When it starts up in Summer we can get a little stir crazy being inside an air conditioned house all day. During a week-long heat wave, I came up with some art projects and experiments to try that harnessed the energy of the sun. Here are three quick down and dirty ideas.
Crayon Melty Art
Using a cheese grater and some extra crayons, we shaved little bits of crayon onto a small canvas and left it in the sun for a few hours. It was fun to see how different colors melt faster than others (hint: darker colors melt faster because they absorb more heat). I used some cheap contact paper to mask off a heart shape on once canvas to create a negative space image. Lesson we learned: Wear white on a hot day to absorb less heat.
Sun Bleached Art
We created marker art that was roughly the same on the left and the right, then covered half the paper with black construction paper and left in the sun for most of a day. This would have been fun to try over the course of several days, but we were all antsy to see how the art turned out. Lesson we learned: If the sun can fade this art imagine what it can do to your skin! This is why sunblock is important.
Solar Oven S’Mores
I have always been obsessed with Solar Ovens ever since I learned about them as a Brownie Girl Scout (many years ago). We had some extra s’mores fixings from our back yard camping trip, so I thought it would be a fun experiment to try cooking some with the power of the Sun! While there are many types and methods of making a solar oven, we just went for a simple model: A box lined with aluminum foil, covered with cling wrap. I tried to used the lid of the box, also covered in foil, to reflect extra sunlight in the box, but the wind kept knocking it over and it worked just fine without it. We left a graham cracker with a marshmallow on top in the sun for about 5 hours in direct sunlight. Then I added chocolate and another graham cracker on top and let it melt for about one minute. Lesson We Learned: We can only eat one s’more in a sitting. It’s just too rich to have seconds.