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STEM Activity: Magic Milk-y Way

STEM Activities

The classic Magic Milk experiment involves turning ordinary milk into an explosion of color using food coloring and dish soap. This kind of simple, hands-on test is a fun way to demonstrate chemistry and reactions.

What if you could take this activity to new heights – like out of this world?! Try a new version of this well-known experiment and make your own Magic Milk-y Way!


Materials Needed:

  • Dish soap
  • Eye dropper or pipette
  • Food coloring
  • Milk (2% or higher fat)
  • Shallow bowl or container
  • Small cups/bowls or clean recyclables
  • Spoon
  • Toothpicks


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Pour about two spoonfuls of milk into a small cup or clean recyclable. Add a drop or two of your food coloring and mix. 
  2. In separate cups, make one to three different colors of milk. 
  3. Pour dish soap into your shallow container so it covers the bottom. 
  4. Fill an eye dropper or pipette with one color of milk. Squeeze one drop at a time throughout the container of soap. You can add as many colors of milk as you’d like. 
  5. Dip a toothpick into the soap and drag it through the colorful milk dots, making your own swirly spectacle of outer space! 
  6. Try the reverse — start with a fresh cup or clean recyclable and add a couple spoonfuls of soap. Place a few drops of food coloring (different colors if you want) into the soap and then add a few drops of milk. Swirl them into each other. 
  7. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and observe what happens. Add more milk or food coloring drops to keep experimenting!


What Are We Discovering?

Many National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees say their early days of experimenting inspired them to pursue their own innovative ideas, leading them to develop life-changing inventions. Inducted in 2023 for his brilliant and colorful green fluorescent protein variants, Roger Tsien developed an early interest in chemistry, performing “increasingly complex” chemistry experiments at home at just 8 years old.

Inductee Frances Ligler invented portable optical biosensors, benefiting fields from healthcare to food production to military operations. When Ligler won a high school science fair with a DNA-based project, this further fueled her drive to pursue a future in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Science-based activities are great ways to engage with following instructions and observing phenomena — and adapting experiments and pushing the limits can offer just the right mix for innovation inspiration!


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