Constructing a solar-powered light in a jar is a great project to do with kids. It can be done at home, or in a classroom, with simple materials, and will serve to give them a good understanding of how solar energy is used.

How To Make A Homemade Solar Light in a Jar

Anna Vera Williams |

The solar light may also prove useful in lighting some areas of the home without adding to the electrical bill. It should be used in spaces which are exposed to sunlight during the day. 
Keep in mind, however, that this light will not be very powerful, and should not be relied on. It's most useful as an educational project, or for demonstration purposes.
Materials you will need:
  • One clear glass jar
  • A solar garden light
  • A rechargeable battery
  • Tracing paper (optional)
  • A screwdriver
  • A utility knife
If you are working with kids, remember to keep safety in mind where the utility knife is concerned. You may want to keep it away from them, or do the cutting yourself.
  1. Carefully take the solar garden light apart. Set aside the solar panels, the charge controller, and the LED light. (As an alternative, you may individually purchase a small solar panel, light sensor, and LED light, from a specialty electronics shop.)
  2. Open the glass jar and arrange the components. The solar panels should face outwards (they can be placed on the lid of the jar). Wherever you place the panel, remember that it should be able to receive maximum exposure to the sun. 
  3. The charge controller and LED light should be placed within the jar, keeping all connections intact.
  4. Line the outside of the jar with tracing paper, as a diffuser, if you like. Children can draw designs on the tracing paper. A more “grown-up” alternative to using tracing paper is to spray the outside of the jar with a frosted glass spray.
  5. Place your home-made solar light in a window (or outdoors if possible) with the solar panel facing the sun. Allow it to charge during the day. 
  6. When the sun goes down the power generated by the solar panel should cause the LED light to shine inside the jar.

This is a very simple project, which can be done in an afternoon. It will help give children an understanding of how solar power can be used to supplement or replace electricity, and it's a fun family activity as well.

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