Magical Coloured Milk – Sciencey Fun

Coloured Milk 10

This is such a fun easy experiment, the kids loved it as did my husband and I! I have seen this lots on the internet so was keen to try it – its weird and fun, pretty and simple. It is based around how the fats in milk react to the dishwashing liquid – see below for “How it works”, the colours just make it look amazing as you learn!

What you will need:

Milk (Full fat)
Food Colouring
Plate or Bowl
Dish Wash Liquid
Cotton Buds

Coloured Milk 1


Coloured Milk 2

Add the milk to your bowl – 2cm or 1/4 inch is enough – just enough to cover the bottom of the bowl and a bit.

Coloured Milk 3

Drop one or two drops of different food colouring into the middle of the milk

Coloured Milk 4

Carefully cover the cotton bud with dishwashing liquid.

Coloured Milk 6

Gently lower the cotton bud into the milk and hold it there – and watch the magic happen!

Coloured Milk 7

Keep popping the cotton bud into the different coloured areas to make new patterns.

Coloured Milk 8

It is amazing that the colours keep appearing – try gently turning the cotton bud, or drag it slowly through the colours to watch the different patterns

Coloured Milk 9

You can add a little more dishwashing liquid to a new cotton bud if you need to – does this alter the pattern or create new patterns?

Coloured Milk 10

How does this work??- Here is my friend Steve Spanglers words to explain the sciencey bit so much better than me!

“Milk is mostly water but it also contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, and tiny droplets of fat suspended in solution. Fats and proteins are sensitive to changes in the surrounding solution (the milk).

The secret of the bursting colors is the chemistry of that tiny drop of soap. Dish soap, because of its bipolar characteristics (nonpolar on one end and polar on the other), weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution. The soap’s polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and its hydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is when the fun begins.

The molecules of fat bend, roll, twist, and contort in all directions as the soap molecules race around to join up with the fat molecules. During all of this fat molecule gymnastics, the food coloring molecules are bumped and shoved everywhere, providing an easy way to observe all the invisible activity. As the soap becomes evenly mixed with the milk, the action slows down and eventually stops. 

Try adding another drop of soap to see if there’s any more movement. If so, you discovered there are still more fat molecules that haven’t found a partner at the big color dance. Add another drop of soap to start the process again”

Check out more of his amazing experiments here : Steve Spangler Science

Coloured Milk 8

Thanks for taking a look at our post today – check out more of our fun kids activities in the tab above – also remember to follow me on Facebook or Twitter! for more activities and lots of great recipes 🙂

Have fun!


PS – Please don’t drink the milk once you are done! 😉

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