The sun is an amazing free resource for light and heat that can provide heaps of cool activities for the whole family. Here are some creative ways to take advantage of the sun this summer.

Cool Stuff To Do With The Power of the Sun

Here are my tomatoes. I put them out in the sun at 10.30 am. The temperature was over 30 degrees.6 things to do on a really hot day

1. Slow cooking tomatoes in the sun

This is so much fun. Try slow cooking tomatoes in the sun. It needs to be over 35˚C (which is pretty achievable in most parts of Australia in the height of summer.

The different varieties of tomatoes mean that you have a selection to choose from by size and taste. It adds to the fun and can be a fun way to teach children about healthy foods. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C.

Fresh herbs complement tomatoes deliciously. Layer tomatoes, herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil in a clean glass jar with an airtight lid and then slow cook tomatoes to create a delicious  topping for bruschetta, fish, eggs or pasta packed with flavour.

See our little snap guide for full instructions:  How to Slow Cook Tomatoes in the Sun by Liveability Little Guides on Snapguide.

2. Fabric dyeing with the sun

InkodyeHeliographic prints, or sun prints, use the sunlight to naturally imprint a shape or outline to a fabric. It’s a simple process where you apply a dye or paint to a fabric, lay an object on top and leave it in the sun to dry.

Lumi’s Inkodye is a water-based dye that develops in sunlight or bright UV in about 10 to 20 minutes on a bright day. It works quickly – so plan your design. Inkodye can be used on natural fabrics including linen, which is a cool and breathable fabric perfect for summer.

The possibilities for what you can create are endless. Check out the Lumi website to be inspired by projects and ideas from other creative enthusiasts. To learn more about heliographic prints, see Postmark’d Art.

3. Making NASA’s Simple DIY solar cooker


Solar cookers are fun to make with kids and can be as easy as using a cardboard box and foil.

Download the DIY instructions from NASA.

4. Solar powered lights for sunlit evenings

Solar power is becoming increasingly available, accessible and affordable. Many retailers, such as Bunnings, stock solar powered lights for outdoor areas. Solar powered lights generally contain a LED light bulb connected to a small remote solar charge panel and a battery. These are naturally low maintenance and work best when they are in contact with direct sunlight. It’s also one way to reduce your energy use throughout the year. You can find a variety of solar powered lights including solar fairy lights for celebrations. Use solar powered lights to decorate your space and celebrate in style with our Liveability Party Guide and Liveability Summer Afternoon Tea with the Girls Guide.

11348_all-colours-on-tableFor a more intimate effect, you can use the Sun Jar or a solar powered light in a traditional Mason jar. Simply leave the jar to charge during the day and watch it glow in the evening.

When recycling solar powered lights, remember to dispose of them thoughtfully. Contact your local council for specific advice. You may need to carefully separate the battery and light bulbs to ensure they are recycled at the right recycling stations. Some lights, such as fairy lights, may be too small for some recycling centres while lamps that are bulky might require a council clean-up, once the battery and light bulbs are removed.

Or if you have an innovative way to upcycle solar powered lights, we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

5. Charge your phone or computer with the sun

Screenshot 2015-01-19 13.10.01Changers have created a portable personal solar panel and battery for you to charge your mobile devices. You can even gain credit for the power you generate by earning Recoins.

Moroshi, a featherlight solar panel, can be attached to your window with strong suction cups, or you can take it with you on your backpack while riding your bike. The solar panel Maroshi has a maximum of 4 watt power and can produce in an hour up to 4 watt-hour energy which is saved in the solar battery Kalhuohfummi.
1 hour (h) x 4 watt (W) = 4 watt-hour (Wh) energy
4h x 4W = 16 Wh = full battery = 16 Recoins

How quickly the smart solar battery Kalhuohfummi battery becomes fully charged depends on the angle at which you focus the solar panel to the sun and how strong the sun is shining. Optimally aligned on a sunny day, it takes 4-6 hours. The Kalhuohfummi also has a secondary use … it’s not an ordinary battery, but the tool you can use to make valuable Recoins. The battery measures the amount of solar energy generated and stores it together with your Changers account information. As soon as you connect it to your computer you can see how much energy you have generated.

Screenshot 2015-01-19 13.11.34 Screenshot 2015-01-19 13.11.47When you’re on the go, your Kalhuohfummi is the perfect powerful replacement battery. The battery can fully charge your smartphone two times – or hundreds of other small devices with USB connection, as well as tablet PCs. Super convenient and super good for the environment!

With the Changers solar kit you get green electricity, a CO2-free life and valuable Recoins all at once. Get your Solar Kit here.

5. Create rainbows in your home using crystals

il_570xN.700178013_fedzYou can hang one or a dozen crystals to bring an array of wonderful rainbow colours into your home which bounce around the room like magic.

When you hang crystals in your window, they need to be close enough to the glass to capture the sun’s rays yet not so close that they can’t twirl around. Every crystal will create its own unique pattern so you may like to experiment with the effects they individually make. You can hang several across the width of the window at various heights or create a cluster.

Here’s a small snapshot of the 1960s children’s movie Pollyanna where she explains how to do it!

Cecille Weldon

Cecille Weldon

Head of Liveability Real Estate and with a long career in business development and innovation. Cecille is passionate about creatively collaborating to achieve a better world.

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