Library Program: Solar-Powered S’mores Ovens

Full disclaimer: this program was not my idea, I just happened to be working in the teen zone the day it was scheduled, and Miriam, our awesome teen librarian, said she’d work the desk and I could help with the program, which was presented by the environmental studies club at KU for Earth Day. It was such a hit with teens that I had to share it, because I haven’t seen any libraries doing this type of a program. It’s cheap, it illustrates awesome STEAM concepts, and teens get a tasty treat at the end. It’s an all-around win. 

Solar Powered S’mores Ovens

What you need:

  • small pizza boxes (ask your local pizza shop to donate)
  • foil
  • cling wrap
  • black paper
  • tape
  • dowel rods (probably optional)
  • graham crackers
  • chocolate
  • marshmallows

The program began with a short lesson on renewable energy and solar power. Most of the teens that attended were in 6-8th grades and already had a grasp on this, and actually interacted with the KU students when they asked questions. It was great!

The pizza boxes already had a flap cut in the top of the lid, so from there, the teens covered it with foil, taped the black paper to the bottom of the box, and affixed the cling wrap underneath the foil flap.

This was one of our most successful recent one-off programs. We had a few more teens that we had supplies, a few teamed up to build the oven and made their s’mores together. That means we had 15 participants. The difficulty level was just right. Kids weren’t bored, but it wasn’t so challenging that they got frustrated and wanted to give up. They learned, they worked together, they had fun.

Obviously, dietary concerns are valid, and might disappoint teens with allergies, but that’s the only drawback to the program.

Further resources on having a solar-powered s’mores oven program in your library: 


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