The sun is the source of most energy on earth, including energy from wind and waves.  Plus it provides a natural source of vitamin D for our bodies.  This activity introduces kids to the power of solar energy in an easy-to-understand way.  They’ll learn how the energy of the sun can be used to heat up a tasty treat with little more than a pizza box and some sunlight!

Time: 30 minutes to create the solar oven, plus time to cook up a snack.

Who knew a pizza box could double as a solar oven?! (


  • Cardboard pizza delivery box
  • Box knife or scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Black construction paper
  • Stick or dowel

Adult Prep: Assist with cutting the box.

Kids’ Activity:

  1. Use the box knife or a pair of sharp scissors to cut a flap in the lid of the pizza box. Cut along 3 sides, leaving about an inch between the sides of the flap and the edges of the lid.  Fold this flap out so that it stands up when the lid is closed.  Cover the inner side of the flap with aluminum foil so that the rays of the sun will be reflected off.
  2. Use clear plastic wrap to create an airtight window for sunlight to enter into the box.  Do this by opening the box and taping a double layer of plastic wrap over the opening you made by cutting the flap into the lid.  Leave about an inch of plastic overlap around the sides and tape each side down securely, sealing out air.
  3. Line the bottom of the box with aluminum foil to reflect heat and then cover that with black construction paper—the color black absorbs heat.
  4. Now your oven is ready to try out!  Take it outside and adjust the angle of the flap until the most sunlight possible is reflecting off the foil and onto the plastic-covered window.  Use a stick or dowel to prop the flap at the right angle once you’ve determined it.

Your solar oven will reach about 200 degrees on a sunny day, but it will take longer to heat things than a conventional oven.  Try melting mozzarella cheese on whole wheat toast with tomatoes and basil, warming leftovers for lunch, or experimenting with any other foods you’re curious about!

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA

A healthy lifestyle isn’t all about food: keeping kids active and fostering their creativity is essential for healthy development, too!  In this blog, I’ll be sharing weekly activity ideas for families to do together.

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