Did you know you can blow up a balloon with common household ingredients? We chose two different methods to make the necessary carbon dioxide: yeast, and baking soda and vinegar (an old standby favorite).
This simple at home science experiment is a great boredom buster when you and the kids are stuck inside. When you are done, be sure to visit my giant list of Indoor Activities for Kids for more ideas.
MORE: This project would make a great addition to our DIY summer science camp!
How to blow up a balloon with yeast
Here are our supplies. Note that the towel is absolutely essential!
It takes a bit of time for the yeast to produce enough gas to inflate the balloon, so start that one first.
Put a spoonful or two of sugar in a bottle. A funnel is very helpful, though not strictly necessary.
Fill with the bottle with water about ¾ full.
Add a spoonful or two of yeast.
Shake. Shake. Shake. This is very fun! Make sure the lid is on tightly!
Place balloon over bottle opening.
At the risk of losing my G-rating, here is what the balloon looked like after about 30 minutes.
How to blow up a balloon with Baking Soda and Vinegar
First, use the funnel to fill balloon with baking soda.
If your funnel is as pathetic as ours, you may have to use a toothpick to encourage said soda to go through opening.
Then, pour some vinegar in the bottle. I used about a cup, but I wasn't very precise.
Add water. This raises the liquid level so you don't overuse the vinegar and the gas fills the balloon rather than just the bottle.
Place balloon over bottle opening and then shake soda from balloon into the bottle.
Bigger...Bigger...Biggest!Of course, with curious kids, the experiment must be repeated.
This is a very satisfying activity for a 4 year old who loves action and reaction. It also provides further free play with the materials, producing much bubbling, oozing and fizzing, along with one very wet towel.
Science Project Books we like (affiliate links):
The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science: 64 Daring Experiments for Young Scientists
Science in Seconds for Kids: Over 100 Experiments You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less
Science is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers
Raising a Happy Child says
The difference between yeast and vinegar is rather dramatic! I have to look for some books you recommend.
TP Craft says
This is a great idea. We made a volcano last year using the baking soda and vinegar. It was so much fun.
An Amazing Child says
I really love all the science activities you do. They are so wonderfully hands-on. I try to do some tiny science with my little man (he's not quite two) and its always lots of fun.
I really liked your post was really fun reading it...no wonder experimenting it must have been even more!
How can you explain to children why that happened when putting soda and vinegar together?
Erica MomandKiddo says
The chemical reaction creates a gas that inflates the balloon.