Boredom Breakers: Color Swirls

Here is a fun activity to do with kids.

You will need:

  • A shallow pan
  • Half and Half cream (whole milk will work, too)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dish detergent (any brand except Dawn)
  • Food coloring


  1. Pour about a half inch layer of milk or cream into the pan.
  2. Place some dish detergent in a small bowl and soak one end of the swabs in it.
  3. Drop different colors of food coloring onto the milk.
  4. Now take the swab and stick it into a colored drop and watch what happens!

The dish detergent reduces the surface tension of the milk, allowing it to move more freely. Because we colored the milk, we can see this happening.

What will your child learn?
As the colors swirl, your child will learn about color mixing. This is also a basic science experiment about surface tension of liquids, but that is probably a little advanced for young children. Just let the kids enjoy the amazing, swirling colors!

Doniese Wilcox

By Doniese Wilcox

Certified Family Life Educator at Avera McKennan

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