The Oven You Want Your Kids To Play With

Today I’m missing Mayberry, the neighbors who moved away and the cousins who live just too far to come over and play. Chances are you have a few Mayberry friends too. It’s the family with kids the same age as yours, and if you’re really lucky, the parents are fun to hang with too. You dream of how perfect the world would be if your Mayberry friends just lived a little closer.

Kirkham Solar oven
Our six-year-old scientist and his DIY solar oven making a “grilled cheese.”

To make my own Mayberry, I’m sharing this fun science project–a DIY solar oven–with all my Mayberry friends and family. It’s the perfect, kid-friendly oven for making grilled cheese, nachos or even s’mores! You could put the kids in charge of dinner if you really wanted. 

You know, my Mayberry friends, if you lived a little closer, we’d do it together. But since we don’t have time to pack our bags tonight, just have fun experimenting over the weekend and send us your pictures when you can. When you miss your Mayberry friends and family, this project will show your kids how a little sunlight delivers great joy and a pretty awesome grilled cheese too.


  • Small piece of cardboard (any Amazon box leftovers will do)
  • Black construction paper (a black magic marker or black fabric should work too)
  • Foil (sorry, you got to have foil)
  • Scissors (unless your children like to rip things with their bare hands)
  • Cooking ingredients (bread and cheese if you’re making grilled cheese)

Solar oven


1. Cut your cardboard into a small rectangle.

2. Cut out squares on each corner. Fold to make flaps on all four sides. (See pic to left.)

3. Cut out foil to wrap around cardboard flaps.

4. Cut black construction (or fabric/marker) to fit the bottom base of the cardboard rectangle.

5. Put your bread and cheese sandwich on the black paper. And put your oven in the sunlight.

6. Check your grilled cheese every 15 minutes to see how it’s cooking. You can also try to cook nachos or even better – s’mores!

7. Enjoy and share the recipe and pictures with all your Mayberry friends and family!

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