Exploding Baggies | Classic Science

What do you get when you combine baking soda and vinegar in a plastic baggie? An expanding bag that pops! Exploding baggies are a classic science activity that you’ll want to try out with your kids.

Exploding Baggies

Exploding Baggies Science

We’ve done exploding baggies in the past with an art twist as exploding fireworks painting and to go along with a post sponsored by Big Hero 6 as one of Honey Lemon’s Chemistry Concoctions. I made a video of the exploding baggies so I thought I would share the instructions for the classic exploding baggies in a post all on their own.

Watch the video to see how it works:

What you’ll need:

  • small plastic baggies with good closure (the thinner, the better)
  • baking soda
  • toilet paper, tissue, or thin paper towels
  • vinegar
  • water (optional – use it to stretch your vinegar supply)
  • liquid watercolors or washable paint (optional)

exploding baggies materials

I recommend doing this activity outside wearing play clothes. The baggies will explode and make a mess everywhere. Be sure it’s okay to have paint in the area. Skip the paint if needed. You can also do this in your bathtub. You might skip the paint there, too.

  1. Pour around 1/3 of cup of vinegar and a few drops of liquid watercolors into a plastic baggie. (You may need to play around with the amounts of baking soda, vinegar, and paint depending on the size of your bags.) Experiment with filling the bag 1/3-1/2 way full of vinegar. You can also do a mixture of vinegar and water. This will help extend your vinegar supply.
  2. Create little packets of baking soda: add about a tablespoon of baking soda to a square of toilet paper or a small piece of thin paper towel or tissue.
  3. While the vinegar is in one corner of the baggie, place the baking soda packet in the other corner of the baggie. Try to leave a good amount of air in the bag, and seal the baggie well. Don’t worry if the baking soda and vinegar start to mix right away. Just quickly seal the bag.
    exploding baggie expands as the baking soda and vinegar reacts to form carbon dioxide
  4. Shake the bag to mix together the baking soda and vinegar. (If you don’t shake the bag, the reaction will still occur. It will take much longer. Did you watch the end of the video?)
  5. Watch the bag inflate. It should eventually pop and release the liquid.

What’s Happening?

Baking soda and vinegar react to form carbon dioxide, water, and a salt. The carbon dioxide cause the bag to expand. When the pressure is too great for the bag, it will pop open.

Exploding Baggie

More Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiments

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This post was first published on May 25, 2015.

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