Self-Inflating Balloon Science Experiment

Learn how a balloon can inflate itself with this easy-to-follow experiment.

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If you’ve ever been tasked with blowing up balloons before a birthday party, you’ve probably wished that balloons had a way of inflating themselves. With this simple, no-fuss science experiment, you can make that wish come true. The secret lies with vinegar and baking soda, two household staples that, when combined, create carbonic acid. Carbonic acid breaks down into water and carbon dioxide. This experiment uses the carbon dioxide to fill the balloon, giving the illusion that the balloon is self-inflating. Follow these simple steps to see it happen!

Water bottle
Teaspoon of baking soda
Balloon (not inflated)

Fill the water bottle halfway with vinegar and set aside.

Have a partner keep the opening of the balloon open while you insert the small end of the funnel.

Pour one teaspoon of baking soda into the balloon using the funnel. Remove the funnel and shake the balloon to ensure that all the baking soda falls to the bottom.

Making sure not to get any of the baking soda in the bottle, pull the opening of the balloon over the opening of the water bottle. Make sure there are no holes or openings for air to get in through. If the balloon does not fit tightly over the water bottle, you may have to use a smaller balloon.

Now pick up the other end of the balloon and empty the baking soda into the bottle. Watch as the balloon self-inflates.