How to Create Harry Potter Potions: Fun With Your Kids
Looking for a way to wow your kids?
In this article I will show you how to do some simple Hogwarts’ magic with your kids, no trip to Diagon Alley necessary.
You’ll mix everyday items disguised as magical ingredients into potions that bubble, change color and grow.
And really, you can’t get much cooler than that!
Why a Potions Class?
Your little Harrys, Hermiones and Rons will have a blast brewing these mystical mixtures. Even Muggles who have never heard of Harry Potter will have fun conducting these cool experiments.
Why is Harry Potter so popular? I think it’s because kids want to feel powerful.
They love to imagine themselves in a world where they can do magic and defeat evil, even though they’re just kids.
Combine that magical world, that feeling of strength and control, with the ability to create something that seems to behave in a truly magical way—bubbling or growing or changing color—and you have the awesomeness that is Harry’s Potions Class.
Potions Class was by far the most popular event at my little Harry’s birthday party.
My husband wore a cape, snarled and did his best to represent the sinister, scowling Severus Snape, the Slytherin Potions Master who scares his students silly. It was fun for him and for the kids.
Read on to learn how to have a blast (and a sizzle and a pop) with your kids.
How to Prepare
Professor Snape said that he didn’t expect many of his students to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion making. I agree. If something doesn’t work, just roll with it. You are not being graded.
Don’t take it too seriously. It’s just for fun. Hermione’s taking it way too seriously.
The key is to keep it fun for everyone and pay attention to your kids’ level of interest and patience. Tailor your adventure to them and stop before the fun goes up in smoke.
With the Riddikulus spell, Harry learned to use laughter and humor to conquer his fear (specifically, to defeat a boggart). I encourage you to be a little ridiculous yourself.
Don’t be afraid to act silly. Lose yourself in your character. Make your kids laugh.
Overact. You can be mean and strict like Snape or play the absent-minded professor. Have your child play the role of potions master so that you can be the wide-eyed student who reacts (or overreacts) to every chemical process you create together.
Do you solemnly swear you are up to no good?
Let’s Get Started
First, gather your ingredients and tools.
Next, print out the PDF of potions labels. I created this PDF so that you can stick a label on your ordinary Muggle ingredients to transform them into their wizard equivalents.
Tape the labels on your ingredients. Poof! Ordinary rubbing alcohol from your medicine cabinet has become Dragon Drool, straight from a flame-throwing lizard’s mouth.
Be sure to use the wizard names of the ingredients while you’re making the potions. That makes it more fun.
Ready for class?
Potion #1: Exploding Soap
Note: If you only have time to do one of the potions, do this one!
Some magical messes can only be removed from the skin with exploded soap.
Transform an ordinary bar of Muggle Soap into a cloud-like cake of Charmed Cleansing Castile.
Place Muggle Soap on a plate (must be Ivory soap).
Heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Watch as it bubbles and grows into a cloud-like shape over 6 times its original size. Ask your kids what they think it looks like as it’s cooking.
Caution: Plate will be hot.
Once the soap cools, it is capable of cleaning even the most stubborn magical stains from a wizard’s or witch’s skin. Break off a piece and use with water to wash.
Potion #2: Burning Basilisk (Snake) Skin
Use caution! Basilisks are one of the most dangerous creatures in the magical world. Their venom is very potent, one of only three things capable of destroying an evil horcrux.
The skin shed by the basilisk is a powerful ingredient in many potions. Since it is quite unstable, the skins are transformed into a powdered form.
We must burn the basilisk skin powder to make the snake skin reappear by following the process below.
Note: ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED. Flame is involved. Skip this potion if that worries you. Otherwise, use caution.
In your plastic cup (Small Cauldron), mix:
- 4 parts powdered sugar (Basilisk Powder)
- 1 part baking soda (Horn of Bicorn)
We used 4 teaspoons sugar: 1 teaspoon baking soda
Set the powdered mixture aside.
In your large Pyrex or metal bowl/pan (Fireproof Cauldron):
Flip the cauldron (cup) full of powdered mixture over in the bottom of your heat-resistant mixing bowl or pan. It’s like making a sand castle. Leave the cup in place.
Add Dragon Drool (alcohol or fuel) to bowl. Stop when the bottom of the bowl is covered. The more you add, the longer you’ll have to wait for your fire to burn out.
Lift the cup away carefully. You want to keep the powder dry, so try not to let it spread out into the fuel.
Have an adult ignite the fuel using a firestarter or match and stand back. We just dropped the match in and let it burn along with the alcohol.
Never add more fuel to the burning snake. You risk igniting the alcohol stream. This potion will probably burn longer than you expect. Ours kept going for several minutes. Keep careful watch on it!
At first, you’ll see a flame and some small black balls.
When the mixture starts reacting to the heat, you can watch little carbon snakes start to extrude.
You’ll also start to smell it. Ask: What does it smell like? You may be surprised.
The little snakes may combine into one big snake! They could also remain as several smaller snakes, each about the width of a pencil.
Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a big one. It took us four tries, but I’ve written the technique that yielded the best results here for you.
Use your imagination and talk about the snakes that are forming in your burning potion.
Caution: The bowl will be hot. Don’t let little fingers (or big ones) touch it. And be sure to let the bowl cool completely before you rinse it.
After it cools, touch it and ask, “What does it feel like?” It didn’t feel like what we expected and my boys compared it to all sorts of things.
Some Final Thoughts…
Although I may not teach you to bottle fame, brew glory or put a stopper in death with just one class, I hope that Harry Potter’s Potions Class will be enough to bewitch the minds and ensnare the senses of you and your kids. Make it a memorable magical adventure.
What do you think? How did your potions class go? What were your kids’ reactions? I can’t wait to see their looks of surprise and awe. Please leave your comments and photos below. Ten points for Gryffindor if you do.
Jennifer Ballard is the associate editor for My Kids’ Adventures where her past experience as a Cubmaster, birthday party entrepreneur, marketing writer and mom of two boys fits together and finds relevance. Other posts by Jennifer Ballard »