How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Combine a few common kitchen ingredients and watch them inflate a balloon without your help!  This fun hands-on experiment is a great way to learn about chemical reactions and encourage a love for science in your child.  The two combined ingredients create carbon dioxide, which is what inflates the balloon.  The balloon doesn’t contain helium, so it won’t float.

How to Inflate a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 1: Pour a little vinegar into a plastic bottle. Choose a plastic water bottle, or another bottle with a narrow neck. Pour 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of vinegar into the bottle, using a funnel if you have one. Use white vinegar, also called distilled vinegar, for the best result.

  • You can try this with any kind of vinegar, but the inflation might take longer or require more vinegar to work. Other types of vinegar tend to be more expensive as well.
  • Vinegar can damage metal containers, potentially adding an unpleasant taste to food and drink stored in that container. If you have no plastic bottles, use a high-quality stainless steel bottle to minimize the chance of this happening. Weakening the vinegar with an equal amount of water might also help, and won’t prevent the balloon from inflating.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 2: Use a funnel or straw to put a little baking soda into a limp balloon. You can use any shape and color of balloon. Hold it loosely by the neck, with the open side of the balloon facing towards you. Fit a funnel into the neck if you have one, then pour about two tablespoons (30 mL) baking soda into the balloon, or just fill the balloon about halfway full.

  • If you don’t have a funnel, you can place a plastic straw into a pile of baking soda, put your finger over the top hole of the straw, then poke the straw into the balloon and lift your finger. Tap the straw to get the baking soda to fall out, and repeat until the balloon is at least 1/3 of the way full.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 3: Stretch the neck of the balloon over the top of the bottle. Be careful not to spill the baking soda while you do this. Hold the balloon’s neck with both hands and stretch it over the top of the plastic bottle containing vinegar. Have a friend keep the bottle steady if the table or bottle is wobbly.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 4: Lift the balloon up over the bottle and watch the reaction. The baking soda should fall out of the balloon, through the neck of the bottle, and into the vinegar at the bottom. Here, the two chemicals will fizz and react, turning into other chemicals. One of these is carbon dioxide, a gas, which will rise up and inflate the balloon.

  • Shake the bottle gently to mix the two ingredients if there’s not much fizzing.

How to Blow up a Balloon with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 5: If it doesn’t work, try again with more vinegar or baking soda. If the fizzing has stopped and the balloon still hasn’t inflated after you count to 100, empty out the bottle and try again with more vinegar and baking soda. The stuff left in the bottle has turned into other chemicals, mostly water, so it can’t be used again.

  • Don’t go overboard. The bottle should never be more than about 1/3 full of vinegar.

 

How does this work?

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Just about everything around you is composed of molecules.  Often, when two different molecules react with each other, they break up and form entirely new molecules from the pieces.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Learn about baking soda and vinegar. The reactants, or substances that reacted with each other in the fizzy reaction you saw, are baking soda and vinegar. Unlike many ingredients in your kitchen, both of these are simple chemicals, not complicated mixtures of many chemicals:

  • Baking soda is another word for the molecule sodium bicarbonate.
  • White vinegar is a mixture of acetic acid and water. Only the acetic acid reacts with the baking soda.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Read about the reaction. Baking soda is a type of substance called a base. Vinegar, or acetic acid, is a type of substance called an acid. Bases and acids react with each other, partially breaking apart and forming different substances. This is described as “neutralization” because the end result is neither a base nor an acid. In this case, the new substances are water, a kind of salt, and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, a gas, leaves the liquid mixture and expands throughout the bottle and the balloon, inflating it.

  • Although the definition of acid and base can get complicated, you can compare the differences between the original substances and the “neutralized” result to see there are obvious changes. For instance, vinegar has a strong smell and can be used to dissolve grime and dirt. After being mixed with baking soda, it smells much less strongly and is no more effective at cleaning than water is.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Study the chemical formula. If you’re familiar with some chemistry, or curious about how scientists describe reactions, the formula below describes the reaction between sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3 and acetic acid H C2H3O2(aq)NaC2H3O2. Can you figure out how each molecule splits apart and reforms?

  • NaHCO3(aq) + HC2H3O2(aq) → NaC2H3O2(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)
  • The letters in parentheses show the state the chemicals are in during and after the reaction: (g)as, (l)iquid, or (aq)ueous. “Aqueous” means the chemical is dissolved in water.

If you enjoyed this experiment and are looking for more great hands-on learning, click the links to check out our other science experiments, science kits, learning & discovery kits, and homeschool resources.

 

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How To Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Advertisements

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Looking for a science project for your homeschooled kids, or just something fun and educational for your kids to do?  This activity is sure to spark a bit of curiosity in your child, as it gives them the chance to play weather forecaster.  Predicting the weather may seem a bit like magic, but after a couple weeks of checking their barometer, they’ll have a much better understanding of how this can be done!

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 1: Gather the things you’ll need. These consist of: Scissors, tape, a balloon, a jar, an elastic rubber band, a straw.

 

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 2: Blow up the balloon carefully and then let the air out of it again. (This is to stretch it.)

 

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 3: Cut the balloon in half. Discard the piece with the neck on it.

 

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 4: Take the remaining piece of the balloon and stretch it across the glass or jar.Keep it stretched firmly across and seal it down with the rubber band, around the rim of the glass jar. To make an airtight seal, avoid gaps between the balloon and the glass.

 

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 5: Tape the straw onto the balloon lid; the straw should be sitting one quarter of a way on the lid, with the tape about 2 cm or 1 inch from the edge of the straw end that is sitting on the balloon lid. The straw is your indicator “needle”. Trim the straw if it’s too long, but leave more length off the jar as what is attached to it.

 

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 6: Put the finished glass jar next to a wall and tape a piece of paper or card to the wall behind it.

 

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 7: Mark the current position of the straw on the paper, and mark one above and below the mark, about the same length away, and label the high and low pressure. Arrange the paper so there is room above and below the straw for you to make more marks when the straw moves.

 

How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer

Step 8: Check the straw regularly and keep marking its location on the paper for a few days. Add notes that tell you what the weather is like (for example, “rainy,” “windy,” or “sunny,”) next to the mark.

  • Examine the paper after several days. Check the markings and the weather statements you’ve put next to them. What do you notice? Can you tell if and when the weather is about to change? See “Tips” for the answers.

Q&A

  • Does the barometer have to be outside?  Yes, it is very important to leave the barometer outside so that it can record more effectively.
  • What can a barometer indicate about the weather?  A barometer can only measure air pressure, giving an indication of the expected weather during the following 24 hours. Simply put, high pressure is likely to drive rain bearing clouds away, low pressure will likely let it in, leading to precipitation (rain).
  • Why do we blow up the balloon before using it?  To stretch it out. If you just pull the two ends, you can rip it and you will have to get a new one.

Tips:

  • As the straw moves up with higher air pressure, the days should be sunnier. As the straw lowers, the skies may be looking gray and you should expect cloudy or rainy weather on the way.
  • When you fitted the balloon over the glass, you captured air under a certain pressure. The balloon now indicates changes in the atmospheric pressure, that is, the pressure of the air around you. Higher air pressure pushes the balloon into the jar and makes the straw go up. Conversely, the air inside the jar expands against lower pressure and will bulge the balloon, moving the straw down. The straw makes it easier to see the motions of the balloon.
  • Also notice that the straw moves up or down just before a weather change since a change in weather typically coincides with a change in the atmospheric pressure.
  • Try to take each reading at the same temperature, since air expands when heated and contracts when cooled, which would also move the straw-indicator.
  • Check your results against the pressure from weather reports for your area. If you didn’t do it correctly, keep trying until you get it right.
  • Try this over a longer period of time if you’re having a week of rain or a week of sunshine. Try to choose the seasons likely to bring the most changes during a short period of time in your part of the world.
  • This is a delicate item. Place it away from foot traffic and daily activity.
  • Don’t leave the balloon in direct sunlight; this will wear it out and can affect the experiment.
  • Make sure there are no gaps or air holes in the balloon during the experiment; this will affect the outcome.

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make a Simple Weather Barometer.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Life-Changing Financial Principles to Teach Your Children

One of the most valuable (pun intended) things you can teach your child is how to responsibly manage money.  Of course parents teach by example from the day their kids are born, but there will also come a time when we need to begin teaching them certain principles that they will use for the rest of their lives.  Listed below are several simple principles that will be a huge help for your child.

Life-Changing Financial Principles to Teach Your Children

  1. Show them that everything we receive in this life is a gift that comes from God, and we must look to him for all of our needs.  We teach them to be at peace in their heart and minds by helping them to understand submitting to his authority where money is concerned.  
  2. A perfect first subject to teach would be the simple principle of tithing 10% first, saving 10% second, and living within the remaining 80%.  As your children become more familiar with this concept, encourage them to increase the tithe and savings amounts as their self-discipline increases.
  3. Budgeting.  Teach your child how to budget, and you will also be teaching them how to plan ahead.  A valuable principle in every area of their lives, this will help them greatly.  As Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  When your children start getting older, give them a chance to open their own checking accounts, budget their own money, and absolutely to make their own mistakes.
  4. A penny saved is a penny earned.  Kids need to learn to save for three things: purchases, an emergency fund, and wealth-building.  Saving for purchases is my favorite, and also the easiest! The other two are just as important though.  For teens, $500 for the emergency fund might be a good start, as this will cover things like car repairs or any unexpected purchases.  By having this emergency fund, they’ll learn to start being independent rather than relying on you whenever an emergency hits.  It’s a win-win!  And of course your kid doesn’t have to be a stock market guru, but if you can help them understand the power of compound interest, you’ll be setting them up with financial success for the rest of their lives.  
  5.  Give, give, & give again.  One lesson that was pounded into my head as a child was “for heaven’s sake, can you just SHARE already?” While it may have been frustrating for my parents at the time, they really instilled the important value of giving into my life. Giving is so powerful because it not only changes the recipient, but the giver as well.  This is one principle that is important for your children to see modeled by you.  When your children see the positive consequences shine in your life, it’ll drive the lesson home.
  6. Be wary of debt.  As a teenager, your child will soon face the temptations of credit cards and student loans.  They’ll hear a lot of things as they head off to college like: “Normal is broke.”  “Car payments are just a part of life.”  “You can’t live without a credit score.” and my personal favorite “It’s not even possible to live without debt.”  Absolutely NONE of these are true, and it’s best to help them understand this before they step out into adulthood.  

 

Remember that more is caught than taught!  It’ll stick in their heads better to see you living out these principles in your own life rather than just giving them lectures here and there.  You don’t have to be perfect when it comes to money (no one is), but you do need to make sure you’re being a strong example or none of what you say will stick!  Also, be honest with your kids about financial mistakes you’ve made.  Allow them to learn from your mistakes!  By teaching your children these essential financial principles, you’ll have given them confidence and a hand-up in life.

Don’t forget to check out our selection of toys and products that are great resources for teaching kids financial principles.  We believe it’s never too early to teach youngsters about money, finance, and even investing.  While play money may seem just like another toy, it can be used to teach kids about finances, saving, and math. In our minds, that’s a toy with some real value!

How To Naturally Improve Concentration and Focus in Your Child

Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or not, you have likely struggled with the issue of a child’s lack of concentration at some point during your parenting years.  Of course we know that children are curious, energetic discoverers.  This is natural.  However, some children struggle more than others.  Many frustrated parents don’t know where to turn for help.  What if there were some simple antidotes and tools you can use to improve concentration?  There is.  Of course no solution will work for everyone, but we think you’ll find the following suggestions extremely helpful.  Your sanity will thank you!

How to Naturally Improve Concentration and Focus in Your Child

So, how can you motivate and improve your child’s focus?  There are several different tools available.  In the beginning, it’s best to try them all to see what works best for you and your family.

1.) Attend to physiological needs.  Ensure your child gets 9 hours of sleep every night.  Reduce sugar intake & increase protein levels (lean meat, almonds, & eggs).  This stimulates dopamine which makes concentration easier, particularly for lethargic kids.  Taking frequent breaks for exercise will have a similar effect.

2.) Remove distractions at home.  Make a list of things that may prevent concentration (i.e. noise, people, lighting, fighting, tiredness, & hunger). Then go through each distraction and come up with a solution.  Make sure you implement those solutions daily!

3.) Create the right mood for concentration.  Playing calming background music, placing a fish tank (with fish) in the environment, and reducing fluorescent lights have all been proven to be successful in creating the right mood.

4.) Introduce sequencing & organization activities (i.e. following recipes, setting the table, and putting things in alphabetical order.)  Board and card games help as well.  Chess has proven to be particularly good for improving focus long-term. Their minds become incrementally stronger, alleviating the concentration problem, and in many cases, almost entirely curing it. The study of chess also instills patience and can help a child’s attitude.

5.) Find out which activities your child focuses on best.  Some kids do best with hands-on activities, and some do best with a lot of visual cues.  Look for activities that your child gets lost in for hours.  These activities can enhance your child’s concentration levels.

These are only a few of the tools we’ve found helpful through the years.  I’m sure there are many more that you’ll find that will work in your home. Before assisting your child with their concentration habits, pay close attention to their pattern of concentration and observe if there are any obvious links between diet, energy pattern, sleep, and your own behaviors.  Remember to lead by example!

Concentration can be improved and made automatic.  Picture the first time you drove a car.  No doubt the prevailing, panicky thought in your head was, “How on earth can I focus on all of this stuff at the same time?!”  After enough practice, your brain built pathways of concentration, and the task of driving has become a smooth and easy one.  Take action today and make the process of learning a lot more enjoyable for both you and your children!

Book Review – The Dangerous Book for Boys

Whether you’re a boy of 8 or 80, you’ll love The Dangerous Book for Boys!  The title sounds a little intimidating, but be sure to dive in a bit before making a snap judgement.  In these days of video games and battery powered toys that do everything except buy themselves for you, today’s unimaginative kids need to learn how to PLAY again. This book is filled with good old-fashioned, get-off-the-couch, get-out-of-the-house and get dirty ideas.

Book Review - The Dangerous Book for Boys

A perfect way to stay out of trouble but still have fun, The Dangerous Book for Boys covers essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of what the big deal with girls is. In this digital age there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage.

This book recaptures Sunday afternoons, stimulates curiosity, and makes for great father-son activities. The brothers Conn and Hal have put together a wonderful collection of all things that make being young or young at heart fun—building go-carts and electromagnets, identifying insects and spiders, and flying the world’s best paper airplanes.

As one reader put it, “It is perfect tinder for a young mind to fan the flames to the fire of personal wonder for the rest of their lives.”

You won’t want to put it down!  Pick up a copy today at jmcremps.com, and be sure to take a look at The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things To Do, and The Pocket Dangerous Book For Boys: Things To Know.  Happy reading!

A Modern Resurgence of Vintage Pastimes

As the buzz over the technology revolution is settling down and becoming less of a novelty, the past couple of years have seen a resurgence of vintage, or traditional pastimes.  The world keeps spinning faster, and everyone’s eyes seem to be opening to the need for relaxation.  Gone are the days of the glorification of “busy”.  They are being replaced with the art of slow living.

The Resurgence of Vintage Pastimes

One of the most popular vintage pastimes that’s resurfaced seems to be whittling.  What do you think of when you picture whittling?  Perhaps what pops up in your head is an old man in a rocking chair on a front porch, carving a piece of wood, with an ice-cold beverage nearby.  His grandson sits in a chair next to him whittling his own stick of wood, keeping up a steady stream of chatter.  As the sun sinks lower in the sky, their wood pieces start to come to life.  The scene is idyllic, peaceful, and relaxing.

The history of whittling really begins in early Americana.  With only the use of a pocket knife and good, soft wood; crafty folks could whittle just about anything.  A couple of main things that have changed with the pastime since then is the quality of the knives and the selection of specialty blade shapes available.  The craft has become easier and more enjoyable than ever before.

If you’re looking for a way to wind down after a busy day, or to connect with your children or grandchildren, your search is over.  JMCremps has a large selection of knives, thumb guards, whittling & woodcarving books, and kits to get you started or keep you going with one of the best hobbies out there.

What are you waiting for?  Throw away your worries for a moment so you can sit back and relax while creating something beautiful.  Spend some quality time with someone you love. Connect with the past while living fully in the present.  There’s a reason this pastime is coming back, and I think if you give it a try you just might become an advocate of the art of slow living.