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Sick of the Heat? Use It to Your Advantage With This Kid-Friendly Solar Oven DIY

Use the summer heat wave to your advantage by making a solar oven that sustainably cooks your food. Better yet, you can use upcycled materials you already have on hand, including a pizza box.

solar oven diy
Written by
Riley Baker
This summer
has been a hot one
, to say the least. Temperatures are reaching record highs around the globe, with Italy bracing for its
"most intense heat wave" ever
this week. Since there's not much we can do
about the heat
right now, why not use it to our advantage? Starting with making a solar oven to cook your food.
According to
SciShow Kids
, solar ovens work a lot like typical kitchen ovens—but instead of using electricity or gas to power them, they cook food using energy from the sun, aka
solar energy
. If you set the solar oven outside and place food inside of it, the heat from the sun cooks it—no natural resources needed. What's even cooler is that you can make your own solar oven using three upcycled materials: a pizza box, aluminum foil, and
plastic wrap
Ready to assemble a solar oven of your own? Grab your kiddo and your materials, then follow the instructions below. The science project will keep them entertained for hours.

How to Make a Solar Oven

solar oven diy
Making a solar oven is easy: You just need a box and an insulator to trap the heat (and lead to the eco-cooking magic). A leftover
pizza box
makes the perfect base for this DIY.
1. First, cover the inside of the pizza box with aluminum foil, then tape it down over the edges of the box.
2. Cut a flap of cardboard on the top of the box. The bigger the flap, the better, as this allows more sunlight into the box to cook the food.
3. Cover the opening of the flap with plastic wrap, securing it around the edges of the flap. This creates a window for the sun to shine through without releasing heat from the box.
4. Tape aluminum foil to the bottom of the window flap, which reflects sunlight into the box.
5. To ensure as much light enters the box as possible, use a pencil or stick to keep the flap up, as shown in the photo above.
6. Because dark colors absorb heat from the sunlight, use a black or dark-colored plate inside the solar oven to best cook your food.

What to Cook in Your Solar Oven

So, what should you try cooking in your solar oven? According to
Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair
, a great place to start is with some s'mores.
Assemble the dessert—a marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers—and put it on the plate in your solar oven. Then, put it outside in the hot sun and wait. It shouldn't be long before you have a hot and toasty treat to enjoy, all thanks to solar energy.
You can also try cooking nachos, tortilla pizzas, or a grilled cheese sandwich. The options are endless when it comes to this fun and sustainable oven.