Magic milk is an easy science project your kid can do with very little preparation. It’s a STEM project you can always do on a rainy day or as a boredom buster.
Last week we came back home after being out for two weeks visiting family. Hungry after a long flight, we opened the fridge only to be met with empty shelves and … expired milk! Yuck!
The first thing we did was head to lunch and the grocery store. But mommy’s brain was already churning out ideas of what to do with the expired milk. Throwing it out would be such a waste, but there was no way I was volunteering to drink it.
Ah, the magic milk science experiment! We had done it once in the past when the kids were younger (under two years old), but at the time, they just wanted to mix the colors as fast as possible until the milk turned black. Now that they are older, it’s time to redo this fun experiment and explore the science behind it!
How to the Color Explosion Magic Milk Experiment
- Milk (2% or whole preferred)
- Dishwashing liquid
- Liquid food coloring
- Cotton swab (optional)
- A glass pan or dish
1. Pour a thin layer of milk in the pan until the milk covers the bottom.
2. Add drops of food coloring to the milk. It’s okay if some of them start to mix. If that’s the case, you can talk to your kids about color mixing and how two colors combine to form a new color.
3. Dip the cotton swab in dish soap and put it in the milk. If you don’t have cotton swabs around the house, you can add a drop of dish soap into the milk directly. I recommend the cotton swab just because you can control where you want the dish soap to go better.
Watch the colors run wild!
4. Once the colors start to slow down, you can repeat #3 and watch the colors explode again. The explosion will slow down and stop eventually.
How Does the Magic Milk Experiment Work?
We drink milk every day. But have you ever stopped to think about what exactly is in milk? What is the science behind the magic milk science experiment?
Milk is composed of water, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The proteins and fats are susceptible to changes in the milk.
What happens when you add detergent to milk?
When you add the dish soap, the soap molecules race around to find the fat molecules in the milk. The fat molecules bend, twist, and roll in all directions as the soap molecules try to attach to them. The fat and soap molecules bump into the food coloring molecules, causing the busts of color.
Does the Type of Milk Matter?
Yes! The higher fat content in the milk, the more fat molecules there are for the dish soap molecules to join up with.
You can repeat the experiment using skim, 1%, 2%, and whole milk and see which one produces the best color eruption.
You can also repeat the experiment with water to see if the colors will still swirl around as they did in milk.
Final Thoughts on the Magic Milk Science Activity
If you enjoyed this science experiment, you would love the Snowstorm in a Jar! It’s another fun activity where the kids get to cause an explosion, this time of paint in water and oil!
Or give this Exploding Snowman Science Experiment a try. Your kids will be squealing with laughter as they anticipate the bag to explode!
If you are doing this experiment in the wintertime, then switch up the colors and add a winter-themed cookie cutter to create a colorful magic milk Christmas tree!