Make a batch of Sunshine Tea!
Make a batch of Sunshine Tea!
none

The heat of the sun provides lots of opportunities for fun in the summer. However, most summer pastimes don't focus specifically on the sun. For a change of pace, try out some sun activities that make use of our solar system's center.

You can make use of the sun's heat to make tea or even to cook. You can use the light of the sun to make different types of art. And you can experiment with the sun and its affect on your body and the world around you.

Follow the instructions below for easy yet interesting sun activities that your kids will enjoy:

Sunshine Tea

Make some delicious tea using one of our fun recipes -- great for a hot weather treat.

Hot Dog!

Cooking with the sun -- what could be more fun? Make your own sun oven and get ready for lunch.

Solar-Powered Pictures

Use sunlight to make a cool work of art. All you need is light-sensitive paper and a bright day.

Sun Portraits

Test Suntan Lotion

Be a scientist with this project and use the scientific way to determine which suntan lotion does the best job.

Don't Sweat It

Do an interesting experiment that will demonstrate the power of perspiration.

For more fun activities and crafts, check out:

Sunshine Tea

Make a batch of Sunshine Tea!
Make a batch of Sunshine Tea!
none

Prepare some tasty herbal tea by cooking it with sunshine! Try out this fun sun activity.

What You'll Need:

  • 1-quart glass or plastic jar with top
  • Water
  • Tea bags

Fill a clear jar with water. Add 3 tea bags of your favorite tea. Cover the jar, and set it outside in the sunshine on a warm sunny day.

Let the tea brew for 4 hours. Remove the tea bags, and refrigerate until cool. Then treat yourself and your friends to a cool sun-brewed drink!

To cook something up to go with your Sunshine Tea -- again using the sun as the heat source -- try out the hot dogs described on the next page.

For more fun activities and crafts, check out:

Hot Dog!

Cook a hot dog -- with the sun!
Cook a hot dog -- with the sun!
none

You know the sun is hot, but you didn't know it was this hot! Make a solar oven and cook a hot dog with this sunny activity for kids.

What You'll Need:

  • A cylindrical oatmeal box
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil
  • Hot dog

Have a grownup cut an oatmeal box in half lengthwise. Line half of the box with aluminum foil. (Put the shiny side up.)

Take your solar oven outside and put it in the bright, hot sun. The aluminum foil will cause the sunlight to reflect from one side of the 'oven' to the other, making it really hot. Put a hot dog in your solar oven, and watch it sizzle!

For another good sun tea recipe to go with your solar hot dogs, see the next page and Put the Sun to Work!

For more fun activities and crafts, check out:

Solar-Powered Pictures

Make some Solar-Powered Pictures!
Make some Solar-Powered Pictures!
none

Here is a great sun activity -- making solar-powered pictures using sunlight.

What You'll Need:

  • Flat objects like keys, leaves, and flowers
  • Safe scissors
  • Stiff cardboard
  • Flat pan, glass baking dish or sheet of clear acrylic
  • Light-sensitive paper (such as Sunprint brand paper)

First, assemble the materials you want to make prints from. Grass, leaves, and flowers make good prints. You can also look around the house for small objects such as keys, paper clips, and shaped erasers.

Cut a sheet of stiff cardboard a little larger than the printing paper. In a dim place, lay your objects on the cardboard and decide how to arrange them. Then set the objects aside and make a print.

Pour water in a flat pan and have it ready to develop your prints. Open the package of light-sensitive paper and remove one sheet. Lay the sheet on the cardboard, then arrange your objects on the paper. Set the glass baking dish or clear acrylic on the paper. Lift the whole stack and set in bright sun for three to five minutes.

Remove the paper and soak in the water for about one minute. Set your print in a dry, shady place to dry. You will see white shadows on a blue background.

Frame your finished prints and decorate your bedroom wall with them, or use them to make cards, bookmarks, party invitations, or anything you think of.

For another fun art project to make using sunlight, try the Sun Portraits on the next page.

For more fun activities and crafts, check out:

Sun Portraits

Calling all Picassos! See what happens when you use the sun to draw a sun portrait. Learn how to do this creative sun activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Large piece of paper
  • Rocks
  • Friend
  • Markers
  • Paint
  • Leaves, sticks, seeds
  • Glue

Sun's up! On a sunny morning, place a large piece of paper on the ground and put some rocks on the corners of it to keep it from blowing away. Stand next to the paper so your shadow falls on it. Then have your friend trace the outline of your shadow onto the page. You can do the same for your friend.

Now you're ready to get a little creative with your shadowy self. Using paint or markers, color your shadow or make crazy designs inside of it. If you like, make a collage inside your shadow using leaves, seeds, sticks, or whatever else you find around the yard.

Come back to your creation later in the day and trace another shadow next to the one you traced earlier. Since the sun is in a different place in the sky, your shadow will have a whole new look.

Don't want to get burned by the sun while you're doing projects like this one? Test out suntan lotions using the directions on the next page.

For more fun activities and crafts, check out:

Test Suntan Lotion

Test Suntan Lotions yourself!
Test Suntan Lotions yourself!
none

How well does your favorite lotion protect against sunrays? Test suntan lotion to find out.

Sunscreen and tanning lotions screen out radiation. It's the UV (ultraviolet) waves in sunlight -- not the sun's heat -- that browns skin and can cause sunburn or skin cancer. Many people use sunscreen to prevent UV damage.

What You'll Need:

  • Stiff cardboard
  • Safe scissors
  • Light-sensitive paper (such as Sunprint brand paper)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tape
  • Various suncreens and tanning lotions
  • Keys or other flat objects
  • Paper clips
  • Flat pan

To test sunscreen and tanning lotions, make testing frames from cardboard and plastic wrap. Cut a square of cardboard four inches wider and longer than the light-sensitive paper sheets. Cut a hole in the center of the cardboard the same size as the light-sensitive paper. Cover the hole with plastic wrap and tape in place. Cut a second square of cardboard the same size as the first to go under the frame.

Make as many testing frames as you need to test the various brands of lotion you have.

Put a dab of sunscreen on the plastic wrap of one frame. Spread it thinly and evenly over the entire surface.

Lay a sheet of light-sensitive paper in the middle of the solid cardboard square. Set a key or similar flat object in the middle of the paper, and cover with the testing frame. Paper clip the frame to the cardboard to hold everything together.

Set the stack in bright sunlight for exactly three minutes. Bring indoors. Remove the paper and soak it in a flat pan filled with water for exactly one minute. Let the paper dry completely.

Repeat the process with a clean frame for each lotion. Do one test using just the frame and no lotion at all for comparison. Which lotion worked best? Remember, the darker the paper, the more sunlight came through.

Learn more about how perspiration can cool you off on a hot, sunny day on the next page.

For more fun activities and crafts, check out:

Don't Sweat It

Check out this interesting sun activity, and cool down while you heat up.

What You'll Need:

  • Towel
  • Hot summer day

Perspiration is the human body's natural cooling system. But does it really make a difference? There's one way to find out.

The next time a hot day settles on your hometown, take a towel outside and sit in the sun for 30 minutes. For the first 15 minutes, wipe away every drop of sweat you can find as soon as you feel it sneak out. Don't wait an instant.

Once those 15 minutes are complete, sit as you normally would, just letting the perspiration pour.

Which 15 minutes felt cooler? The answer will give you a whole new perspective on the beauty of a really good sweat. As soon as you're done, go inside and drink some water to rehydrate!

For more fun activities and crafts, check out:

ABOUT THE ACTIVITY DESIGNERS:

The following activities were designed by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls:

Solar-Powered PicturesSun PortraitsTest Suntan LotionDon't Sweat It