How to Create Harry Potter Potions: Fun With Your Kids

Want to bring the fictional world of Harry Potter to your own kitchen?

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!

Harry Potter potions: bring the fictional world of Hogwarts to your kitchen and wow your kids with something that bubbles and burns with bright flames.

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.

Both of my boys have been obsessed with Harry Potter. I’ve read the series to each of them separately. That’s 8,200 pages of magical bedtime reading material.

reading harry potter

I can’t believe we read the whole thing—twice!

We’ve seen the movies, toured a replica of the Knight Bus and thrown one epic Harry Potter birthday party. And my kids aren’t alone in their obsession.

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.

birthday harry

Kids love to imagine themselves in the world of Harry Potter.

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.

Materials Needed

  • Bar of Ivory soap (Muggle Soap)
  • Plate
  • 1 clear plastic cup (Small Cauldron) for each person (drinking cup or leftover applesauce cup).
  • Stirring stick for each person (spoon or popsicle stick)
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Powdered sugar (or grind table sugar in a coffee grinder) (Powdered Basilisk Skin)
  • Baking soda (Horn of Bicorn)
  • High-proof alcohol, rubbing alcohol, fuel oil (Dragon Drool) (Use something that will burn hot. We used rubbing alcohol.)
  • Heat-resistant bowl or pan (We used a Pyrex mixing bowl.)
  • Matches or gas firestarter
  • Microwave

Preparation Time

15 minutes to gather materials and print out labels

Activity Time

20-30 minutes

Location

Your kitchen (also known as the Hogwarts’ Potions Classroom)

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.

Be Riddikulus

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.

snape

Lose yourself in the character.

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.

basilisk ingredients

Get all your ingredients out first. (Not shown: rubbing alcohol or other fuel.)

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.

labels

Print out this PDF to label the ingredients with their magical names.

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.

use labels

Use the wizard names for your ingredients to make the activity more magical.

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.

exploded soap

This is a must in every Hogwarts’ student’s repertoire, and is the simplest of all the experiments we will learn in Potions Class.

Transform an ordinary bar of Muggle Soap into a cloud-like cake of Charmed Cleansing Castile.

Ingredients for This Potion

  • Bar of Ivory soap (Muggle Soap)
  • Plate
  • Microwave

Instructions

Place Muggle Soap on a plate (must be Ivory soap).

soap on plate

Exploding soap is a one-ingredient potion. Easy!

Heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

putting soap in microwave

Bet you’ve never cooked soap before! What will it do?

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.

exploded soap on plate

All this comes from one bar of soap. Cook longer for even more bubbles.

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.

washing hands

Washes off even the toughest magical messes.

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.

kids watching flame

My boys loved watching the burning Basilisk.

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.

Ingredients for This Potion

  • Powdered sugar (or grind table sugar in a coffee grinder) (Powdered Basilisk Skin)
  • Baking soda (Horn of Bicorn)
  • High-proof alcohol, rubbing alcohol, fuel oil (Dragon Drool) (Use something that will burn hot. We used rubbing alcohol.)
  • Heat-resistant bowl or pan (We used a Pyrex mixing bowl.)
  • Matches or gas firestarter

Instructions

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

boys stirring

Preparing the Powdered Basilisk Skin.

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.

adding powder

Tip the cup to make a pile. Try not to spill. 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.

add alcohol

Add the alcohol. Ask your child to hold a finger on the cup to keep it from seeping underneath.

Lift the cup away carefully. You want to keep the powder dry, so try not to let it spread out into the fuel.

removing cup

Lift the cup off slowly. Try to keep the powder dry.

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.

light the fuel

Light the fuel and stand back.

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.

small black balls

Small black balls will begin to form almost immediately.

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.

small snakes form

Small “snakes” will start to extrude as the mixture heats up.

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.

large basilisk

Do you see a snake rearing its head out of the bottom of the bowl?

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 cooling break off a piece

Let it cool and break off a piece. Surprised?

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.

Mischief managed!

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.

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About the Author, Jennifer Ballard

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 »


  • Jen

    These look super fun! Thanks for the great ideas!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Jen! I hope you and your kids have lots of fun.

  • http://www.thefoodiesbooks.com/ thefoodies

    Absolutely fab. We’ve just re-watched both Deathly Hallows in a movie marathon as the kids were both really tired from a long road trip, so it will be great to get them up and moving about tomorrow by doing some of this stuff. As a Brit, can I just check that Ivory soap is just a standard plain soap? As we don’t have the brand here, I’ll have to find something similar. Thanks for a great piece.

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    What perfect timing and a great transition from screen activity to something more active.

    Ivory has a lot of air pumped into it, which makes it float and also expand in the microwave. If you know of another brand that floats, that may work.

    I asked your question on Ivory’s Facebook page and was led to this chart of all the Procter & Gamble web sites in different countries. http://www.pg.com/en_US/worldwide_sites.shtml Perhaps this will help you find it somewhere in the UK. I hope so–good luck!

  • http://www.thefoodiesbooks.com/ thefoodies

    Thanks Jennifer, I have googled a bit and we don’t seem to have any other floating expanding soaps! Good to know what I am looking for. However I have found from my googling that Amazon.co.uk does sell Ivory on import in decently cheap multipacks so I’ll try one of those.
    Thanks!

  • http://www.kjfiles.com/ KJ Ammerman

    This is such a great and unique idea! I love these experiments that show how fun science can be. And extra fun for us fans of Harry Potter!!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks KJ! Accio kids… time to do some potions!

  • Holly Chessman

    What wonderful ideas! I will definitely have to try these out with my kids. We had a Harry Potter birthday party for my oldest last year, but we didn’t make potions as one of our activities (though we had some fake ones as decorations). Can’t wait to wow the kids!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Sounds like a fun birthday party, Holly. I hope your kids love the potions. Can’t wait to hear about it!

  • KirstenNelson

    What clever ideas! I’m excited to try out potion #2 :) (I think there’s a little pyromaniac in all of us that’s never quite extinguished.)

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Kirsten! I agree, there’s something mesmerizing about flames. Have fun.

  • Andi

    This is really cool! I’ve passed it on to my teaching friends as well as my Grandkids!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    I’m glad you liked it, Andi. Thanks for sharing it. Have fun!

  • Carol

    Great detail; great pictures; great fun!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

  • Randa

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for posting all of this – we will be following it to the letter for an upcoming birthday party!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    You’re welcome, Randa. Hope the birthday party is lots of fun!

  • Isabella

    I used the Basilisk Skin experiment for my Chemistry project in school! Everyone in class absolutely loved it, and the molecular explanation of the reactions between the carbon atoms is very interesting too! My friends love Harry Potter, so it was a great way to make my project educational and fun! Thanks so much!

  • liz

    I tried both of these for my daughters HP party and they were AMAZING. The instructions were totally clear and easy to follow. I did the basilisk skin one twice. Thanks for all the info.

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    That’s great, Isabella. I’m glad you were able to tie the scientific side and the reading side for a fun experiment that got everybody’s attention. Bet the flames had a big impact. Hope you got an A on the project!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Liz. I’m so glad it added some extra fun to the birthday party. Hope it was a great day overall!

  • Bob

    wow please can u do a safe one

  • Lizzie

    Oh my god. My 8 year old daughter has been begging for a potions class. Thanks!!!

  • Lizzie

    See we have been watching all 1-3 movies.

  • haille

    Hey my kids are really in love with harry potter and these potions are amazing. my kids want to say thank you for doing this website.

  • Taylor

    Hi Jenifer, I really like these potions my kids are having so much fun. thanks alot. Also my daughter had a birthday and she wanted potion lessons so when i showed her she was so happy.

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