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Art Activities for Kids : Red Cabbage Art

Art Activities for Kids : Red Cabbage Art
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Art Activities for Kids: Red Cabbage Art

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How awesome is it when science meets art? The kids love their art activities and their science activities but this artsy science activity just wowed them. I just wish some one had showed me this experiment when I was in school – I totally would not have done the B-R-A mnemonic!!! ( blue to red = acid) My 5 year is quite familiar with the red cabbage experiment since we have done 3 activities based on the same. Read our post on the “ red cabbage experiment”red cabbage tie-dye and our ever so fun “ color changing goop“. The first red cabbage experiment shows what you need and what the experiment is all about.


If you decide to do this art activity, then you are having red cabbage soup for lunch! To make your “magic” paper (pH strips) follow the instructions in the original post. Once you make your red cabbage water, soak heavy sheets of paper in the water, preferably overnight. Remove them from the water on the following day and let the paper completely dry. Once you have your “magic” paper it is time to engage in super fun art activities.

I should warn you that this art activity is suitable for kids 4+. Since the results are very subtle the entire process may be a little lost on the younger crowd. Your kindergartner however may think this is so magical!

Set out your red cabbage water strips along with a few materials – we chose vinegar ( acid – turns pinkish purple), lemon essence ( turns pink ) and washing detergent ( turns bluish green). You can add baking soda solution as well. The original post gives you a lot of options. Basically we are choosing acids and bases to see the color change in the red cabbage water paper which is acting like a pH strip.

materials needed

My 5 year old drew a simple picture of a flower and then I built up excitement by announcing that these liquids will make colors magically appear on her paper! Although she has done this a few times, she was still excited to see color on her paper simply through vinegar. Mom! ” I got pink on my paper” She continued to “paint” her flower by switching between the vinegar, lemon juice and washing detergent ( diet coke, hand soap are also great options if you want a wider array of colors)

science art

The best part of art activities like these is that they are so open ended and all she needs to do is just paint and explore designs. What a great way to encourage creativity! Here is another design my 5 year created with the paper. All she did was use one of the 3 materials I set out and created art. Every time she used the soap, as soon as the brush hit the paper, a greenish blue ( which eventually turned yellow) would appear and that alone excited her.

monster man art

What she did next was the HIGHLIGHT of the activity. Once we got these abstract designs and patterns, she started outlining and identifying the designs she saw in her work. “Hey mom, look here, this looks like a whale” etc.. Just like cloud watching -instead of watching the clouds she was observing her art to pick out patterns. { Cloud watching is oh-so-fun!}

art activities for kids drawing wtih red cabbage water

Alright, she created a monster?  How did we move from a flower to this one haha? { Once she picked out a pattern she saw, I helped her with her first outline} She picked up on it and started outlining her observations.

monster art activities

Here is another pattern she created with water color paper. So what did she see in this one? Plenty!

ph art activities for kids

There! she outlined a bunch of images for us. Apparently there is a lake, lion ( more like an ant eater– but it is her imagination), fish, whale, apple, and a pointer finger.

looking for shapes in art

Well, I had to experiment with this amazing art activity!

 red cabbage experiment art


  • Chop red cabbage
  • Boil in water
  • Strain the cabbage out
  • Transfer the now “purple water” to a shallow pan
  • Soak heavy paper/cardstock/water color paper in the purple water over night
  • Remove the paper the following day and let them dry
  • Now you have your pH strips that will change color based on the solution used to paint
  • Paint with lemon juice
  • Paint with vinegar
  • Paintwith baking soda
  • Paint with laundry detergent
  • Enjoy the color change!

Thanks for reading

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Art activities for kids with red cabbage

Stop by this awesome sensory activity – color surprise goop play.

 sensory activities with oobleck fb


  1. I think this is a really fun idea. I love that kids can feel both like artists and scientists. Since we live in the north, I think I’ll book mark it until we have warm weather and could possibly try this with veggies we’ve grown on our own. I think that would be extra fun! Thanks for sharing!


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