Magic self-inflating balloons

by threegirlpileup

Okay, perhaps not magic.  Chemistry, actually.  But it feels like magic.

I definitely reccommend trying this at home.  (Inspired by the really fun book Cool Chemistry Concoctions by Joe Rhatigan and Veronika Alice Gunter)

You’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • At least one funnel, two is even better
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Balloons
  • Narrow-necked bottle (we used an old glass soda bottle
  • Chopstick or small paintbrush (optional)

First, measure 1/4 cup of vinegar into the glass bottle (this is where the optional funnel comes in).


Next, you put the mouth of the balloon around your other (dry) funnel.


Then measure 1 tbl. of baking soda and use the funnel to put it inside the balloon.  We found it helpful to use the end of a small paintbrush to help poke it through.


The next step is the only one that’s a little tricky; Maggie needed some help at first, and I had to do this part for Anna.  Making sure that the baking soda doesn’t spill, carefully pull the edge of the balloon over the lip of the bottle.


Next, pick up the balloon and shake it a little so that the baking soda falls into the bottle.  And watch the magic begin!


I think the girls could have done about a hundred iterations of this.  Maggie immediately wanted to alter the protocol, experimenting with different amounts of baking soda and vinegar.  Anna was more interested in the act of scooping and measuring, along with the drama of the inflating balloon.

At this rate, it may be wise to buy stock in Arm & Hammer.