From Guest Blogger Chris Long: Three Fun Activities to Teach Your Children the Value of Solar Energy

Raising conscious kids can be a fun and exciting adventure. Teachable moments for your intelligent, curious little ones are available each and every day.

Take, for example, the sun: an incredible resource that provides light and heat and makes life on Earth possible. It is completely free and offers the benefit of solar energy without asking for anything in return.

The only challenge ahead is making this lesson amusing and enjoyable to your child. Here are some fun outdoor activities to teach your children to channel the energy of the sun.

Make Art with the Sun

This activity will teach your children how they can work together with the sun to create art. Have your child pick their favorite color of construction paper and some objects they would like to see outlined on the piece of paper.

Place the paper with the objects arranged as they wish on it and allow them to sit in direct sunlight for the whole day. The dyes inside the construction paper soak up the light from the sun and cause the paper to lighten and fade. You can relate the change of color on the paper to that of sunburn on skin when over exposed to sunlight.

Your finished product is a beautiful piece of art that can be hung on the wall — a wonderful way to honor the relationship your child now has with the sun.

Bake With the Sun

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie? This is a yummy way to learn about solar energy’s ability to heat things in very practical ways.

Mix up your favorite batch of cookie dough. Find a shallow box that has a lid and line it with a black sheet of paper. Then place a sheet of tin foil on top of that.

Cut a square hole out of the lid so the cookie dough can be fully exposed. Cover the hole with plastic wrap to trap in heat and protect your dough from hungry bugs. Make a reflector by wrapping a piece of cardboard with tin foil so you are able to get the most sunlight possible.

Now place your homemade solar oven in direct sunlight and adjust the reflector throughout the day to continue getting the most sun generated heat possible. By the end of the day you and your family will have the sun to thank for your delicious warm cookies. This will teach your child how solar energy can cook their food and feed them.

Have a Cup of Tea with the Sun

Teach your child to make a homemade water heater and use the solar energy of the sun to make a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Use an empty clean aluminum can and cover it with black construction paper (black is the best absorbent of heat). Have your child fill the can with cold water and then place the can in direct sunlight for the day.

After about 4 hours of sitting out in the sun you will have a hot cup of water. If you would like to make your little one a cup of tea, simply place a tea bag in the can while it lays out in the sun. You now have something nice and warm to wash down your solar baked cookies with.

Things like the sun, rain and wind are all clean resources that humans need in order to live healthy lives. When you teach your little ones the value of living an eco-friendly life, you are ensuring that their own children will someday have a beautiful, safe world to live in, as well.

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