Are you stuck at home in the winter with your kids? This exploding snowman science experiment is a fun preschool STEM activity that your kids will want to do over and over again!
It’s beginning to feel like Christmas! Well, not really, considering that it was over 80 degrees out here in SoCal. But the hot weather won’t stop us from doing some fun winter science experiments!
The great thing about this exploding snowman science experiment is that it’s versatile. You can draw a monster and make it in an exploding monster science experiment. Or a heart for Valentine’s Day. You get the idea.
Because you only need a few materials to do this simple STEM experiment for kids, it’s an awesome boredom buster to keep in mind for the cold, wintery days when you are stuck inside.
Do note that this is an EXPLODING snowman, so vinegar and baking soda will probably spill on the floor. You may want to do this experiment in the shower or outside if it’s not too cold so you don’t end up with a mess.
How to Make an Exploding Snowman in a Bag
- A sandwich bag
- Permanent markers
- Baking soda
- Paper towel or tissue paper
1. Give the sandwich bag to your kid to decorate with permanent markers. This is a good opportunity to teach your kid how to draw a snowman’s face. Do be careful that your kid doesn’t get permanent marker on the furniture, the floor, of himself.
2. Wrap 3 teaspoons of baking soda inside a piece of paper towel or tissue.
3. Place the baking soda packet inside the plastic bag.
4. Pour about 1-2 cups of white vinegar into the sandwich bag and seal the bag quickly. It should swell up quickly.
5. Stand back and watch it explode!
We have tried a couple of methods to get the bag to explode. If you follow the steps mentioned above, you do have to close the bag extremely fast after you dump the white vinegar into the bag. The reaction starts immediately and if you don’t hurry, all the air will escape.
If you are paranoid about the bag exploding in your hands, here is another way to do this.
- Same as above.
- Same as above.
- Pour about 1-2 cups of white vinegar into the sandwich bag.
- Insert the baking soda package inside the sandwich bag, but do not let it touch the vinegar.
- Close the sandwich bag and let go of the baking soda package so it dops into the vinegar.
- Stand back and watch the bag explode!
Why Did the Snowman Explode?
As baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, mixes with vinegar, carbon dioxide is created. The bag starts to fill with carbon dioxide (and that’s why you see the bag start to swell up) until the pressure is too much and … BOOM!
More Fun with this Exploding Snowman Experiment
If your kids are like mine, they will want to do this over and over again!
So let your kids decorate more sandwich bags, and try different variables for each bag. Here are some ideas:
- What happens if you don’t use a paper towel to wrap the baking soda and put the baking soda directly in the bag?
- What happens if you add more vinegar or more baking soda?
- If you use the same amount of vinegar and baking soda, can you explode a bigger bag (try a gallon-sized bag)?
I originally got this idea from The Science Kiddo. However, the original experiment suggested using ice (or snow) and Alka-Seltzer tablets instead of baking soda and vinegar.
Supposedly, the bag will explode at some point between 30 to 60 minutes. I have a 3-year-old and 5-year-old, patience is not their strong suit. They kept asking when the explosion was going to happen every 5 seconds we were watching the bag. Therefore, I switched to baking soda and vinegar, which allowed the bag to explode within 30 seconds.
Plus, baking soda is a lot cheaper than Alka-Seltzer tablets! Since what you need for the bag to explode is the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in the Alka-Seltzer tablets, there is no reason to purchase the more expensive tablets.
Hope you and your kids have lots of fun doing this exploding snowman science experiment! If you want more explosive science experiments for your kids, check out these posts: