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 and no smores… Until, my sister-in-law visited and changed all that! She taught me this super cool outdoor activity.
Have you ever leafed through any camping activity books? Usually, there’s some sort of solar oven idea in there with 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 smores on your car dash if you wanted, but that’s less fun and way more messy).
This is how we made our pizza box solar oven smores:
1. Gather your supplies. You’ll need
- A sunny day
- An empty pizza box
- Plastic wrap (although a piece of glass, from a picture frame would work as well)
- Aluminum Foil
- Chop sticks or a 12 inch ruler
- Graham Crackers
- Chocolate melting wafers, a thin bar of chocolate (Or you could make them super exciting and make candy bar smores with your favourite chocolate bar or treat!)
2. How to Make the Pizza Box Solar Oven
- 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.
- Tape aluminum foil to the bottom (inside) of the flap.
- You can put aluminum foil on the inside bottom of the pizza box. We also experimented with black paper.
- Tape plastic wrap over the window of the pizza box lid. Or, place your piece of glass here when ready.
3. Get Cooking
- You’ll lay out your smores inside the box: graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow (note we did not place another cracker on top)
- Cover the window if it isn’t covered yet.
- Prop up the reflective flap if needed. We used chop sticks to do this.
- Watch and wait. Go play. Then watch some more.
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 another cracker on top and enjoy!
- Ours took about 20 minutes to melt, but we didn’t do it on a particularly hot day
6. 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.
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 to 10 years old. 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.
What should you do now?
- I’d love to hear how your pizza box solar oven smores turned out! Comment below or share on Take Them Outside Facebook or Twitter.
- Getting outside and connecting your family with nature is an important part of Take Them Outside. If you’d like to learn more and stay connected, sign up for our newsletter. You’ll receive tips, goodies, activity ideas, and guides delivered right to your inbox every few weeks. These little emails will serve as an inspiration and a reminder to take them outside.
P.S. Because I know that life is busy sometimes I’ve also created this free mini-course on finding the time to bring nature into your family’s daily routine. It only takes a few minutes a day to grow stronger nature connections and experience greater wellbeing from our surrounding natural world.