Set off a chemical reaction – a spinning, swirling colour explosion – by combining three common kitchen ingredients: milk, food colouring and dish soap.
The magic milk experiment is one of those classic science activities that’s been thrilling kids in classrooms and kitchens for years. If you’ve never tried it, you need to put it on your must-do list now. It’s fun, quick, and easy, and kids of all ages (grown-ups too!) will find it fascinating! Be warned though: you won’t just do it once. If you’re like us, you’ll want to set those colours swirling, twirling and colliding over and over again!
Let me show you how it’s done. And I’ll tell you, these photos really don’t do the experiment justice. This is one of those science activities that you really need to see with your own eyes to fully appreciate it.
To do the magic milk experiment, you’ll need:
- saucer or small plate
- milk (we used 1%, but 2% or whole milk is said to work best)
- liquid food colouring
- dish soap (I believe any brand will work)
To make the colour explosion happen:
Pour enough milk to cover the bottom of the saucer.
Gently drip one drop of each of the colours of food colouring on to the surface of the milk. Drop your colours close together near the center of the saucer.
Now, grab a Q-tip, and coat one end with a drop of dish soap.
Now for the magic!
Press the soapy end of the Q-tip into the food colouring, where the colours intersect. Hold it steady, and watch what happens!
Keep it in place for 10 or 15 seconds, observing how the colours continue to stream out from the Q-tip.
For fun, lift your Q-tip up, and press it down in another area of the plate where the colours have gathered.
Continue to move the Q-tip from one spot to the other, watching the colours swirl and churn and collide.
Try tipping and tilting the Q-tip to see what effect that has on the colours.
Remove the Q-tip completely, and watch in amazement as the colours continue to spin, whirl and twirl.
Isn’t that just the coolest? You want to do it again, don’t you!
Go for it!
How does it happen?
Head over to Steve Spangler Science to find what makes milk, dish soap and food colouring behave this way when they’re combined.
For more easy preschool science experiments, check out:
Get my latest e-book: Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities
40 hands-on, learning activities for kids ages 3-8. Recipes, experiments, art projects, printables and play ideas with links to 80 activities not featured in the book. All for the low price of $9.99
Follow the Hooligans on Facebook
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.