What could be a more fun way to learn about mixing colors than with a color changing milk experiment that’s like magic?
I’ve tried doing this magic color changing milk experiment in the past, but remember not having the best great success with it. I don’t remember what we did differently though because this time it worked great.
We took this milk experiment as an opportunity for George to be introduced to mixing primary colors to see what colors they would make.
How to do make color changing milk:
Pour milk into a small, flat dish [a pie plate worked perfect for us].
Squirt drops of food coloring in all different colors, [affiliate link], or just two primary colors, into the milk.
Be sure to not mix it up!
Just let the drops sit as they are.
Dip a Q-tip [cotton swab] into some dish soap. I don’t believe it matters what type of dish soap, but we used Ivory dish soap and had great success.
Dip the dish soap soaked Q-tip end into the milk and watch the magic happen!
After doing a first experiment with all three primary colors, I thought this would be a great experiment to introduce mixing colors to George using only two primary colors at a time.
It magically mixes colors!
We did this color changing milk experiment over and over with all the combinations of primary colors.
Of course, George is just like his older brother and loves green, so that was our first experiment.
Magically mixing colors!
How do we make the color green?
George saw the green in the yellow and blue right away!
And then we tried red and yellow to see what they made.
It takes a long time for the colors to actually mix together.
They like swirl around each other more than anything.
So George didn’t see orange, he kept seeing yellow. Until finally, after letting is mix almost completely together he could see the orange.
What’s so interesting about this experiment is that it bubbles up, the yellow will just appear out of no where in the middle of the red all of a sudden!
It really is like magic!
And then we tried to make purple. Blue and red together.
George thought it looked like it made black. I think we overdid it with the drops of color and it got to dark.
The photos here just don’t do this experiment justice. The swirling effect the colors do is just plain amazing to watch. George’s face gives that away in some of the photos. If we had more milk on hand we could have done this to fill up our entire morning.
My husband suggested that any liquid, like water, could probably work. Its something about breaking surface tension. I don’t know what those terms mean, so I’m not going to pretend that I do. But the reason for the milk is to have the white background so you can see the swirls happening.
If someone has tried color changing milk with anything other than milk, let me know if it does work! Does color changing water work?
More takes on this classic color changing milk experiment:
- Read about the science of how and why this works at Steve Spangler Science
- Mess for Less made the milk explode too!
- Add glitter to see the movement, from Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
- See what happens when color is added to only the middle of the pan at Craftulate
George is 3.5 years old.