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Science Sparks – Week Four Colourful Milk Display!

Yay week Four! So my original idea for this week is postponed because it is going to take some practice to get it right and I know how frustrating it is for children when things don’t work. So a change of plan for this week, simple but effective!  

This week we are going to make a colour ‘display’ in milk, like fireworks without the fire!

What you will need:

A baking tray
Whole milk (it must be whole -any less fat and it won’t work)
Washing up liquid
A variety of food colourings!


1. Fill your baking tray with with milk
2. Add three/four drops of each food dye randomly in the milk
3. Add drops of the washing up liquid on top of the food dye and watch the show – adding the washing up liquid keeps the show going but eventually the colours will mix

Safety: Do not drink the milk after (obvious I know but it has to be said!)

So for the science bit:

For this you need to think why we use washing up liquid in everyday? It is to clean our dishes and this break down the fat that makes them greasy. Fat is found in whole milk – milk is mainly small droplets of animal fat dispersed in water. The washing up liquid wants to do the same thing, break the fat down in the milk. We call it an emulsifier as it allows the water and fat to mix creating an emulsion. The emulsifier (the washing up liquid) molecules have a water loving head and a water hating tail. The tail sticks into the fat droplet and surrounds it leaving only the water loving heads. While it is doing that it scatters all the colour creating the display you see below. If you want to stretch your further, trying seeing if different washing up liquids have a different effect or alternatively try the test out in different shaped trays.

Notice in the video how my hubby whispered ‘Wow….more colour’ and how I was slightly distracted as I spilt the blue all over my fingers! They are really stained!

For more Science Sparks Click here!

Come back and show me what you did and link up!

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