Did you know that August 10 is National S’Mores Day in the United States? While Congress has not made this an official holiday, you can still enjoy your own s’mores on August 10 – and any other day you have a little sunshine – by making your own S’Mores Solar Oven.
This is a super-easy project that the girls and I made earlier this summer, at a library morning hosted by their elementary school. We’ve tested the ovens several times by now, and can report that they work great. No, the marshmallows won’t get roasted like they do over a campfire, but otherwise the results are just as tasty.
Best of all, you probably already have everything you need to make this craft. And (shh – don’t tell your kids!) there’s nothing like making a s’mores solar oven to sneak some science education into them. Think of it as a super-fun back-to-school warmup activity.
Ready to make your own S’Mores Solar Oven?
Make Your Own S’Mores Solar Oven
What you’ll need:
- A small, flattish box (minimum 2 inches thick) with lid, like a shoebox or a tablet box (for a family-sized s’mores oven, use a pizza delivery box)
- Aluminum foil
- Clear uncolored plastic wrap
- Sharp scissors
- (Optional) A pencil/pen and ruler
- Clear packing tape
- Black construction paper (if you don’t have any, you can use an extra piece of aluminum foil instead)
How to assemble your solar oven:
- On the lid of the box, make three straight connected cuts (like three sides of a rectangle or square). Each cut should be approximately 2 in/5cm from the edge of the lid. (You can draw them out first using a ruler, if you like.)
- Bend back the lid along where the fourth cut would be, to open up a “window” in the top of the box.
- Wrap a piece of aluminum foil securely around both sides of the window flap, so it’s covered; use tape to hold into place if necessary.
- Line the inner sides and bottom of the box with foil. Bend the edges of the foil over to the outer sides of the box, and tape securely in place.
- Cut a piece of black construction paper to fit inside the bottom of the box, on top of the foil lining.
- Cut a piece of plastic wrap that’s a little bigger than the window in the box lid. Tape it securely to the inside of the lid, so it covers the window.
- Cut a small rectangle/square of aluminum foil to sit inside the bottom of the box, on top of the black paper. This piece will be your cooking surface, so swap in a new one whenever the old one gets messy.
How to make s’mores in your solar oven
For those of you unfamiliar with this American delicacy, s’mores (abbreviation for “some more,” because most people find them tasty enough to want seconds!) are a homemade sandwich treat. You make them by breaking a strip of graham crackers into two squares, and sandwiching a hot marshmallow and a piece of slightly melted chocolate between them. In this case, you’ll cook the marshmallow not over a campfire, but inside your solar oven.
- Place two squares of graham cracker on top of the cooking surface, on the inside bottom of your oven.
- Place a piece of chocolate on top of one square, and a marshmallow on top of the other.
- Close the oven carefully and place it in the sun, with the window flap open.
- Check on it every few minutes until the chocolate starts to melt.
- Open the oven lid, make a sandwich with the two halves, and enjoy!
BONUS: The science behind your s’mores solar oven
- If you have an oven thermometer (the kind that goes inside your oven to monitor the temperature), it would be fun to have the kids guess how hot it gets inside your solar oven. We haven’t been able to test this ourselves yet, but I understand that it can get up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, if not more.
- See if your kids can figure out how the solar oven works – in other words, how it harnesses the sun’s energy to cook your s’mores for you. (Hints: the foil on the window flap reflects the sun’s rays down into the oven, and the black “floor” of the oven absorbs heat.)
- Try experimenting with other foods in your solar oven to see what else you can cook inside: hot dogs, fried eggs, cookies, etc.
- Try building larger/different sized ovens for different types of food.
- If you’re really ambitious (and have time to kill), you can have your kids cook for you on their solar ovens the next time you go family camping.
Happy S’Mores Day, and enjoy cooking some s’mores in your new solar oven if you can’t make it to a campfire this August 10!