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!
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!
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!