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 Paper Christmas Tree

Making holiday crafts with your children just might end up being a favorite holiday tradition.  It can also be a great way to keep your children occupied so you can get some things done that you haven’t had time for.  Holidays can be a hectic, busy time, and making these paper christmas trees can also be a great way for you to unwind and collect your wits for the next wave of crying children, relatives, or whatever else is thrown your way!  Not only are paper Christmas trees beautiful, they are also easy to make and a lot of fun to decorate.  A craft both adults and children will enjoy.  Let your creative juices flow, and have a great time!

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 1: Assemble your materials. You can keep your tree simple, or get as elaborate as you like by decorating it with paint, glitter, stickers, paper cutouts, or anything else you can think of. This is a great project to do with a group. Supply the construction paper and a variety of decorative materials, and let everyone’s imagination run wild!

  • Green construction paper (or any color you like).
  • Scissors.
  • A marker.
  • Clear tape.
  • Decorations for your tree; popular choices include glitter, stickers, ribbon, colored paper, confetti, etc.
  • Craft glue or glue dots to affix the decorations.
  • A hot glue gun and glue stick to affix the topper (optional).

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 2: Cut two identical tree shapes out of construction paper. Begin by stacking two pieces of construction paper together and folding them in half. Then use a marker to draw a half-tree shape on the outside of your paper stack. Finally, cut along the lines through both sheets of paper. You will now have two identical tree shapes.

  • You can make a large tree by using two full-size sheets of construction paper, or you can cut one piece of paper in half.

How to Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 3: Cut slits in the tree shapes for joining them together. First, find and mark the vertical center of each tree by folding it in half vertically (fold the pointed tip of the tree down to the base of the tree,) then lightly crease or mark the center. Finally, cut a slit in one tree from the top down to the center mark, and cut a slit in the other tree from the bottom up to the center.

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 4: Join the two shapes and form the tree. Slide the two pieces together along the slits so that the middles match. Then use a few small piece of clear tape at the top and bottom of the tree to hold it all together. Finally, fold the tree open so that it stands on its own.

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 5: Have fun decorating your tree! The sky is the limit with this step; be as creative as you like. You can use paint or glitter glue to add sparkle, or even “flock” your tree. Cut ornaments out of colored paper using scissors or a hole punch, and glue them to the tree. Create a garland out of metallic thread or ribbon, and don’t forget a tiny star or angel on top.

  • You can use the same 3D cutting/splicing method you used to create the tree to make a 3D star or angel for the top.
  • Hot glue works best for attaching things to the point of the tree.

 

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 Paper Christmas Tree.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.