In June it seems anything is possible for the summer. Kids are excited to be home, and moms have bucket lists full of ideas of things to try with the kids.
If you’re anything like me, you are looking for a few more ideas by mid-July. Making sun prints is a simple kids summer STEM activity that is perfect for all those sunny days ahead.
Making sun prints is a simple science and art activity (STEAM activity) that is perfect for summer. It works best on a clear, sunny day.
Making Solar oven s’mores is another great summer STEM activity you’ll definitely want to try!
Summer STEM Activity: Making Solar Prints
For our sun prints we used black construction paper. Black paper gives the best results, but if you don’t have black you can use another dark color.
Ask your child find several fairly flat items to make your prints with. The objects should be heavy enough not to get blown off the paper.
Take the paper and objects outside. Be sure to place your paper where it will get at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. (You may want to use a bit of tape to keep the paper from blowing away.)
Have your child arrange the items on the paper and then allow it to sit in the sun for several hours.
Wait at least 2 hours before checking your sun prints. If you want your prints to be darker, wait at least 4 hours.
For best results, don’t move the objects. (In the picture below the darker objects weren’t moved, but you can see my daughter moved a couple buttons part way through, causing their silhouette to be much lighter.)
The flatter the object, the crisper your prints will be. Buttons left behind some of our best sun prints.
My son chose a few vehicles for his. See how they each cast a shadow on the paper? The images left behind don’t have edges that are as defined. But he was thrilled with the results anyway.
You can also do this STEM activity with specially made sun art paper.
When you’re finished with your sun prints you can talk about the power of the sun and how much it faded the paper.
Your child might also have fun matching the objects back up to the silhouette left behind.
Making sun prints is the perfect summer STEM activity on a sunny day.
You may also want to add these to your summer list of ideas: