February 21, 2012

Exploding Sandwich Bag experiment

This simple, yet exciting, experiment was the favorite of many of the kids at our Super Science Party.  It's a fun twist on the classic vinegar and baking soda reaction that I found HERE at Steve Spangler science!

Here's what you need:
  • sandwich-sized ziploc bag (I used a generic brand and it worked fine!)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • toilet paper

Here's what to do:  (It's helpful to have two people working together on this)

  1. Tear off a square or two of toilet paper and put a tablespoon of baking soda in the middle.  Twist or fold the toilet paper around the pile of baking soda making a small packet.
  2. Next, open your sandwich bag and pour in 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup warm water. Zip the bag closed, but not all the way.  You'll want a small opening just large enough to drop in the packet of baking soda.
  3. Move the experiment to the sink or outside!  Put the baking soda packet into the bag and then quickly zip it all the way closed.  (I found it helpful to carefully put the packet in, then hold it towards the top away from the liquid so I could zip the bag all the way closed, then let it drop in)

      4.  Once the bag is sealed, give it a quick, gentle shake so the packet drops into the liquid and set it down.  The reaction will occur almost immediately and the bag will start to fill with carbon dioxide.  It'll get bigger and bigger until it finally POPS!

And because a picture of an air filled bag doesn't capture the fun, here's a quick little video from our Science Party.  (excuse the kid's voice in the background saying it sounds like a fart, 8 and 9-year olds have their own sense of humor!)

Here's the science behind this cool explosion (from Steve Spangler Science

 When you mix vinegar and baking soda, a chemical reaction takes place producing a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). If you really want to impress your friends, use the chemical names for each of the ingredients. Acetic acid (that’s vinegar) plus sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) produces carbon dioxide gas and water. The bag puffs up because the carbon dioxide gas takes up lots of space, eventually filling the bag. If there’s more gas than the bag can hold… KABOOM!  Wrapping the baking soda in tissue paper or separating the substances in bags is a clever way of slowing down the reaction.

Sharing our explosion at:


  1. A must do - looks too fun not to!

  2. Love the video! This looks super fun even for toddlers/preschoolers! Thanks for sharing :-)

  3. How totally cool is this?!?! Thanks! So doing this!!!

  4. Where did you get the smocks that the kids are wearing?

  5. So cute! Love the video.

    I did a post today that was partly inspired by you. :-) http://eastcoastmommyblog.blogspot.ca/2012/07/5-easy-science-experiments-for-kids.html

    Thanks so much!

  6. Frantically trying to find a standard to link this to!!!!!

  7. Super cool! Planning to make one, any ideas moms for summer science party?

  8. Our bags did not pop. I used a hefty zip freezer bag. Is it just too strong of a bag?

    1. I think that was probably the problem. Try the regular sandwich bags (even the generic ones) and you'll probably have better luck.

  9. These are some awesome ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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