Fizz, Pop, Inflate: The magical balloon experiment with a chemical reaction

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Chemical reactions happen all around us, sometimes without even knowing it. From baking a loaf of bread in the kitchen to rust forming on a metal surface outside, chemical reactions are happening everywhere. This experiment is a stepping stone to open your child’s eyes to chemical reactions!

This hands-on activity helps children grasp the concept that mixing different substances can create entirely new ones with unique properties. As they see the balloon inflate, they learn about the interaction between an acid (vinegar) and a base (baking soda), resulting in the production of carbon dioxide gas.

So take a deep breath of oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide (a chemical reaction!), because it’s time to start the experiment!

How to make the Fizz, Pop, Inflate Balloon science experiment

Supplies you will need

For this experiment, you will need the following:

Before you start

Since we’re dealing with a chemical reaction, please watch your child when doing this experiment. You could even use safety goggles if you have them on hand.


Here is how to do this experiment with your child:

Step 1: Pour baking soda into balloon

Take your balloon and, if needed, use a funnel to pour about one or two tablespoons of baking soda into it.

Placing a balloon at the bottom of the funnel
Pouring about at 1.5 tablespoons of baking soda in the funnel for the balloon

Step 2: Add vinegar to soda bottle

Next, pour about half a cup of vinegar into the plastic bottle. I used a funnel again (made sure to clean out the baking soda first!) and poured it into the soda bottle.

Pouring vinegar into the funnel for the plastic bottle

Step 3: Stretch balloon neck over the soda bottle

Stretch the opening of the balloon over the neck of the plastic bottle, making sure it’s secure.

As long as the balloon stays off to the side of the bottle (like in my picture below), the reaction shouldn’t begin yet.

Placing the balloon over the neck of the plastic bottle

Step 4: Watch the balloon inflate!

Here comes the exciting part! Lift the balloon so that the baking soda falls from the balloon into the vinegar in the bottle. It happens quickly, so be prepared!

As soon as the baking soda mixes with the vinegar, you’ll see a bubbling reaction occur. This is because the vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base) react together to produce carbon dioxide gas. The gas fills up the balloon, causing it to inflate.

The balloon inflating due to the chemical reaction happening inside of the bottle

The science behind the Fizz, Pop, Inflate Balloon experiment

This experiment teaches:

  • Chemical reactions
  • Measurement skills
  • Critical thinking

How it works

In the Fizz, Pop, Inflate experiment, we are mixing a base (baking soda) and an acid (vinegar) to create a chemical reaction.

The balloon is holding the baking soda and the plastic bottle holds the vinegar. When we place the balloon on the neck of the bottle and allow the baking soda to fall into the bottle, the chemical reaction between the acid and base begins.

When baking soda and vinegar mix, it creates carbon dioxide, which is what causes our balloon to inflate.

Chemical reactions

This experiment demonstrates a basic chemical reaction between an acid (vinegar) and a base (baking soda) to produce carbon dioxide gas. It helps kids understand that mixing different substances can lead to entirely new substances with different properties.

Measurement skills

By measuring and pouring specific amounts of baking soda and vinegar, kids can practice basic measurement skills, such as using tablespoons and cups.

Here’s another measuring activity that dives into the very basics of measuring.

Critical thinking

As we watch the balloon inflate, we can think critically about why it’s happening.

Prompt your child with questions like, “What do you think is causing the balloon to get bigger?” and “Why does this happen when baking soda and vinegar mix?”.

More chemical reaction experiments to try out with your child

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