STREAM Activity: Magic Milk

Watch as the Magic Milk swirls into beautiful shapes!

Activity best for children age 2 and up

This activity involves food, art, and chemistry! Magic milk painting is a fun way to learn about chemistry with just a couple of items in your kitchen. When combined, milk and dish soap do something special because of their chemical properties. Milk is made up of molecules that include fats. Soap contains molecules that love to combine with fats and dissolve them (which is how soap works!). Mixed together, the milk and soap swirl into beautiful shapes.

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Materials you’ll need:

¼ cup of milk

Dish soap


Food coloring

Guiding Questions:

What do you notice happens between the milk and the dish soap?

Why do we see the colors swirling? Is this a chemical reaction?


Step 1

In a shallow plate, add the milk and some food coloring.

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Step 2

Next, dab a q-tip with some dish soap. Very gently stir the q-tip around the plate of milk.

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Step 3

Watch as the dish soap interacts with the milk! The food coloring helps us to see the milk and soap fat molecules bonding together, creating a swirl.

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Step 4

What does your milk painting look like? As the milk and soap separate, we can see the swirls of beautiful colors. Keep adding as much soap as you want to watch the fat molecules combine.

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Grown Ups-Are you looking for more ways to extend your child’s learning? Check out these extension activities to build upon today’s STREAM activity!

Reading Connections:

The Kitchen Science Cookbook by Dr. Michelle Dickinson

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Real-World Connections:

Chemistry happens all around us, everyday! Next time you and your child are doing dishes after dinnertime, you can think about how the soap dissolves fats in the food we eat.