Pizza Box Solar Oven Smores: yummy science fun for kids of all ages!

Hands up if you like smores!  I like smores.  My kids love smores!  Really, you can’t go wrong with stuffing melted chocolate and gooey marshmallow into your mouth, right?

Perhaps I’m getting a little too excited about all this.  But, I have reason.  For our family, smores are an eat-outside-only food, so that means we get them only when we have a campfire.  So, what do you do when there’s a fire-ban for the majority of camping season?  No campfires means no s’mores…  Until, my sister-in-law visited and changed all that!  She taught me this super cool outdoor pizza box solar oven smores activity.

How to make s’mores in a pizza box solar oven? The Quick Answer!

  1. Make your solar oven by cutting a large window in the lid of your pizza box and sealing that window with plastic wrap
  2. Add the graham crackers topped with chocolate and marshmallows into the box
  3. Close the box, position it to get the full sun’s heat
  4. Wait until the marshmallow is soft and chocolate is melty
  5. Open the box, finish of your s’more with another cracker and enjoy!

Read on below for more details, tips, and suggestions!

smores cooking in pizza box solar ovens. text reads backyard science and fun, how to make solar oven smores

Have you ever leafed through camping activity books?  If so, chances are you’ve seen some sort of solar oven diy idea in there… and there are all sorts of ways to make them. 

I think pizza box solar ovens and shoe box solar ovens are probably the most popular designs.  Really, any box will do.  All you need to do is create an enclosed, windowed space that will retain heat.  Think of getting into your vehicle on a hot sunny day.  (You could probably just make the s’mores on your car dash if you wanted, but that’s less fun and way more messy).

How to make pizza box solar oven smores

1. Gather your diy pizza box oven supplies!

Supplies you’ll need to cook s’mores in a pizza box solar oven:

  • A sunny day
  • An empty pizza box (or shoe box)
  • Plastic wrap (although a piece of glass, from a picture frame would work as well)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Chop sticks or a 12 inch ruler
  • Graham Crackers
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate melting wafers, or a thin bar of chocolate 
supplies needed to make pizza box solar oven smores: boxes, tinfoil, plastic wrap, tape, marshmallows, crackers, and chocolate bars
Our supplies for making smores in the pizza box solar oven

2. How to Construct the Pizza Box Solar Oven

  1. Cut a large flap into the top of the pizza box. You will want the flap to lift up to become a sun reflector.  See the pictures for how the flap should be cut.
  2. Tape aluminum foil to the bottom (inside) of the flap.
  3. You can also put aluminum foil on the inside bottom of the pizza box. We also experimented with black paper.
  4. Tape plastic wrap over the window of the pizza box lid. Or, place your piece of glass here when ready.
melting marshmallows and chocolate in a homemade solar oven
The chopstick is keeping the reflective flap open and reflecting heat down into the pizza box

3. Cook your solar oven smores!

  1. You’ll lay out your smores inside the box: graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow (note we did not place another cracker on top)
  2. Cover the window if it isn’t covered yet.
  3. Prop up the reflective flap if needed. We used chop sticks to do this.
  4. Watch and wait. Go play.  Then watch some more.
baby hands pressing down on a pizza box solar oven

4. Eat them up!

  • You’ll need to stick your finger in and give the marshmallows and chocolate a poke to see when they’re ready.
  • Carefully open the box when you think they’re ready
  • Grab a cracker, smush it down on top and enjoy!
  • Ours took about 20 minutes to melt, but we didn’t do it on a particularly hot day
a close up of a smore, a child eating a cracker, and a pizza box solar oven

Adding a touch of Science to your pizza box solar oven smores activity…

We used this activity to investigate heat retention with the dark paper compared to the aluminum foil.  While we didn’t notice a difference in temperature between the two, the kids did enjoy using the thermometers to check the temperatures inside the boxes.  Perhaps it might have been a better experiment had we just compared white to black paper on the bottom.  Or, perhaps we should have also experimented with different heat measuring techniques.

A few more suggestions to encourage scientific exploration with this solar oven activity:

  • Try different sized solar oven and time the temperature rising in each one: does the size of the oven affect how quickly it heats up?
  • Does using a reflector help heat the oven faster?
  • What about the angle of the sun’s rays into the solar oven: time of day, sun’s positioning, solar oven’s positioning? Does that affect the heat?
  • Does the material of the solar oven’s window affect the heat? Plastic wrap, plastic, glass? Nothing?
smores cooking in a solar oven with a frog thermometer reading the outdoor temperature
Turn your solar oven s’mores snack into a science lesson too!

Solar cooking science update: A reader recently shared with me how her son started experimenting with solar ovens and came across a site full of great information all about solar ovens. Click here for the solar oven info page. (Thanks Jordan!)

Handmade pizza box solar ovens for cooking smores in your backyard
Making s’mores in our pizza box solar ovens

I find that any time we include food in our outdoor adventures the kids are always very eager to come out and participate.  This activity was a definite hit for all the kids that afternoon, from baby to10 years old, and the adults too! 

If you’re looking for other ideas on getting kids excited to go outside, head over to this post on top tips for getting children outdoors.


8 thoughts on “Pizza Box Solar Oven Smores: yummy science fun for kids of all ages!”

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