Painting with milk

by Brie We visited the Main Farmer's Market one weekend and were lucky enough to be there for a science experiment themed kids activity. The wonderful volunteer preformed a number of neat tricks, all of which we have been recreating at home. This one was the girl's favorite.

Before you begin assemble all the supplies necessary: a pie plate or small baking dish, a cup of homogenized milk, food colouring in the three primary colours and a bottle of dish soap.

The kids and I all sat on the floor for this activity. I figured it would be easier to just sit on the floor and clean it up instead of sitting at the  table and then having to clean off the table and the floor. Because with my kids, messes always creep off the table and onto the floor.

The boy poured the milk from a measuring up into the square baking dish we used. Once that was done, I had to moderate a heated discussion about who would get which colour of food colouring and who would get two colours and who would get one. Sigh. Needless to say the girl managed to out talk her brother and convince him he only wanted one colour. Ah, the life as the older sibling.

Ideally, you would like to put three drops of each colour (blue, yellow and red) into the milk. The drops should be spaced out evenly from each other, almost forming a triangle. My kids dropped copious amount of each colour into the milk in a Jackson Pollack like pattern. But that's okay. It just makes for more interesting milk art!

When the drops are all in, it is time to bring on the dish soap! This is the best part. I let the boy squirt the soap into the middle of the dish and then we all watched as whoosh went the colours. The soap pushed away the food colouring closest to it, causing the colouring to then blend with the milk and other colours. We spent a good long time watching the red, yellow and blue mix and mingle with each other. We pointed out new colours as they emerged and looked for different shapes.

Then the girl put her hand into the milk and swirled it all around until the only identifiable colour was a light purple. I finally took the pan away once they tried to dip their feet into it.

From what I understood when the market volunteer preformed this experiment for us, the soap causes the coloured milk to move around because it is chasing the fat in the homogenized milk. Or something like that. Whatever the science behind it, we all enjoyed the art of painting with milk.

Brie is the mom of a 3.5 year old daughter “the girl” and twenty-one month old son “the boy”. You can read her blog at Capital Mom.