Skip to main content

Magic Milk Painting for Earth Day

A favorite art activity/science experiment for Wild Thing is what he and I call Magic Milk Painting. This simple activity involves putting milk in a dish (pie dish, baking dish or similar) and then adding a few drops of dish soap and of food coloring. The result is awesome - the color magically moves. The swirl happens on its own, no mixing or stirring is required. 

The magic happens because the detergent lowers the surface tension allowing the food coloring to move through the milk. The detergent disrupts the protein and fat in the milk. Steve Spangler explains the scientific reaction quite well and shows the proper method (using a Q-Tip), but we never do it that way! We decided to see how the movement of the colors might change if we used different milks, since we happened to have almond milk and soy milk at home. (Many stores have a small box of soy or almond milk for $1 and many dollar stores now carry soy milk if you want to try this out and do not already have those milks on hand). Here are images of how the different milks reacted and differed - in general, we saw the most motion from the cow milk and the least from the almond milk. We used blue, yellow and green in order to evoke an image that, perhaps (we hoped) looked something like the Earth, and the cow milk one created in a pie plate eventually did. 

At the beginning, this is how it looked.

After a few minutes, this is what the three trays looked like.
Our most Earth like image from the day.

Wild Thing took this photo close up of the cow milk tray.
He enjoyed also blowing the liquid and encouraging even more motion.
In the end, Wild Thing and Caterpillar ended up stirring it all up -- creating a very cool blue-ish green colored liquid that proved very fun to splash hands in and stir up with spoons. I definitely recommend having some magic milk fun at your house too!  

Sharing at: Montessori Monday, Tuesday Tots, Discover & Explore, Artsy Play Wednesday, Mom's Library, It's Playtime           

You might also like:
Summer Science for Kids - 10 Activities
Favorites from 2012
Baby Play


  1. Great idea to try it with the different types of milk.. and it does look so earth like!

  2. We've never tried colors in milk before- how pretty!

  3. These are beautiful. I've always wanted to try this project.

  4. This is very cool! I love that you turned it into an Earth Day project!

  5. That is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. The process must have been really fun and the colors looked a lot like Earth when they were swirled together. Pinned it.

  6. Very nice! I think this would be a lot of fun!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Very Hungry Caterpillar Day: Celebrating 45 Years with Caterpillar and Butterfly Crafts from The Kid's Co-Op

March 20th is Very Hungry Caterpillar Day with celebrations and programs being held around the world to honor the 45th Anniversary of the book. 

We love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so of course we're joining the fun. Plus, my youngest son's blog nickname is Caterpillar, after the book. Just as Wild Thing is my 4 year-old's nickname inspired by Where the Wild Things Are. 

Today, we'll be doing another Very Hungry Caterpillar Food Drive. We did our first one for Eric Carle's birthday last June and called it a Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive and loved hearing that the virtual part worked, as others were inspired by our online shares and also did VHC-inspired food drives.

P.S. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive post 
also features 40+ Activities Inspired by the Book, so you'll definitely want to check it out.
For our VHC-inspired food drive this time, Wild Thing will be helping me write the grocery list for food items to donate as we read the boo…

{A Season of Giving} 12 Days of Christmas: Celebrating through Giving

Stacy (the Great) of Kids Stuff World brought to my attention the 31 Days of Service/Giving Calender (and great e-book) from Mom It Forward. 

Having gotten to know Stacy really well through our joint Moms Fighting Hunger effort during Hunger Action Month, I was all too happen to jump on board and take on 12 Days of Christmas, the action prompt for Dec. 4th.

The e-book describes the prompt in this way:
Choose another family in your area to be the recipient of 12 days of gift giving. Try to think of a family that may be struggling financially, emotionally, or with health problems and might need a boost during the holiday season.E ach day, starting December 13, leave a gift anonymously on the doorstep of your chosen family. Involve the kiddos in your secret acts of service. Your gifts can relate to the “12 Days of Christmas” song verses (i.e. partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, French hens, etc.) but it’s not necessary. Try to choose or provide handmade gifts, drawings or tre…

Ten for Tuesday: Activities for Fire Prevention Week

October 7-13 is Fire Prevention Week, so I am sharing 10 Fire Safety Crafts, Activities, and/or Books to help kids learn about fire safety and to encourage them to have some fun too! At our house, fire trucks and fire fighters always get Wild Thing excited so engaging with some new activities was a lot of fun.

1. Get Inspired through Books - We loved reading Alphabet Rescue and creating a fire truck from a juice box that we drove our letters around in, just like in the story. I have loaded up our library list with many of these other fire truck and/or fire safety books. Felix the Fire Engine gets great reviews and No Time for Flashcards has a comprehensive list of 20 firefighter books. I also have to share this great PreK Fire Safety Pack from Royal Baloo!

2. Make a Shape Fire Truck - We previously shared this great one from No Time for Flash Cards and here is another one from Teach Preschool.

3. Abstract Art Fire Trucks - Using red, black and yellow tape, Teach Preschool shares som…