Sun ovens lined up for the bake off

Across the street from the urban homestead, sun ovens lined up in the school parking lot for the bake off

Yesterday, we spent a wonderful afternoon across the street from the urban homestead with some very energetic 3rd graders who, for their science & social studies project, had to build a pizza box solar ovens. Not only did they do a great job of making the pizza box ovens, tbut hey also decorated the ovens with recycled materials! Great job, guys and gals.  There were some pretty impressive ovens displayed – loved the one with the CD mixer attached! Guess this kid had visions of baking & being a DJ – mixing up some cool music and good eats.

In the classroom, we talked about the principles of trapping light for cooking and how the sun is a renewable resource.


Here’s an OLD video of me demoing how to make your own Pizza Box Sun Oven (note: I said it’s rather OLD so I KNOW there’s some issues with using the black paint, etc, etc)

Learning about harnessing the sun's energy

Q & A time

Now for the hands on learning, pass out the cookie dough!

First step in cooking with the sun - face the oven towards the sun

The kids look at our oven and wonder are the cookies ready yet?

Kids check on their cookies, see how well they are baking

Then it was outside to see the solar ovens at work! Thankfully, the sun peeked thru the June morning gloom just in time for us to bake some chocolate chip cookies, though I think we and the kids could have eaten the raw cookie dough just fine.

We brought our Sport Sun Oven (also made out of recycled materials) out for the cook off to show the kids another type of sun oven within minutes the cookie tray in our solar oven was too hot to touch! The kids were amazed how much heat was generated in such a short time.

:: Resources ::

What is a solar oven? Solar ovens are ovens that use the sun’s power to bake, boil or steam a meal without gas or electricity. They can be used on weekend trips to the mountains, in your own backyard or in rural areas, basically anywhere the sun shines! Solar ovens allow food to be cooked slowly, allowing the nutrients to stay in the meal, and permitting the cook to not worry about burning the food.

Pizza Box Sun Oven Plans

Solar Science Lesson Plan (PDF)

Collection of sun ovens from our online shop

Cooking With Sunshine

Solar Cooking Primer & Cookbook

How to Make & Enjoy Solar Cookers

Using Energy (This a kid’s book that our family was featured in that shows us installing our solar panels on our garage roof.  In fact, we donated a copy to the school’s library, too!)


  1. Bethany says:

    Cool little ovens! Now I’ll have to make one with my kids. 🙂

    I was wondering if you guys have any kind of tutorial on how to hook up the country mill wheat grinder to a bike? My husband and I have one hooked up, but it’s really hard to use and our belt keeps slipping, so I keep thinking that there has to be an easier way.

    Thanks for all you do! I love your site!

  2. Laura @ Getting There says:

    Very cool! Thank you for the links. I think making a solar oven would be a great project for me to do with my kids in the summer when they’re having one of those “I’m so bored!” kind of days.

  3. Tim says:

    That looks like fun! One more summer project for the kids…

  4. Sarah says:

    Such a clever idea. I think I’ll have to do it with my kids to. What do you suggest to use instead of black paint?

  5. We Live Simply link love | we live simply :: learning to live simply so others may simply live says:

    […] Food :: Sun oven cook off […]

  6. Anais says:

    Thanks for the positive comments, glad we got to inspire you with another cool project. Especially one for KIDS

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