Solar Oven

Have you ever tried to harness the power of the sun to create some s'mores? Camping is the perfect time to do it. During the day, I set up my DIY solar oven and stacked up my ingredients inside. Then, I just let it sit while I went for a quick hike around the campsite. When I returned, I had a delicious, melted snack that was ready to eat thanks to my solar oven!

  1. Ages: 5 - 16

  2. 1 hour - 2 hours

  3. A little messy

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Gather the materials to make your solar oven and s'mores.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    This project works best on a sunny day, so you may want to check the weather before you start.

    Start with your box. One of our crates works really well, but you can also use any regular cardboard box that will fit a plate of s'mores! You'll want a box that has a lid flap so that it can act as a reflector and direct light into your oven.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Cut off the box's extra flaps, so you're left with an open top box and a lid panel that can be propped open.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Line the inside of your box and the lid flap with aluminum foil. Use clear tape to hold it in place as needed.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Create a plate of s'mores! Lay out several graham cracker squares and place a marshmallow on half the crackers and chocolate on the other half. Try not to eat them all just yet!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    Place your plate of s'mores into the box and tape a sheet of plastic wrap over the top.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    Take your solar oven out into the sun and place it so that the sun shines directly inside. If your lid has trouble staying open, use a straw and some tape to prop the lid open.

    Now let your s'mores heat up! The cook time will depend on the temperature and the amount of sunlight your oven gets. In the hot California sun, it only took about 20 minutes. It might take longer, but be patient and check back often on your s'mores. Every time you check back, you should see them get a little more melted.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Done!

    Once the marshmallows are squishy to the touch, carefully your ingredients out and sandwich the chocolate and marshmallows graham cracker. Be careful as the s'mores may be hot! Enjoy your snacks baked in your very own solar oven!

    What's happening?

    Solar ovens work by using sunlight as energy for heating. The foil surface of the oven reflects sunlight into the box, increasing the amount of heat. There are many other versions of solar cookers, and some use a curved reflective surface to concentrate the heat. The plastic film wrap at the top of the solar oven lets sunlight in but helps keep the heat contained. As a result, you can harness the power of the sun to help you heat up your treats!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

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