Kids Are Curious About Renewables
Teaching about solar projects for kids will be a rewarding experience for you and your children. Kids share a special relationship with the sun. It’s one of the first things they normally draw.
The sun is one of the first things they feel and experience when they step out of their house. They never shy away from playing in the sun and its constant rays never feel too hot to them.
DIY solar projects for kids will help them understand how many ways the sun is part of life. Let’s help children know about renewable forms of energy and how solar energy fits into their future.
Some solar projects for kids we have here explain how the sun's rays can be harnessed to generate power.
Benefits Of Engaging In Solar Projects For Kids
- Kids can learn about renewable energy sources and those that are non-renewable
- Kids get to know about all energy forms and the fuels they are based on. They may learn about the greenhouse gas effects and the advantages associated with not burning fossil fuel.
- A simple solar project for kids teaches them that a renewable source of energy is a clean energy source. These projects give children a sense of awareness about their environment and teach about what being ‘green’ means.
- Children will learn how to collect the sun’s energy and how to use the power generated.
- Doing these projects develops creativity and problem-solving capabilities of children.
- These projects are an excellent way to keep kids occupied doing science while educating them. These experiments are practical help for parents with curious kids during vacations.
- Parents know it’s always fun to work on something practically interesting with children.
Solar Projects For Kids That Interest Kids
Cooking Nachos with a Solar Oven
- Kids love to play at cooking stuff. Show the kids how to make a solar oven. All you need is a rectangular cardboard box, some aluminium foil, some tape and a poster board. Now you are set for your kids solar energy project.
- Kids can make a solar oven that warms up simple foods, like burgers, pizza slices, and even melt some cheese over nachos. There are many methods depending on the method of using the sun’s rays. The first method uses solar concentration.
- Cut symmetrical u-shaped curves along the top edge of two sides of the box. These should be formed on the two longer edges, from one corner to the next. Cover a piece of poster board with aluminum foil. The poster board should be sufficiently long to cover the box inside the curves. Curve this reflective poster board to line the top of the box along the curves. The box should now resemble a half-pipe at a skateboard park.
- When placed under direct sunlight, the foil along the upper ends of the curve will direct the sunlight inwards to a focus towards the bottom of the curve, into the center of the box. Help the kids make skewer supports using leftover pieces of cardboard,. Secure them to either side of the box, just above the bottom of the curved foil.
- The kids can see a hot dog getting roasted on these makeshift skewers, or place their burger or pizza slice on a foil plate and heat it. You can teach children that a solar oven heating works on the refection of the sun light. Get them to time the heating process under various conditions.
- The picture above shows another way of making this solar cooker by using the foil differently. These solar ovens are made from using pizza boxes.
Below is a video explaining how to make these ovens.
Solar Projects For Kids - Cardboard Castles
Kids know about windows and they will have drawn them on the outside of the box. Place a thermometer inside the cardboard castle and one outside and have the castle in the sunlight. Have them compare the inside and outside castle temperatures without any windows.
Help them in cutting out the windows on the sides of their box, and explain how a house gets heated through sunlight entering through windows. Cover the windows with plastic and after a time take the temperatures again. The thermometers will show the temperature difference between the air inside of the cardboard box castle that has windows and outside. You can show the kids using thermometers how the sun affects indoor temperatures.
Explain to the kids about insulation; what it does and show them that there are different types of insulation. Materials like aluminium foil, foam board, paper, wool and fibre batts all have different abilities as insulation. Let them feel what light and dark colours of fabric feel like under the sunlight.
It might take a little time but show them by using one insulating material at a time how different materials can insulate. Help them line this cardboard castle or house with all these materials along the walls and ceilings. The kids can read the thermometer inside and out and find which type of insulation works best for heating the home and keeping it cool. You can try cutting windows into the insulation to see if there is a difference in house temperature.
Tea Time And Solar Projects For Kids
Have you tried to use solar energy for making ‘sun tea’. For this project find four tea bags, a clear glass jar, a container the same size that isn’t clear, and water. Start the project in the morning and ask the kids to fill the jars to the same level with water and put two tea bags in each jar.
They can taste the strength of the tea using a spoon at two hourly intervals. Have them note the temperature of the water using a thermometer when they do the taste testing every two hours, until the evening. There will be two sets of reading; one for the transparent (clear) jar and one for the container that is not transparent. The clear jar is not blocking the sun’s rays and the other jar will be. This project will show how the sun’s energy produces more heat in containers that don’t block the sun’s rays.
Solar Powered Night Lamps
These solar projects for kids might need you to visit a hardware store. Unless you have few spare solar lights in the garden you might visit a shop to buy small solar lights that will fit the top of mason jars. The Solar garden light comes in a variety of sizes and looks.
Not all garden lights are going to work in making this mason jar night lamp so find a model that can be disassembled. Separate the stake piece of the solar light from the body and remove the top solar panel piece. Try to keep the plastic casing around the LED light because it generally has a metal reflector and that will help you get a brighter light from your mason jar lamp.
Remove the lid of your mason jar, take the lid of the jar and separate its flat part from the ring. The solar light should fit snugly into the center of that ring. If there is some gap between the ring and the solar light, try wrapping it with some foam. Fix the light into the center of the lid, and put a single layer of tape around the light.
Slide the light back into the ring until the top of the solar panel is in line with the ring of the lid. Screw the lid back on top of the mason jar and your night lamp is ready to be charged. Place it in direct sunlight and enjoy a glowing night lamp. For added effects, you can use some frosted glass spray paint.
Make Solar Crayons
Find some thin paper cups, a handful of old broken crayons, and some aluminium foil. Help your kids put the broken crayons into the paper cups. Put the cups and pieces of crayons in the dished out semicircular aluminium foil that has been used to created a make-shift solar oven. Cover the foil and cups with some clear plastic wrap.
The sun's energy will go through the clear plastic wrap and be concentrated by the foil to heat the cups and melt the crayons. When the cups have cooled this will give you new multi-coloured crayons in the shape of the paper cup. This will teach kids about the solar heating process and be fun for kids to recycle their old crayons.
Solar Updraft Tower
Find three or four old tins cans, two bricks, two thin strips of cardboard, a pin and coloured paper to make a pinwheel. We can use this assortment of materials to make a solar updraft tower. Your kids will learn about solar energy and air movement through this project. They might also learn about recycling. That will become clear with using waste products lying around the house.
Cut the bottom and tops out of the empty tin cans then tape them together at the ends using duct tape with the top of one to the bottom of another. Paint the outside of the can tower with black paint. Cut two strip pieces of cardboard to span across of the topmost can in the vertical axis in the shape of a cross.
Right at the centre of the cross, tape a straight pin or nail pointing upwards. Place the two bricks in a sunny place with a space between them. Now balance your cans tower on top these two bricks.
Next, make a paper pinwheel and balance it on top of the pin. When the tower is in the sunlight, the heat from the sun will warm the air inside the cans tower. Before long the sun on the cans will cause the air to warm and rise. The rising air will draw the air in from below. You will then see the beautiful effect of the convective updraft as it starts spinning the pinwheel.
Solar Powered Toy Car
If you have some spare cash and don’t mind spending it on some basic items you can experiment with moving machines like Mr. Gadget.
- plastic gears, wheels & axles for the base,
- a small solar cell or a waterproof portable solar panel (generally these are used for a phone charger),
- a small electric motor (both with wires connected to them), and
- some strong glue.
This particular solar energy project for kids will show them how to make a solar-powered toy car. This short video demonstrates how you make a solar-powered car.
You can buy these items listed above at a hobby store or you can buy a preassembled solar toy car kit on line. Click below to see where you can buy a solar toy car similar that is cheap and already assembled.
Similar educational kits are also available to make a solar powered robot.
More Solar Energy Projects For Kids
Using those same principles as above, using a small waterproof solar panel, small electric motors, wires and propellers other toys can be made. Add some plastic cool-drink bottles, kids can create an solar powered electric motor boat. You have no limits with solar projects for kids. Creative processes can be an empowering experience for teachers and students alike.
You might visit a hobby shop, maybe improvise or buy a solar kit on-line. Assembling toys for the purpose of sharing your time wth the kids is the educational aspect of solar projects for kids. Maybe for you it might just assembling a solar toy.
These are educational projects that teach kids a lot about renewable energy, and being creative. While you show them the steps of the toy assembly explain about using the sun's power as a source of clean energy. Solar projects for kids is about having fun as well as learning.
Your kids will be ahead of the game knowing about renewable energy sources like solar energy and wind. It is an good opportunity early in their life to learn from a practical demonstration what solar power can do.
Teaching the kids about solar energy will ensure that they know about making good energy choices as they grow. One of these early developers might create a technology that will take renewable energy and their applications to new levels. Teach the young generation of today about fun practical sources of renewable energy and tomorrow they will be the stars of innovation.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article about solar projects for kids and I hope you can share what you discovered with your young friends.
Leave a comment about what you think about solar toys.
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