Here’s a super cool exploding baggie experiment for kids that requires only a few common household materials. In this activity, you’ll create a chemical reaction using baking soda and vinegar that will make a ghost baggie explode!
We set out to use items around the house to observe how a chemical reaction produces a new substance. Just kidding, we set out to make something EXPLODE.
To do that, we sat down and learned all about acids, bases, and chemical reactions and applied what we knew to our daily lives.
I bored the kids with chemical equations and talked their ears off until surely they thought we weren’t doing anything exciting.
Then, things went kaBOOm and they were thrilled! The looks on their faces were priceless! This is a must-do chemistry experiment for kids! Just make sure to do it outside!!
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The Science Behind KaBOOm Exploding Baggies
This is an acid-base reaction. Vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base. When combined, they react with each other to produce sodium acetate and carbonic acid, which quickly decomposes into carbon dioxide gas and water.
The bubbles from the carbon dioxide can be seen as the reaction takes place. This type of acid-base reaction is used for baking cakes. The reaction causes cakes and breads (without yeast) to rise! How cool!!
Why STEAM Activities?
STEAM is the abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
STEAM, like STEM, is an integrated approach to learning that encourages learners to make connections between the concepts they are learning and how they apply them to real-world problems.
STEAM helps students ask questions, problem solve, think creatively, and produce innovative solutions. Many schools have adopted STEAM learning activities into their curriculum, but it’s never too early to start building critical thinking skills.
We love to learn through play at our house and have a blast doing activities for toddlers all the way to tweens!
Looking for some more hands-on activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)? Then you have to check out STEAM Kids!
This book features more than 50 hands-on activities that are organized into easy to implement categories, so you know exactly what concepts your kids are learning!
Grab your copy from Amazon today or get instant access to this great book by purchasing a downloadable PDF!
Key Chemistry Terms to Share With Your Kiddos
- Acid – a solution that has a higher amount of hydrogen ions than water (ex. vinegar)
- Base – a solution that has a lower amount of hydrogen ions than water (ex. baking soda)
- Neutral– a solution that has a concentration of hydrogen ions equal to water (ex. water)
- Chemical Reaction – a change in the molecular structure of a substance
- Reactants – a substance or substances that start a chemical reaction
- Products – the substance created by a chemical reaction
KaBOOm Exploding Bags Supplies
- Ziploc Sandwich Bag
- Paper Towel
- Measuring Cup
- 1-1/2 Tbsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup Vinegar
- 1/4 cup warm water
- Permanent Markers
Exploding Baggie Ghosts Chemistry Activity for Kids
Prior to starting the following steps, you can decorate your ziploc bag with permanent markers! We decided to make a spooky ghost face hence the name kaBOOm bags!
CONDUCT THIS EXPERIMENT OUTSIDE
Test your bag to make sure there are no holes by filling the bag with water and turning it upside down. If your bag doesn’t leak, empty the water and move on. If your bag leaks, grab another sandwich bag and repeat Step 1 until you have a bag that does not leak.
Tear a paper towel into a square that measures about 6 inches by 6 inches.
Put 1-1/2 tbsp of baking soda in the middle of your paper towel square. Then fold the paper towel lengthwise (like a hot dog) over the baking soda and then fold up each end over the baking soda to create a little packet.
Pour vinegar and water into plastic bag.
Hold your baking soda packet in the top corner of the bag while you seal the bag. Make sure your packet does not touch the vinegar.
Make sure the bag is closed and then let your packet drop into the vinegar.
Shake your bag a little and place it on the ground.
Stand back!! Watch the bag expand until it goes kaBOOm!
Some Questions to Discuss After Your Experiment
- What is a chemical reaction?
- What are some examples of every day chemical reactions?
- Is baking soda an acid or a base?
- What happens when baking soda and vinegar interact?
- What gas forms during the chemical reaction?
- Is vinegar an acid or a base?
Add More STEAM to this KaBOOM Exploding Bag Experiment
This activity is primarily science related. Discuss chemical reactions, make a hypothesis, conduct experiment, and record observations.
This activity doesn’t involve technology, but you can absolutely video tape your experiment and create a cool video to recap for friends! I know my tween is excited to show her friends how she blew up a bag with chemistry!
Figuring out a way to drop your baking soda packet into your vinegar while also making sure you get your baggie closed in time requires some critical engineering skills.
What worked best for you? Take it a step further and create a packet out of different materials to observe what happens. Record your results.
Draw artwork on the outside of your bag. What happened to your artwork as your bag expanded? Use food coloring inside of your bags and then use sidewalk chalk to trace your “booms”.
Determine what the most effective amount of each substance is to create the biggest kaBOOm. Put food coloring in your bags and measure your blast with a ruler.
Try These Ideas to Experiment More With KaBOOm Bags
There are so many more ways to take this project even further, adapt it for all ages, and encourage creative thinking!
- Use a different sized ziploc bag and do the experiment again. Do you think you’ll need more water? More vinegar? More baking soda?
- Try the experiment with just baking powder and vinegar? Did you get the same result?
- Use cold water instead of warm water. What happens?
- Use a different material for your packet such as toilet paper, construction paper, or tissue paper. What happened?
- Use lemon juice instead of vinegar. What happened?
Looking for more awesome chemistry activities? Check these out!
- KITCHEN CHEMISTRY: RED CABBAGE ACID/BASE INDICATOR from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
- Magic Potions and Fizzing Formulas- Getting Kids’ Attention With Chemistry! from Not Just Cute
- Expanding Foam inspired by Honey Lemon’s Chemistry Concoctions from Big Hero 6 from Inspiration Laboratories
31 Days of Low-Prep STEAM Activities for Kids
This activity is part of our 31 Days of Low-Prep STEAM Activities for Kids.
Every activity will primarily focus on each of the buckets of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) although these integrated projects fit in more than one bucket. You and your kiddos are going to love all of the activities that we have in store!
Visit the 31 Days of Low-Prep STEAM Activity hub and pin it, so you can come back and visit it daily!
PIN THIS IMAGE TO SHARE THIS LOW-PREP STEAM ACTIVITY!
Find More Halloween STEAM Activities
Find some more Halloween STEAM activities for kids!
Halloween Binary Code Joke Cards
In today’s digital world, binary code is perhaps one of the most important number systems.
Check out one of the easiest ways to learn binary code and grab these free Halloween joke cards!!
How to Make Spooky Ghost Sounds STEM Activity
We paired a book with a simple physics activity for kids to make a spooky ghost sounds STEM activity! This Spooky Ghost Sounds STEM Halloween Activity is a fantastic way to incorporate a simple physics experiment with some Halloween fun!
How to Make a Crayon Resist Art Project for Halloween
We combined optical illusion art with crayon resist art to make a super cool Halloween project for kids. Your kiddos can make a really cool spiderweb using a wax resist (crayon resist) art technique with a white crayon and some Bingo daubers!
Pumpkin Balance Stack STEAM Challenge
This pumpkin balance activity is great for kids of all ages! Can you complete the Balancing Pumpkins STEAM Challenge? How many pumpkins can you stack?
Silly Pumpkin Faces Activity
Learn about faces and emotions with this silly pumpkin face activity! These are pretty darn fun to play with! My little Thea calls them her “funny pumpkins” and she’s been playing with them throughout the last two days!
This is such a fun way to get into the holiday spirit and involve your toddler in some G-rated spooky fun!!
Exploding Pumpkin STEAM Challenge
Fall is such a fun time for STEAM activities from pumpkins to potions and every spooky thing in between, I love how many great projects fall into the season!
My kids really wanted to make a pumpkin explode. We’ve been talking about it since this Summer and we were super excited to try out some chemical and physical reactions to create some exploding and erupting pumpkins!
Preschool Pumpkin Investigation - Learning About Scientific Inquiry
Fall is a great time to investigate some of our favorite seasonal things — like pumpkins!! We’ve been doing so many activities with pumpkins that the employees at our Walmart keep asking me what I am doing buying so many!
This preschool pumpkin investigation is fantastic for young learners like my little Thea who isn’t quite ready for any of our other pumpkin activities. From exploding pumpkins to painting pumpkins, we’ve already done a fair share of pumpkin activities this year!
It's Not Magic, It's Pumpkin Paper Circuits!
My girls are super artistic. I love trying STEAM activities that incorporate their artistic side to teach them scientific concepts. This is a great STEAM activity to learn about simple circuits and parallel circuits and then apply that circuitry knowledge with some artistic flair to make pumpkin paper circuits!
How to Make Preschool Pumpkin Art with Cotton Swabs
We are getting ready to go back to school next week. Back to school always makes me excited for fall. It’s right around the corner. My youngest two girls and I have been busy working on some fun fall projects including this preschool pumpkin art made with Qtips!
How to Make Beautiful Chalk Pastel Glue Resist Art Pumpkins
You can absolutely make beautiful chalk pastel pumpkin art with your kids by using a glue resist art method. I did this project with my toddler! Yes, you read that right! I know what you are thinking…how in the world did I get a 2yr old to draw like that?
Learn about Static Electricity with this Zombie Crossing Activity!
This static electricity zombie crossing STEAM activity is super easy and eerily fun! With only a few supplies needed, your walking dead will be up and moving in no time! This activity is so much fun and you can make all sorts of different shapes to test!
Leftover Candy Corn Unplugged Coding Preschool Sequences Activity
Use your leftover Halloween candy to learn how to code sequences with this unplugged coding preschool sequences activity.
Composing & Decomposing the Number 10 with Candy Corn!
A great activity for preschool and kindergarten aged kiddos is working hands-on with objects to learn addition and subtraction. We decided to work with candy corn to compose and decompose the number 10, but you can use other objects such as m&ms, fruit loops, popcorn, legos, etc.
Leave No Trace Behind Candy Chemistry Challenge
It’s October and that means a ton of candy is coming to a household near you in the very near future! We don’t let the kids eat all of their candy. We pick at it and they eat a few pieces here and there, but let’s be real, there are some candies that no one really likes to eat.
We like to use those candies for experiments! In this yummy experiment, we are testing to see if sour candy is acidic with a simple acid-base reaction.
Download Your Free Halloween Activity Worksheets for Kids
These Free Halloween Activity worksheets contain a few different exercises for kids of different learning levels, including: I-Spy, Word Search, Number Recognition, Letter Recognition, Pumpkin Coloring Page, & Less Than or Greater Than Pumpkins!
Ogre Slime: Oozing Halloween Slime Sensory Fun!
Learn about molecules, polymers, and chemical reactions with this oozing ogre slime Halloween sensory activity!
31 Nights of Halloween STEAM Activities
Get ready for 31 nights of Halloween STEAM activities with easy spooky STEAM projects filled with ghosts, zombies, spiders & more!
Meet Toni, the Maker Mom behind Our Family Code
Hey there, I’m Toni! I’m a software engineer and Maker Mom that finds my joy in unleashing my children’s curiosity by exploring STEAM concepts with my fantastic five!
When I’m not chasing toddlers or raising tweens, you can find me tearing things up and putting them back together over here at Our Family Code.
I am the owner and content creator of multiple educational websites designed to increase access to STEAM & STEM education with a focus on teaching computer science and coding to kids of all ages!
You can also find out more about me by visiting ToniGardner.com!
Jasmine - LoveLifeLaughMotherhood
Monday 1st of October 2018
these are really good STEM activities! they sound like a lot of fun!