Family Time Activity: Color Changing Milk

Color changing milk

Are you looking for a fun science activity to help your kids start to get back in school-mode? Do your kids love crazy science experiments that let them engage in hands-on and interactive play, all while learning something new? If so, then we have the perfect new science experiment for you and your family. Read on below to learn the recipe and the procedure to create your own color changing milk at home.

What You Will Need

In order to begin this project, you will need a shallow dish, a small amount of whole or 2% milk, dish soap, a cotton swab, and food coloring in a variety of different colors (preferably in your children’s favorite colors).

Preparation for the Project

To get started, first fill the shallow dish with a small amount of milk (here the dish should have no more than ¼ inch of milk within). Then, place four different colored droplets of food coloring into the middle of the dish of milk, making sure that they do not touch in the middle. Finally, take the cotton swab, and dip one side of it in dish soap.

Before you start the project

This is a great time to start a conversation about what the properties of milk and dish soap are. At this time, ask your children to make a hypothesis about what will happen when you put the color in, when you put the plain swab end in, and when you put the soapy swab in. Maybe try it with water or low-fat milk. Does it have the same reaction? Why?

The Project

As a preface to the project, dip the non-soapy end of the cotton swab in the middle of the milk (where the color droplets are), and show your children the reaction. Here, nothing should happen; the swab may absorb some of the milk and color, but nothing significant will occur.

Once you are finished with that portion of the project, take the soapy end of the cotton swab, dip that part in the center of the milk, and prepare for your children to squeal with excitement. If you performed the science experiment correctly, the colors within the center of the dish should shoot outwards in all directions, and create a giant burst of color in the center.

Why Does This Happen?

After you have tested this out one or two more times, take a few minutes to explain to your children why this occurs (if they are in grade school and old enough to understand; if not, leave the explanation for a future date).

But why does this color burst occur? In general, milk contains water, minerals and other proteins, and little globs of fat, none of which has any special reaction to a cotton swab. Dish soap, however, has portions of it that are extremely adverse to contact with water, and instead would rather attach to fat molecules for safety. When you dip the soap into the dish of milk, the little water-fearing molecules race to the fat molecules, pushing the food coloring out of the way in the process. Normally this would be an invisible process, but with the food coloring in the middle of the dish of milk you can see everything taking place, right in front of your eyes.

Science Family Time Activity with the Little Ones

Do you need a fun family time activity to test out with the kids? If so, test out this new color changing milk project for a truly visual experience!

Keywords: family time activity, children’s


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