Grand sun

Solar energy-themed summer activities can be fun for the whole family

Woman and child in garden

The long summer sunlight hours offer unique opportunities to spend time in the great outdoors. The sun can also inspire ideas — and even power activities — for families looking to have fun. More technology utilizes solar power, offering new tools and ideas for things to do. Families can spend time together with a variety of solar power-themed activities this summer.

Camp with solar-powered equipment

A variety of portable batteries are available for campers to include on trips to power small electronics, including cell phones and even laptops. Companies such as Jackery offer portable batteries that can be charged with solar panels when not in use. A larger solar-powered battery may even power an induction cooktop to prepare meals in the great outdoors. You also can take solar lanterns or a rechargeable flashlight to find your way at night.

Build a solar-powered car kit

A variety of solar-powered car kits are available from online retailers. They vary in complexity, yet the general idea is the same: a small solar panel converts sunlight into power to propel the car. This can be a fun activity encouraging kids to develop problem-solving skills while learning about solar energy.

Plan a garden

Families can set out to create and maintain a garden together all season long, though advanced planning can ensure success. Do you want a flower garden featuring pollinators to attract insects or a vegetable garden to provide you power at mealtime? Also, the level of sun exposure will determine which plants are best for the garden — a shaded area, for instance, means that plants requiring full sunlight might struggle. Solar-powered LEDs could also be included in the garden to provide illumination in the cool evenings.

There is no shortage of outdoor activities that can help families bond in the summer. You can contact your local electric cooperative’s energy advisor for any electricity-related questions — even about solar power. You can also visit for more energy-related tips and advice.