Science Activity: Blowing up a balloon using baking soda and vinegar

My son is so into making vinegar and baking soda volcanoes. We have made these a few times. Today he was begging me to make one again. This time, I thought that maybe we could try something different that would be equally as cool AND we could still use the same basic ingredients. This is an easy activity to do using simple materials and ingredients found in your kitchen, and the results are pretty fascinating (especially for a 4 year old).

Materials that we used:
  • balloon
  • funnel
  • empty water bottle
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda 
  • skewer 
  • 3/4 cup measure

1. I had my son pour about 3/4 cup of vinegar into the bottle using the funnel.

2. After rinsing out the funnel, I poured baking soda into the balloon, filling it up. Make sure you stretch out the balloon first! I used the funnel and a skewer as tools to aid the process (see picture above).

3. I carefully sealed the opening of the balloon onto the bottle. I made sure the contents of the balloon didn't spill into the bottle during this step.

4. I then held the balloon up, while shaking the contents down into the balloon. Immediately the 2 ingredients formed a chemical reaction, releasing a gas, and the balloon started to inflate.

Bode thought it was so cool and wanted to do it again, and again!

Points I highlighted with him (keeping it simple for a 4 year old):
  • When vinegar and baking soda are mixed together they create what is called a chemical reaction.
  • A gas is formed (carbon dioxide) which takes up more space than the vinegar and baking soda. That is why the balloon inflates. 
Other points to share if doing this experiment with older children:
  • The baking soda is a base while the vinegar is an acid.  (See here for a definition and examples of other bases and acids)
  • When vinegar and baking soda react together they form "carbonic acid".  Carbonic Acid is very unstable and it instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide. Fizzing is what happens when the water and carbon dioxide escape the solution.  
Have fun!
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  1. FANTASTIC! My son is going to love this!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy & Alissa

    1. It was fun AND easy! 2 undeniable great qualities to have in a kid & mama activity!

  2. Great idea! My kids have done the volcano experiment a hundred times. This time we'll expand on it.

    I am a part of the Weekly Kids Co-op and mentioned your idea on my website this week.

    1. Thanks Danielle. I always appreciate a mention!:)

  3. So going to have to try this with my boys..thanks for sharing on Hey Mom, Look What I Did at Adventures In Mommy Land...hope to see you again sometime!

    1. Thanks Charlene! I so appreciate your comments!

  4. I have seen this before on a few posts, but this was very specific in details! I am not a big fan of balloons, but now I feel ready to attempt this one with the kiddos! Thanks :)

  5. Thank you for providing us with such great details re: your science lesson. Really inspired to do this as my boys would also LOVE to see that balloon inflate before their eyes. Really hope you continue sharing at the Weekly Kids Co-op.

  6. I have been wanting to try this! Looks fun! Thanks so much for sharing with Tuesday Tots!

  7. You did this so much better than us! Thanks for linking to Fun sparks. xx

  8. I love this one! Yours worked much better than ours. Thanks so much for linking to 'Challenge and Discover'. I hope you join us this month.

    emma @sciencesparks

  9. Thanks so much for linking to Challenge and Discover. I hope you join us this month too. x


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