Did you know you could turn milk into plastic? I didn’t. I had no idea!
I did know that you can turn cream into butter, which is just what I was planning on doing with my Kindergarteners last week. We love easy science experiments!
There I was, armed with gallons of cream (which as it turns out was waaaay more cream than needed), when one of my lovely colleagues said, “Oh! Are you making plastic?”
I looked at her as if she were insane and said, “No… this is cream.”
She then smiled and said, “Oh, I thought it was milk,” and started to walk away.
As if you could walk away after a sentence like that! I quickly chased after her and got all the details on how to turn milk into plastic. Turns out—she’s not insane! You really can! And best of all, you only need to add vinegar.
Just before we get into it, you’ll also want to grab your FREE printable instructions! Little ones will love being able to follow along, helping with each step as they take part in this experiment:
Good news friends, I have worked out all the kinks, done this science experiment more than a few times (it’s that awesome), and have all the details just for you.
Here is a little video outlining the process of how to turn milk into “plastic.” This is such a great STEM activity for kids:
You can turn milk into “plastic” in literally minutes with only milk and vinegar—and it is awesome.
1. First, take 1 cup of milk and warm it in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes (you want it hot, but not boiling).
2. Next, stir in 4 tablespoons of vinegar. The milk will start to clump as the acid in the vinegar breaks down the protein in the milk. Stir for about 1 minute.
3. Then, strain the milk through a strainer. All the clumps will stay in the strainer and really push on them to get all the liquid out.
4. Finally, transfer it to some paper towels and continue to press all the liquid out of the plastic milk. You can then shape it and colour it if you wish. We used a cookie cutter and then added a few drops of food colouring (sometimes we leave it white too).
5. Set them aside to dry for a good long while—ours took about 2 nights—then they’re ready! Ours were hard as could be and ready to be hung up in a window, on a door, or used to decorate a Christmas tree! (You know, if it wasn’t March…)
My kids just loved this science experiment, I hope yours will too!
So this is the takeaway lesson here, friends: If someone says something that doesn’t make sense, chase them down the school hallway and ask questions! You might just discover the coolest science experiment of all time.
I hope you have a lovely week friends, thank you for reading!
*** Goodness gracious! I had no idea this post would elicit quite so much discussion. I can certainly say I have learned a ton reading through the comments below. If you are looking for more information about the science behind this process or about the making of paneer, please read the comments on this post. ***
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your free printable How to Turn Milk into “Plastic” instructions!
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