Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Harry Potter Party - Potions Class

As a continuation of our Harry Potter party series (see previous post here), I wanted to talk to you about my favorite part of the whole affair - The Potions Class.

Let me start by saying that I have the most awesome husband on earth. Seriously.

Not only does he like Harry Potter (almost as much as Patrick and I do), but he has a bit of a man-crush on Alan Rickman's character of Severus Snape (sorry sweetie - but you really can't deny it).

So for this party and the soon-to-follow Halloween, I purchased him a Snape costume on ebay. We also bought a witch wig at Walmart and trimmed it to be about the right length. The wig was cheap (and it looked like it), but it worked well for what we needed.

My Snape and my Harry.

So this was the most fun for most of the kids and adults.





The Potions class was set up in the garage. I gathered a number of glass bottles and containers and stored various liquids and greenery found in our neighborhood in them and labeled them with Potterish names including those to be used in the potions class and demonstrations. We also purchased some dry ice, which we found at Kroger for $5 for a 5 pound bag (this was approaching Halloween, I have no idea if they normally have it).

And this sign was my favorite of all of the ones I made (and here it is for you to have). 


I spent lots and lots and lots of time scouring the internet for potions class ideas and do-at-home science experiments that could be done with ease but would seriously impress the kids.   I was able to use potions from The Leaky Cauldron It's the LifeDirt and Sunshine, and Lemonade.  You can find even more (that I didn't use but really considered) at My Harry Potter PartyHarry Potter Birthday Party, and lots more at The Leaky Cauldron. Once I found them, I modified the ones that needed to be Potter-fied (you like that, don't you?) and created a Potions Handbook for the kids and a Potions Master Handbook for my Snape using fonts found on Mugglenet and the same parchment used for signs and invitations. They neatly folded into a booklet that the kids were allowed to take home.

The Potions Student Handbook had all of the experiments potions that the kids would participate in.  I also included an ingredients list so the kids could take them home and do them with their parents help if they wanted to (yes, a little science lesson to go home with you).  It included the following potions
  • Exploding Filibusters - A huge hit, as everyone likes an "explosion."
  • Dancing Unicorn Milk - Another regular chemistry project that was "Potter-fied" by changing the ingredients' names.
  • Exploding Elixir - Lots of bubbly fun.
  • Fleeing Spiders - I was quite proud of the explanation I came up with what this experiment is about. It's really all about surface tension, but adding the element of spiders and basilisk venom makes it very Chamber of Secrets-ish.
  • Mandrake Restorative Draught - An actual potion from the books. This one is impressive because of the color change that the kids don't see coming. Requires a tiny bit of prep work, but well worth it for the looks on their faces!
The Potions Master Handbook had those items that the kids would only watch.  One was a density column and some dealt with dry ice (little hands OFF). It included the following Potions:
  • Magic Mud - this is fantastic stuff to play with!
  • Wormwood Comes to Life - I actually researched HP potions ingredients to come up with a way to work in dry ice
  • Screaming Spoons - I extended the explanation I gave for the dry ice potion ingredient to this potion as well.
  • Liquid Enemies - This is just a chemistry lesson on density. However, it looks really cool, so I wanted to make it into a Potions lesson. So I renamed the ingredients, came up with a Latin spell to speak over it, and voila! Such fun!
 And yes...I'm sharing both the Potions Student Handbook and the Potions Master Handbook with you now. Hooray!

Here are some pictures of the kids and the fun from the Potions class.











If you want some more ideas, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Harry Potter party ideas. Some I used and some I didn't but you might find something PERFECT for yours! Tomorrow we'll cover the food and drinks!

36 comments:

  1. Thanks so much! The kids loved it (and the grown ups liked putting dry ice in everything once the class was over - it was their own personal science experiment time!).

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  2. Thanks for the link to ItsTheLife! It looks like you all had a great time!
    -Andrea
    itsthelife.typepad.com

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  3. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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  4. Where did you get the Snape costume?!

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  5. Source for Snape Costume here The wig is from walmart - straight black witch's wig that we trimmed to chin length.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your potions. I've been looking for a few other ideas to do for my sons party and these were perfect.

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  7. @Nicole - You're so welcome! I'm glad they helped!!! Have fun at your party!

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  8. What an awesome party! Thank you so much for all of the ideas and printables! It is saving me a TON of time! I hope my son's party turns out as fabulous as yours did! Thanks again!

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    1. So glad it is helping you, Mandy! I know it took a ton of time for me to find everything and put it together for our party, so I'm more than happy to save others the trouble. Thanks for the compliments. I hope you have a WONDERFUL party!

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  9. This is a blessing! I, Severus Snape (Dad) do so willingly take the unbreakable vow to do my best to serve up this potions class with dignity and melo-drama!! I am also teaching a Defense Against the Dark Arts class (I know, dream come true!!), do you have any curriculum I can borrow? d15purcell@yahoo.com

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    1. Wow...the geekiness expressed in this comment goes beyond the level seen at our party. =) We didn't do any DADA class, but if you check out the links to the places I listed above as getting some of my Potions ideas, you're sure to find something. Best of luck!

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  10. How awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. I had a question: What are the actual ingredients in the experiments - eg - Volatile Solution, Unicorn Milk etc.

    Thanks again.
    Anu

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    1. If you print up the Student Handbook and the Potions Master Handbook (links above in the post), the ingredients can be seen in the handbook. Let me know if you have any other questions and best of luck!

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  11. Thanks so much for getting back.

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  12. This is very cool...and so well done. I appreciate you sharing. I'm doing a wizard theme for my daughter's birthday and would definitely love to incorporate some of this into what I'm attempting.

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  13. I LOVE your potions sign, but the link didn't work. Is it still possible to get it?

    Thanks, Shelly

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    1. Strange. I just checked the link and it worked for me. I will have to look into it further, so give me a few minutes. =)

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    2. Give it a try now.

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  14. just finished having 12 - 6 year old girls for my daughter's birthday. Thank you so much for the ideas... the potion students handbook was a huge hit.

    We also did "Slime" - 1 cup of white glue (Unicorn Blood), 1/4 cup of Borax (ground dandelian fluff) disolved in water (mermaid bubbles)... mixed with Green Leprechaun elixer. Turns into Silly Putty and they each took home a bouncy ball.

    and "Good Luck Syrum" - edible glitter and water in a small vial hanging around their necks with a ribbon.

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  15. Hi, I absolutely love these ideas. My daughter is having a Harry Potter birthday party on Saturday and I have been meaning to look up potions. Any chance you would be willing to share the handbook so that I can recreate your magic? carmelle_goldberg2000@yahoo.com

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    1. You can find the potions handbooks above. The text Potions Master Handbook and Potions Student Handbook just above all of the pics are links to a Google Docs that you can use.

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  16. Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic party elements. I am using the potions class handbooks for my daughter's party tomorrow- they are great!

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    1. I'm so glad you found it useful! Have a great party!

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  17. I'm so excited about using your potions books!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. I'm so glad! They took some time to put together, but it was so much fun doing it. And I thought since I'd already done the work, it would be easy to share with others so they would not have to reinvent the wheel! Have fun!

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  18. You are a saint. I was looking all over for good ideas for potions class! Thank you so much for posting your book!!! You've saved a working mom!

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    1. Thanks, Kim! As a working mom myself, I totally love finding shortcuts and I am glad I could provide one for you!

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  19. Wow! This is awesome. I am having a Harry Potter class for my daughter and you have saved me hours of work. I love all of the ideas and the printable materials you shared. Thank you! Thank you!

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    1. So glad I could help! I published it BECAUSE of the hours I spent and I didn't want anyone else to have to go to that trouble! Hope you (and your daughter) have fun!

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    1. You're very welcome, Julia! Hope your party is awesome!

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  21. I LOVE your ideas! We had a HP Halloween party last year and decided t was such a hit we are going for year 2. I was looking for fresh ideas and crunched for time so your handbooks are PERFECT! I appreciate the time you spent and your willingness to share :) I think you mentioned somewhere we could find the actual ingredients used (without potter names.) I downloaded your books but all ingredients are wizard names. I must be missing where you have the real names listed. Can you help?

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    1. The potion ingredients are listed on the last page of the potions books. Given are the wizard names and their real names.

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  22. Thank you so much! You gave me a ton of great ideas for my son's birthday party. And thank you many times over for the handbooks. So much fun, but I love that they're learning something too. :)

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    1. I am so excited that you found ideas that you could use! I too love the educational aspect of the party. I'm geeky like that. =) Hope you have a wonderful party!

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