Science experiments always fascinate kids. Lucky for (cool) parents, you often have the ingredients to wow your kids (and their friends) right in your own kitchen. In this kitchen science experiment, watch colors do gymnastics and learn about hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecular properties.

{{Don’t worry if 9th grade science is escaping, we’ve got an explanation for the science that’ll help you explain it to your kids!}}

Doubles as a great keep-them-busy art activity, too!

kitchen science: milk + color gymnastics experiment - (cool) progney

kitchen science materials

  • Shallow Dish
  • Whole or 2% milk (non-fat won’t work)
  • Food Coloring
  • Dish Soap

kitchen science: milk + color gymnastics experiment - (cool) progney

the kitchen science experiment: milk + color gymastics

Not much to this experiment! {Read: easy!} Try it out with your kids first and have them make predictions about what will happen. Then explain the science behind it.

kitchen_science_color_gymnastics2

Step One: Pour enough milk in a shallow container to cover the base.

kitchen science: milk + color gymnastics experiment - (cool) progney

Step Two:  Add drops of food coloring — but don’t mix them.

kitchen science: milk + color gymnastics experiment - (cool) progney

Step Three: Drop a few drops of dish soap and watch the color race!

kitchen science: milk + color gymnastics experiment - (cool) progney

Step Four: You can repeat steps 2 and 3 to see what happens again.

the science: learn about molecular properties

Believe it or not, milk is mostly water, but it does have vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fat. Fats and proteins are super sensitive and react when there are changes in the milk. Dish soap weakens the bonds that hold the  proteins and fats in solution. The soap’s polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving) end dissolves in water, and its hydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. That’s when the gymnastics start! The fat molecules bend and twist as the soap molecules try to join up with the fat molecules. You can see it happen because the food coloring is bumped and shoved as the fat molecules dart around.