Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Milk Fireworks Experiment

Milk Fireworks are perfect for some 4th of July fun or just a fabulous science experiment!

Simple Supplies:
  • milk (whole milk works best, though these pictures were taken with 2%)
  • bowls
  • food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • liquid dish soap
  • q-tips or toothpicks

Easy How-to:

1- Pour enough milk in the bowl to completely cover the bottom.

2- Put a few drops of color near the middle of the milk.  The top picture used liquid watercolors and the bottom picture used food coloring.

3- Dip the q-tip or toothpick in the dish soap and poke it in the middle of the colors.  Repeat as much as you want!

4- It's an experiment, so let your child mix things up and see what happens.  Do you have different types of milk?  Different types of color?  Does a toothpick work better than a q-tip?  Does the amount of milk matter?  Remember to encourage your children to predict what will happen, make a hypothesis, and then test it!

What's going on with this "magic milk"?

If your children are old enough to discuss some of the scientific principles at work in this experiment, here are   a few highlights:
  • Food coloring (and liquid watercolors) will mix with water, but not fat.
  • Dish soap breaks the surface tension of milk, allowing the color molecules to flow more freely.
  • Dish soap will bind to the fat in the milk and create soap-fat molecules that shove the color molecules around the bowl in spectacular designs (aka fireworks!)
  • Sticking the q-tip into the bowl also contributes to the currents of color and milk.

For more science fun, check out my collection of over 150 preschool science experiments!  They're great for older kid science too!!

Happy Educating, Carla

I may share at any of these parties!


Jana from HowToRunAHomeDaycare said...

I love how this is Science and Art together. Your pictures are beautiful. We are going to try this and then see if we can paint what we created!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Jana, that's a great idea! I'd love to see your paintings too!!

Janis Cox said...

I found you at Sun Scholars.
Great science experiment.
Janis author of Tadeo Turtle

Liz Hallberg said...

We love doing this one! It's always so fun, and colorful! :)

Tutus & Tea Parties said...

This looks so fun! We just may do this tomorrow! Thank you for sharing at our Pinteresting Party!

Alice Emma Thompson said...

Hi Carla - Just to let you know I've featured you in my July 4th Round-up - thanks so much for sharing Alice x