Milk Art

Posted On 23 Jan 2013
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Preschool Milk Art

Some of our favorite activities also happen to have the simplest ingredients behind them. Shaving cream painting is one example. Iceberg animals is another. But seeing as it’s winter in Vermont and -8F outside, we needed something fun and easy to do inside today. The answer? Milk art.

Preschool Milk Art

For this activity everything you need is likely in your kitchen already. In fact, you only need 4 things: a shallow container, whole milk, food coloring and dish soap.

Preschool Milk Art

To start, pour whole milk into an enamel or glass dish. You only need enough milk to completely cover the bottom of your dish. Then set out a handful of food coloring bottles (small bowls with droppers are another option) and a small container of dish soap.

Preschool Milk Art

Next, ask your child to squeeze droplets of food coloring into the milk. As you can tell from the photo above, the munchkin thought this was pretty cool! He liked seeing the intense color droplets splash into the milk, dissipate and mix with other colors. But the best was yet to come.

Preschool Milk Art

When your child thinks there is enough color in the milk, ask them to pour the dish soap into the dish. Ideally they should pour the soap into a very colorful section of milk. Don’t ask me why , but for some reason doing this creates a crazy reaction between the soap and the fat in the milk. The colors start moving and swirling all over the place! It’s like you have a dish full of color come to life. We did this activity 5 times in a row before I was able to talk the munchkin into saving some food coloring for next time.  :)

Since it’s kinda difficult to capture how the colors move in a photo, check out the YouTube video below. I found this on another mama’s blog! She was also having fun with milk art. You know you want to try it now too.

About the Author
I'm a work-at-home mom and entertainment director for my son, a.k.a. The Munchkin. When we aren't doing art, singing songs or making something tasty in the kitchen we enjoy listening to podcasts and exploring the outdoors. I'm also slightly obsessed with coffee and love to knit. :)
  1. Cynthia

    I mean this without a shred of sarcasm…do you really let your little one use food coloring with “real clothes” on? Maybe my (slightly older) kids are just extremely messy or I’m extremely paranoid (both are possibilities), but I rarely let them be in charge of the food coloring or I make them strip down before doing it. Those jammies in the photos look awfully nice to me.

    We’ve enjoyed several other projects you’ve posted, so we’ll have to do our nearly nude (for them, not me!) version of this activity some time soon. Thanks for the idea.

    • Ari

      Maybe I’m nuts, but often yes. There are a few shirts that have been stained when we used non-washable paints or something, but usually the munchkin is pretty good about not getting stuff all over his clothes. (His hands are another story, they are still stained green from today!) If I had been thinking about it I would have rolled up his sleeves this morning, but honestly I was kinda excited about adding the dish soap to the milk & food coloring. :-D

  2. Michelle

    You have such a beautiful blog!! I’m so excited to try these activities and recipes with my 5 year old. My daughter loves loves art, but I definitely don’t have a creative side. Is there any way to subscribe to your blog, so that I may be notified of your new posts? Also…. I saw your Starbucks Caramel Brûlée recipe! I almost dumped out my coffee with cream and sugar to try it!! <3 yum!

    • Ari

      You are too kind! I hope you and your daughter have lots of fun with the activities we’ve posted so far. And to answer your question, you can sign up for email updates or subscribe to our feed at:


  3. Wendy Benson

    When my Preschoolers use paint I always add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to the paint first so that the paint easily washes out of their clothes. I’m not sure if it would work for food coloring though.

    • Ari

      That’s a fantastic tip Wendy, thanks for sharing.

  4. sharon

    is there any way to “keep” the art?

    • Ari

      I don’t think so since milk is the primary medium.

  5. Rozy Omar

    I really adore all your creative arts with your lil’ Munchkin!!!
    Especially the Milk Art!!! Giving me ideas to have lots new activities with my 4yr old Addienna.. Thank you very much!!! <3

    • Ari

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy the ideas we share. I hope you have as much fun with them as we do. :)

  6. San

    Instead of food colouring, would it be possible to use regular (watery) paint. Food colouring is expensive where I live…

  7. Sherry

    Could the milk be brushed onto a piece of watercolor paper? If there was enough, the project might still work and after adequate drying time, the art might be “keepable.”

    • Ari

      I wouldn’t try this on paper – the milk will start to rot and smell since it’s food. :/

  8. Ruth Shapovalov

    I do this activity very frequently at our Boys and Girls Club, but I have the kids dip Q-tips into Dawn and dip them into the color blotches. Works amazingly. This is fun for kids from 2 years to 18 years, and probably beyond.