5-Creative Ways to Teach your Kids about Solar Energy

Teaching your kids about solar energy #homeschool #earthday




Solar energy is becoming more and more prevalent—by the time children born in 2017 are sitting in a high school science class or being taught from home, it’s possible that their whole school or home will be powered by solar energy. With research being conducted on everything from mass production of solar panels to harnessing solar energy from space, the potential for solar energy to completely replace the use of fossil fuels is on the horizon.


Most of us learned about the power of the sun through lesson plans centered around photosynthesis and the importance of vitamin D, but today’s youth have the opportunity to learn so much more! While we don’t recommend starting out a young child with an in-depth discussion of the photovoltaic effect, there are some easy and fun ways to get your kids thinking about solar energy even from a very young age. Here are some awesome do-it-yourself projects from our friend at Modernize Solar to make learning about solar energy fun and engaging for both kids and parents.


Solar Oven S’mores


solar s'mores #STEM learn about solar #homeschool

Any project that combines science and food is bound to be a successful one. To teach your children about solar energy, try making your own solar powered oven out of tin foil and a cardboard box. Once you’ve built your oven, try cooking your kid’s favorite snack inside. Some crowd pleasers that work nicely are pizza or s’mores. Your children will be proud of their oven and happy with a tasty snack, and you can take the opportunity to teach them about one of the earliest forms of solar panel, the solar thermal collector.


Sun Tea


Make sun tea using solar energy #homeschool

If you give a child a solar cooked meal, they are going to ask for a solar powered drink. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to brew (decaffeinated!) tea for your children using solar energy. A clear jar, a fruit flavored teabag, and water are all you need to demonstrate the power of the sun on a hot day. Add a little patience (and some sugar), and you have the perfect sun tea.




Solar Balloon Race


Learn about solar energy #STEM #projects

Attach a balloon to the top of a soda bottle filled with water. As the sun heats up the water inside the bottle, the water will slowly fill the balloon with hot air. Make the project into a game and have your kids race against each other to see whose balloon will inflate the fastest.


This is a great lesson for teaching kids about how solar panels collect solar energy as heat, and kids will see that a bottle painted black will inflate better than a bottle painted white. Ask your kids if they have noticed the color of the solar panels on the roofs of homes and businesses in your neighborhood and they will make the connection quickly that darker materials are more effective at absorbing energy from the sun.



Homemade Solar Cells


Make a homemade solar cell #homeschool #homeschooling


For the older and more experienced scientists, try building a solar cell out of copper sheets. This project is slightly dangerous and will require close adult supervision, as the copper sheets will need to be heated over a burner or in the oven at a high temperature before being partly submerged in water and attached to electrical leads in order to measure the effect on conductivity.


This experiment is a great opportunity to talk to kids about the photoelectric effect, in which light causes electricity to flow through a material. Albert Einstein studied the photoelectric effect in such great depth that it led him to the theory of relativity and ultimately a Nobel prize in physics.



Solar Lamp


Make a solar lamp #homeschool


Combine a science experiment with a history lesson by teaching your kids about Thomas Edison and his light bulb invention, and then create a solar lamp out of a frosted mason jar, solar cell, battery, and light bulb (these can all be taken from a solar powered yard lamp or, if you’ve mastered the solar cell project above, can be used by making your own cell). Using a frosted jar diffuses the light better, but this project would work just as well with a standard storage jar.



The great thing about science projects with kids is the focus on experimentation. Trial and error are essential parts of the field, so any solar energy experiments performed together will yield educational results. These experiments will lead to conversations about the power of the sun in a variety of circumstances and hopefully result in a deeper understanding of the process of harnessing power from the sun through solar energy.








 Author: Bryn Huntpalmer
About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. I find this very unique and surely helps enhance the minds of our children. At such young age we should be helping our kids stimulate their minds. Anyways, lovely post. Will surely do this activities with the kids.

  2. Great experiments to teach kids about solar energy!

  3. Crystal says:

    Wonderful! I’m excited to try these in our Summer Science Camp!

  4. Great job on the article. Would definitely try this out with my kids as well. Keep it up!

  5. Hello, such a nice article and good content, thanks for sharing with us.


  1. Jimmie Kane says:

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