Exploding bags for science, yep kids love this easy experiment! Our exploding bag experiment is a MUST try and a classic! Find out how a baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction can explode lunch bags. Kids love things that fizz, pop, bang, explode, and erupt. These bursting bags or popping bags do just that! We have tons of simple science experiments you will love to try!


Exploding Lunch Bag

Fun chemistry awaits! What is chemistry? Find out more here. This simple science activity has been on our to-do list for a while now because it’s a classic! Sometimes called the exploding lunch bag, our popping bag activity is the perfect way to excite your kiddos about science! Who doesn’t love something that explodes?

Baking soda and vinegar reactions make for exciting science activities!

Baking soda and vinegar chemical reactions are fascinating, engaging, and easy for everyone to enjoy! Our latest popping bag experiment is perfect for a summer science experiment. You should take this one outdoors because it could get quite messy.

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Using The Scientific Method With Kids

The scientific method is a process or method of research. A problem is identified, information about the problem is gathered, a hypothesis or question is formulated from the information, and the hypothesis is tested with an experiment to prove or disprove its validity.

Sounds heavy! What in the world does that mean?!? It means you don’t need to try and solve the world’s biggest science questions! The scientific method is all about studying and learning things right around you, including bursting bags!

Here are three hypotheses kids can use with this experiment to get started: Note that a classic hypothesis is often written as an if-then statement.

Hypothesis #1: If we combine baking soda and vinegar in a sealed bag, then the bag will inflate with gas because the chemical reaction between the two ingredients produces carbon dioxide gas.

Hypothesis #2: If we vary the amount of baking soda used in each bag while keeping the amount of vinegar constant, then the bags with more baking soda will inflate more because more gas will be produced in the reaction.

Hypothesis #3: If we use different types of acids (e.g., lemon juice, orange juice) instead of vinegar with baking soda in separate bags, then the bags with stronger acids will inflate more because the reaction will release more gas.

As kids develop practices that involve creating, gathering data evaluating, analyzing, and communicating, they can apply these critical thinking skills to any situation.

READ MORE: The Scientific Method For Kids With Examples

Note: The use of the best Science and Engineering Practices is also relevant to the topic of using the scientific method. Read more and see if it fits your science planning needs.

More Helpful Science Resources

Here are a few resources to help you introduce science more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

How Do You Make A Baking Soda Explosion?

Even the youngest scientist can learn something about the science behind our exploding bags. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar creates a gas called carbon dioxide. You can see this in fizzy drinks like our fizzy lemonade.

The carbon dioxide gas then fills up the bag. If there is more gas than the room available in the bag, the bag will burst, pop, or explode. Similar to our baking soda volcano activity. There’s no place for the gas and liquid to go but up and/or out.

The key to really cool exploding bags is getting the right ratio of baking soda to vinegar. This also makes it such a fun science experiment for kids of multiple ages. Older kids can record data, make careful measurements, and re-test. Younger kids will enjoy the playful aspect of it all. 

Read more about the science behind baking soda and vinegar experiments.

Set Up A DIY Science Kit

Head to the kitchen to gather your supplies. A well-stocked pantry, especially with plenty of baking soda and vinegar, ensures you have fun science on hand any time you want!

Put together a homemade science kit to kick off your science adventures. The dollar store also has some great additions. Grab a box of gallon bags while you are there!

FREE Science Activities Guide!

Exploding Bag Experiment

While you’ve got a bunch of bags out and you’re outside, try the leakproof bag for a different type of chemistry experiment!


  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Small sandwich bags or Gallon Size Bags 
  • Toilet paper
  • Tablespoon Measure and 2/3 Cup Measure
  • Safety Goggle or Sun Glasses (always be safe)!

Experiment Set Up:

TIP: To get started with your exploding bags science project, you want to create a toilet paper pouch for the baking soda.  This slows down the chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda.  It’s all about the anticipation!

STEP 1. Place a heaped tablespoon of baking soda in the middle of one square of toilet paper.

TIP: You can also set up a control bag (control variable) with just the baking soda so that kids can draw conclusions by observing and comparing the two bags.

STEP 2. Bring the corners of the toilet paper together and wind up the top to create a simple pouch.

STEP 3. Add 2/3 cup of vinegar to your plastic bag. 

STEP 4. Seal the bag so there is just enough room to slip in the pouch.

STEP 5. Give the bag a little shake and toss on the ground.

Watch and see what happens with your exploding bag.  Will it pop, burp, explode?

Our Results

We attempted to follow the instructions from Steve Spangler, but we were not having any luck. We decided to experiment with our exploding lunch bags on our own.  What did we need to change?

Experimenting is what science activities are all about!

I am glad we did not have immediate success. The problems our exploding bags had gave my son opportunities to think of solutions. He needed to use his critical thinking skills to brainstorm new ideas.

I love that he wanted to keep trying more of these almost bursting bags. He was excited to see if the next bag would work better or differently. 

With a little assistance from a pool noodle below, he was able to make one of the bags burst!

We did finally have success with our bags. The one below grew and grew until it popped the bottom seam! I wonder what would happen if we added food coloring to the activity.

CHECK OUT: Outdoor Science Experiments

More Fun Science Experiments To Try

Printable Science Projects For Kids

If you’re looking to grab all of our printable science projects in one convenient place plus exclusive worksheets and bonuses like a STEAM Project pack, our Science Project Pack is what you need! Over 300+ Pages!

  • 90+ classic science activities with journal pages, supply lists, set up and process, and science information. NEW! Activity-specific observation pages!
  • Best science practices posters and our original science method process folders for extra alternatives!
  • Be a Collector activities pack introduces kids to the world of making collections through the eyes of a scientist. What will they collect first?
  • Know the Words Science vocabulary pack includes flashcards, crosswords, and word searches that illuminate keywords in the experiments!
  • My science journal writing prompts explore what it means to be a scientist!!
  • Bonus STEAM Project Pack: Art meets science with doable projects!
  • Bonus Quick Grab Packs for Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for your posts!
    Just fyi you say to put a heaping tablespoon of vinegar on the toilet paper 😉

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