I took my own advice this summer and tried this classic messy outdoor science experiment for kids last month: the Exploding Sandwich Bag.
This experiment is your basic baking soda and vinegar reaction experiment, but the anticipation of the explosion, the big pop, and the overflowing fizzy solution made this one a favorite with the kids.
All you need is a few items from your pantry and a pair of quick hands. Also, it’s very messy – and stinky! – so do this in the tub or sink, or better yet outside.
This experiment can be tricky, but I’m sharing our version of this classic which will guarantee a big POP and an actual explosion. Although our measurements started off based on these instructions and this experiment, and I scanned some of my favorite blogs for a good recipe, none of them worked for us. I suspect it may be because I used a quart-sized plastic bag instead of the standard size sandwich bag and because we couldn’t work fast enough to get the bag sealed tight.
Baking Soda & Vinegar Exploding Sandwich Bag Experiment
- baking soda
- vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar because it was what was on hand)
- warm water
- plastic bag (we used a quart-sized Ziploc bag)
- piece of paper or paper towel (we used a small rectangular flyer from our recycling bin)
- 1/3 or 1/4 measuring cup
First, heat your water. While you’re waiting for the water to warm up, gather your measuring cup(s) and other supplies.
Second, fill the plastic bag with 1/3 cup water. Then add 1/3 cup vinegar.
Third, set the bag aside, with the top zipped tight except for a small opening on one end to fit your paper tube.
Fourth, roll your paper into a flattened tube and measure 1/4 cup baking soda into the tube.
Fifth, fill the sandwich bag with baking soda by sticking one end of the paper tub into the opening you left in the bag.
Sixth, work QUICKLY to seal the rest of the bag and QUICKLY move away to wait for a pop and explosion!
Note: The traditional proportions are 1/4 cup warm water; 1/2 cup vinegar; 1.5 – 3 tsp baking soda. Go ahead and try this first and see if you can get a good explosion. Our measurements are designed for the biggest bang! (It was a little disappointing for my preschooler and kindergartener to do the experiment over and over again without any noticeable result).
Before conducting the experiment:
- What do you think will happen when we mix the water with the vinegar?
- What do you think will happen when we add the baking soda?
- What do you think will happen to the plastic bag?
After the experiment concludes:
- Why did the bag explode?
- What is an acid?
- What is a base?
- What is a gas?
- Could we make an explosion by mixing the baking soda and vinegar in the open air?
- What would happen if we mixed the ingredients and left the bag open?
Have you tried this experiment before? What was the best proportion of water to vinegar to baking soda and what size bag did you use? Any other tips?
Thanks for joining us today and keep #RaisingThinkingKids!