Blowing up balloons using chemistry!
For teachers and parents: This chemistry-based activity is quick, easy and exciting to watch. We recommend you complete this outdoors (or in a sink/bathtub, just in case of spills) and have an adult's supervision for anyone under the age of 10.
Edie loves to experiment, and to try things in new ways. Like the time she made her own wrinkle-cream concoction for her school Principal – although that one didn’t go down too well! (You can read more about Edie's story in Edie's Experiments 1: How to Make Friends or read an extract from the book here.)
This experiment is another example of trying things in new ways. It shows you how to blow up a balloon, without using your lungs.
Blow up balloons using a chemical reaction (not your breath!)
Aim: To use carbon dioxide gas to blow up a balloon
- Empty plastic bottle (eg. a soft drink bottle)
- Baking soda
- Funnel or a sheet of A4 paper (to make your own funnel!)
1. Pour 2-3 centimetres of vinegar into the bottom of the empty plastic bottle.
2. Using a funnel, add a few teaspoons of baking soda into a balloon. Tip: If you don't have a funnel, use a sheet of A4 paper to create your own! (You can roll the paper into a cone shape, like an ice-cream cone.)
3. Once the baking soda is inside the balloon, carefully stretch the neck of the balloon so it fits over the neck of the plastic bottle. (Don't let any baking soda drop into the vinegar just yet!)
4. Ready for the chemical reaction? Tip the baking soda from the balloon into the vinegar. You'll hear a fizzing sound as the baking soda and vinegar react, and the balloon will fill with air!
Science Facts: When the baking soda and vinegar mix, a chemical reaction occurs. This means that a new substance is produced! (You can even hear the reaction from the fizzing!) One of the substances produced is carbon dioxide, which is a gas. The gas fills the balloon and blows it up for you, without you having to use a single breath.
For more fun, science-y goodness, pick up a copy of Edie's Experiments 1: How to Make Friends from your local bookstore.