Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Inflating a Bag Without Adding Air (Science Experiment)

"What's a chemical reaction?" That's what I asked the boys this week. There were blank stares and puzzled expressions.

"Let's do an experiment and see if you can figure it out!"

1 Facial tissue
1 tbsp. baking soda
50 ml white vinegar
Quart-size zipper-seal plastic food storage bag
Eye protection

How to Blow up a Bag Without Adding Air
1. Add 50 ml of white vinegar to the bottom of the plastic bag. Seal it before moving on to the next step.

2. Lay out your facial tissue. Add 1 tbsp. of baking soda in the middle.

3. Fold the tissue around the baking soda, making a loose pouch to contain it.

4. Now put your eye protection on if you haven't already (safety googles, swim goggles, whatever you've got). While we didn't have any explosions ourselves, it's always best to take precautions. (Funny faces optional.)

5. Unzip the plastic bag and hold it so the vinegar is at the very bottom. Grab your baking soda pouch and add it to the top of the bag, holding it in place so it doesn't touch the vinegar. Seal the bag (we helped each other with this step).

6. Count down from three to one, and have children let go of the pouch so it drops to the bottom of the bag and shake the bag rigorously.

7. What's happening? Why is the bag inflating? The soda and vinegar combine. The chemical reaction creates a gas that blows up the bag.

Our boys were shocked! This simple science experiment took less than 10 minutes and got a thumbs up from both my 9- and 5-year olds. Oh, who am I kidding?!? I thought it was pretty rad too.

This activity came from Sue at the Science for Kids blog, who guest posted this experiment on The Applicious Teacher. Check out The Applicious Teacher for a link to an observation and predictions worksheet to use. 


  1. HOW FUN!!!!!!! I always do this over a soda bottle but not in a bag! A must do!

  2. There are so many fun baking soda + vinegar experiments!