also a fun neighborhood activity or something fun to do at home with the kids.
We do this experiment every summer in our summer camp program. We divide the children up into teams or four. Give each child enough marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate to create two S’mores. Not running a summer camp program no problem. You can do this at home with the kids. You can work together as a family to brainstorm ideas on which way would make the best solar oven.
We give each group supplies to make their own oven and see which team creates the best solar oven.
This fun project is perfect for a hot and sunny day. It is great for elementary school children.
- Shoebox or cardboard box
- Aluminum Foil
- Graham crackers
- Hershey’s chocolate bar
- Large marshmallows
- Plastic wrap
- Tape (you can use duck tape, or Scott’s tape or painter’s tape. Tape is easier but you can also use a glue stick)
- Optional Wood Skewer
- Optional black construction paper
How t o Build Solar Oven
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 S’more. 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.
Once the children have an oven concept they can place their S’mores 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.
Take the shoeboxes outside
Have the children place their solar oven (shoebox) where they think it direct sunlight.
Next, have the children brainstorm on which way to leave their solar oven (shoebox) 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.
There are so many different ways to create their solar oven.
Once the children are happy with their solar oven have them check they S’mores every 15 minutes. Is the chocolate melting? Which team’s is melting the fastest? Do you need to make any changes to your oven?
Once all the chocolate has melted children can enjoy their S’mores.
I’ve done this experiment several times with children. Each year the same strategy gets the best result.
We cover the inside of the shoebox and the lid with aluminum foil and secure it with duck tape. Next we place the S’more inside the box. Once the S’more is in the box we bring the box outside and look for the best place for direct sunlight.
Next, we use a wooden skewer to hold the lid open. We also do this in the middle of the day around 12PM. It takes about 30 minutes-45 minutes for the chocolate to melt.
We hope you enjoyed this article on solar oven experiments for kids. Let us know how you solar syrup and S’mores came out by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org