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.

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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.

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!

Celebrate Your Child’s Individuality With Online School or Homeschool

The advent of the internet has opened up an entire new WORLD of possibility to our society.  While in the past students have been limited to the options the particular school they attend has, with the internet there is a world of information virtually at their fingertips!  Many are utilizing this incredibly valuable resource in the form of online school or homeschool.

Celebrate Your Child's Individuality with Online or Homeschool

Perhaps your child has been diagnosed with something like ADD or ADHD. A child with these tendencies may not do so well in a public school, because they’re not so easily able to conform to the system. Perhaps their mind wanders a bit more than the other children, or they have a hard time sitting still. Arguably one of the greatest benefits for online school and homeschool is the ability to form your curriculum perfectly to your child’s particular needs. You can specialize their learning to be more hands-on and interactive. No matter what kind of learner your child is, they will thrive under this type of education!

Another awesome benefit of online learning is the ability to study almost any subject out there.  You have access to such a vast array of teachers and books. There have been many times that I was unable to study a particular subject at school, simply because the school didn’t have the funds to fit it into their curriculum.  With online or homeschooling, your options are nearly endless!

We’ve all witnessed the way a child’s brain works. They’re focused for MAYBE 10 minutes, and then a bird flying outside the window or a stray thought that wandered into their head will throw the entire train right off the tracks, and it’s a struggle to get them motivated and back on track again. Of course it’s important to have goals for each day, but how wonderful for them to be able to take breaks as often as they need? Even as an adult, I’ve found that I am at my most efficient and focused self when I give myself even a short break every hour or so. Creating their own schedule allows your child to absorb those nuggets of knowledge so much more thoroughly, and wonder of wonders, actually enjoy the process!

Of course there are some benefits to public schooling, such as certain programs like theatre or the important aspect of having peers and social interaction, but these are easily overcome as well!    Public schools are often willing to work with you and allow your child to take a particular program if you don’t have the resources available.  There are also many independent programs, classes, and communities outside of public school that your child could get involved in.  A well-rounded education is a great thing!

Celebrate Your Child's Individuality with Online or Homeschool

Let’s celebrate the fact that we are all vastly different individuals with vastly different ways of learning.  We are all so lucky to be born in this age with so many opportunities and options available.  Take advantage of it!  If you’re currently looking for materials for this year’s online school or homeschool curriculum, you’re not going to want to miss these Learning & Discovery Kits, Books, Woodworking Kits, & more!  Truth be told, I get a little envious thinking how much more fun and interesting school would’ve been for me if I had just had access to materials like these and to the varied curriculum that online school offers.  Even if your child is happily content in public school, these books and kits are an excellent way to supplement their education, or just give them a fun, educational activity to do on a rainy fall day.  So let’s cast off, and embark on this adventure into education!