Solar Oven

When we heard about the Museum of Science+Industry Chicago’s  Summer Brain Games Series, we had to join in on the fun.

Summer Brain Games is 8 weeks of summer fun {don’t tell, but your kids might learn something, too!}.

This is Week 5’s activity, the solar oven:

solar oven title
How to Build a Solar Oven


  • Pizza box {empty}
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Paper Plate
  • Food to cook

We are making sun-baked s’mores today using:  graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows.

Considering the Texas summer temperatures are nearing 100 degrees, I was pretty confident that we could cook almost anything.

This is what we did to make our summertime s’mores:

solar oven diy steps Directions

  1. Cut a flap in the top of the pizza box leaving a 2″ border on the sides and front.  Wrap the bottom side of the flap and the interior of the pizza box with aluminum foil – shiny side out – and tape in place.
  2. Cover the opening created by the flap with plastic wrap and tape into place.
  3. Place food to be cooked on a paper plate inside the solar oven.  Prop the flap open with a ruler in position to reflect the sun into the oven.
  4. Let the sun bake the food.  Depending on the time of day, heat and other variables, it may take up to an hour.
  5. Be careful removing food {it will be hot!} and then add crackers and chocolate for a yummy s’more.

sun baked smores Why does the solar oven work?

The sun’s light rays are collected by the foil flap and concentrated inside the box.  The rays are transformed into thermal energy that slowly raises the temperature inside the box, causing the food to cook. — Museum of Science and Industry

We put a thermometer into our solar oven and found that the cooking temperature of our marshmallows was in excess of 165 degrees.  It did bake slower than I expected considering how hot the day felt.

There are quite a few additional activities suggested to expand the solar oven experience in the Museum of Science and Industry’s activity guide.

Summer Brain Games

What fun is ahead this summer?

  • Week 1:  Woodland Terrarium – Watch your Garden Grow
  • Week 2:  Water Balloon Catapult – Ready, Aim, Splash!
  • Week 3:  Bottle Rockets – Fireworks Fun
  • Week 4:  Float Your Boat – Boy, oh Buoyancy
  • Week 5:  Solar Oven – Solar Snacks
  • Week 6:  Fly Away – Take Flight
  • Week 7:  Light Leapfrog – Light up the Night
  • Week 8:  Make Your Own Ice Cream – Two Scoops of Science

Week one has already started!  Here is a video from the Woodland Terrarium activity guide:

Summer Brain Game logo small The Quirky Momma team is really excited to be working with the Museum of Science and Industry promoting their amazing Summer Brain Games Activity Series.

The Summer Brain Games Activity Guide can be downloaded for free here.

The Museum of Science and Industry is on Facebook, Twitter as @MSIChicago and Pinterest.

We were provided with supplies and compensation for our time.

4 days later teeth whitening

About Holly

Kids Activities Blog is Holly's blogging home.

She is the mom of three boys ages 7, 10 and 12 who partially homeschools. She believes that you shouldn't have to buy stuff to have fun when there is a kitchen junk drawer full of possibilities.

She can also be found at Business 2 Blogger, on Twitter as @QuirkyMommaSite or @Texasholly, but her favorite place to hang out is on Google +.