Usually, chemistry is something that we can’t see with the naked eye, and when we can, it usually ends in a big mess! As a parent, you can easily and cleanly set up a fun and beautiful chemistry experiment for your child, from pre-school to pre-teen, with four ingredients you have in your home. Magic Milk is an at-home STEM experiment that is not only cool to watch in action, it’s also a great art project that turns into a pretty display of science and creativity!
Chemistry in Action
Unlike typical chemistry experiments that involve dangerous liquids and possible explosions, magic milk is really safe for kids (but they still should not eat it). This experiment shows us how the fats and water in milk interact with the dish soap. When the soap touches the milk, the fats separate from the water and the food coloring pops and swirls around.
Not only is this a cool science experiment, but it is also a beautiful work of art! Your kids can easily “paint” a masterpiece by manipulating the milk and food coloring with the dish soap. Remember that parental supervision is still required for younger children, but this experiment should be easy enough to do for all school-aged kids.
- Full-fat or 2% milk
- Food coloring (however many colors you want)
- Dish soap
- Cotton swabs
- Shallow baking dish
- Pour the milk into a shallow dish until the bottom is fully covered and then some.
- Add drops of food coloring in any arrangement you like with as many colors your kids want to see.
- Coat the cotton swab with the dish soap. You can either remove the cap from the soap or pour some into a small cup or bowl to dip the swab into.
- Gently touch the food color in the milk with the soap-dipped swab. Watch as the color quickly displaces and spreads all over the milk.
- Continue steps 3 and 4 to create a beautiful kaleidoscope in the milk.
- Snap a pic and share it on social media, tagging @ivyleagueafterschool and #ivyleaguekids on Instagram or Facebook!
Test It Out
There are several variables you can change in this experiment to discover the different ways the fats, proteins and water interact in the milk.
- Use different types of milk. Whole milk works best because of the high fat content but you can test 2%, low-fat milk or skim milk to see how they all react to the dish soap.
- Test different brands of dish soap to see which displaces the milk best. Use your good soap on one half and bargain brand on the next to compare their effectiveness.
Your kids will love this hybrid chemistry experiment and art project. You can even take this outside to avoid any messes that may happen inside. Don’t forget to show off your working using #ivyleaguekids on Facebook and Instagram!