Can you blow up a balloon without using your mouth? In this simple science experiment, we’re going to show you how to do it with only a few everyday items you probably already have in your home. It makes a great experiment for young children because the set-up is simple and it only takes a few minutes to get to the exciting finale.
In addition to a video demonstration and detailed printable instructions, we also have the scientific explanation of how this simple chemical reaction works making it perfect for older scientists too.
Watch The Balloon Blow-up Science Experiment Video
Supplies Needed for the Balloon Blow-Up Science Experiment
- Small Soda Bottle
- Baking Soda
Balloon Blow-up Science Experiment Instructions
Step 1 – Using a funnel, pour about a third of a cup of vinegar into the bottle.
Tip: I used Apple Cider Vinegar, but any kind of vinegar will work.
Step 2 – Then insert another funnel into the mouth of the balloon.
Tip: It is best to have two funnels, one for filling the bottle with vinegar and one for the balloon. If you only have one funnel, it is important that you completely wash and dry the funnel after you add the vinegar and before you put it into the balloon.
Step 3 – Place two teaspoons of baking soda into the funnel so it falls into the balloon. Then remove the balloon from the funnel.
Step 4 – Next, secure the mouth of the balloon over the top of the bottle.
Tip: Don’t let any of the baking soda drop into the bottle…yet!
Step 5 – While holding the bottle, lift the end of the balloon allowing the baking soda to drop into the bottle
Step 6 – Watch in amazement as the balloon magically inflates
How Does the Balloon Blow-up Science Experiment Work
When baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) are mixed together they create a chemical reaction that results in the formation of carbon dioxide gas. Gases do not have a specific shape or volume, rather they expand rapidly filling their container. Gases expand rapidly because their particles move at high speeds in all directions. As the carbon dioxide gas fills the bottle, it has nowhere else to go so it begins to fill the balloon. As the carbon dioxide gas fills the balloon, the balloon inflates. The more gas that is created, the larger the balloon will inflate.
The baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction will continue to inflate the balloon as long as there is still baking soda and vinegar to react. Once the reaction between baking soda and vinegar has stopped, the balloon will slowly begin to deflate.
An acid is a substance that tastes bitter, reacts with metals and carbonates, and turns blue litmus paper red.
A base is a substance that tastes bitter, feels slippery, and turns red litmus paper blue.
Other Ideas to Try
Does changing the amount of baking soda and vinegar change the size of the balloon when it inflates? What would happen if you used another acid like lemon juice instead of the vinegar? Would it react the same with the baking soda?
I hope you enjoyed the experiment. Here are some printable instructions: