Toddler Science: Milk Magic

Ready for the easiest "science experiment" in the world? I can pretty much guarantee that you have some form of the ingredients in your house right now, and your kids will enjoy watching this experiment over and over again if you record it as you do it (because the reaction happens fast).


What You Need:

Bowl with Milk
Food Coloring or Watercolor Paints
Dish Soap (preferably clear)

Yeah, that's it. 

Fill the bowl partially with milk, then add several drops of different colors from your food coloring stash. Or, if you're like us and aren't big on dyes in food...grab your child's watercolor palette and a paintbrush, then drip a few bold colors in the milk (that's what we did). Then tell your kiddo that you're going to add a drop of soap. Ask them what they think might happen. 

Hit "record" on your camera aaaand: 

Enjoy, y'all. 

Post-Experiment: Discuss what happened with your child. Ask them what they saw, and ask them if they think they can get the colors to go back to the way they were before. If they really think they can...hand them a paintbrush or utensil and ask them to try. Once they realize they can't, talk about the reaction. 

My toddler was terribly interested in what was happening, but attempting to explain the way the soap reduces the milk's surface tension was way, way over her head. Instead, I explained that the soap made the milk different, that once the soap touches the milk, the milk will never be the same again. If you have older kids who are interested in a deeper explanation, the American Chemical Society has a great explanation at the bottom of their page on the experiment. See it here! 

Emotional Education: this experiment is perfect if you're dealing with a child who seems to be using hurtful words or actions. Explain that the soap is like their hurtful words and the food coloring is like the feelings of the person who hears those words. People will instinctually flee from harsh language. Ultimately, their feelings will be beautiful in a different way, but even after apologies and forgiveness...their feelings will always be a bit different. Words can have an impact just like a chemical reaction. They can change things forever. 

How did your experiments turn out? Share in the comments!


Lindsay Sweeting was in the world of Marketing and Publicity in her previous life. These days you're more likely to see her running after her toddler than running a meeting, but she does her best to find time to create new recipes, come up with fun activities for her daughter, and write about the craziness that is life in the Sweeting house.

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