Providing secular homeschooling support

Harry Potter Potions Party

on November 4, 2014

Harry Potter Potions Party

My son, Kieran, caught the reading bug early and honestly – we are voracious readers. Along with traditional picture books, which we all love, Kieran has been into chapter books since he was three or four years old. I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my favorite books with him, including the first three books in the Harry Potter series (edited on the fly for age appropriateness).

Along with pretend play to bring books to life, we also like finding other ways to connect books with real life experiences. One of the best activities we’ve ever done has been a Harry Potter Potions Party. It was actually a homeschool cooperative class I offered last year, and every child who came was thrilled. The class was a perfect combination of literature, dramatic play, science, and art.

Below are the resources I used to create our potion recipes, the ingredients and tools we set out for the kids to experiment with, and the recipes themselves. Feel free to use and adapt for your own budding wizards and witches!

Tools to Create

When the students first arrived, they each selected a wand (sticks we had gathered before class). They used the wands and the tools below to concoct their potions:

  • Balance
  • Funnels
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Syringes
  • Eye droppers
  • Cups, bowls, and jars
  • A variety of stirrers: spoons, chopsticks, etc.


I raided Professor’s Snape’s supply closet and made a midnight run to Slug and Jiggers Apothecary to gather the necessary ingredients for our potions. Every recipe used ingredients that were straight out of Harry Potter, so that true Potter fans would feel like they were part of Hogwarts.

  • Chopped Onions: Chipped Runespoor Fang (used to make Faux Floo – a homemade, more dangerous version of Floo Powder)
  • Ketchup: Salamander blood (has healing and rejuvenating properties)
  • Flower petals: Fairy wings (used to make Girding Potion, which gives its drinker extra strength and endurance)
  • Shampoo: Flobberworm Mucus (used to thicken potions)
  • Red jello powder: Octopus powder (used to increase the strength of potions)
  • Green jello powder: Fluxweed (an ingredient in Polyjuice Potion)
  • Baking soda: Horn of Bicorn (powdered horn of bicorn is an ingredient in Polyjuice Potion)
  • Vinegar with purple (red and blue) food coloring: Belladonna (fluids from this poisonous plant are part of every Hogwarts student’s standard potion making kit)
  • Seaweed: Boomslang Skin (shed from the Boomslang snake; an ingredient in Polyjuice potion)
  • Club Soda: Exploding Fluid (found in the horn of the Erumpent; highly dangerous, causes anything it is in to explode)
  • Cornstarch: Ground Moonstone (an ingredient in love potions)
  • Rice: Splintered Griffin claws (used to make the Strengthening Solution)
  • Cooked spaghetti: Asian Dragon Hair (obtained from a Chinese Fireball dragon; used to make hair potions)
  • Glitter: Left Handed Nazle Powder (used in a potion that causes one to become left handed)
  • Cooked black eyed peas: Puffer-fish Eyes (an ingredient in the Swelling Solution)
  • Frozen blueberries: Sal Ammonioac (an ingredient in the perfect medicine, along with salt, urine, vinegar, and Sulphur Vive)
  • Water with blue food coloring: Arcomantula venom (venom from large spiders, like Aragog)
  • Alka seltzer: Mistletoe Berry (used to make the Antidote to Common Poisons and the Forgetfulness Potion)
  • Vegetable Oil: Lethe River Water (possesses magical properties which would cause one to forget things)
  • Food coloring: standard ingredient (used in many potions)

Potion Recipes

We only had two potions for the kids to follow directions to create. After they finished these two, they were free to come up with their own recipes, and we wrote down their creations for them to take home. They had a lot of fun coming up with their own measurements and chemical reactions.

I utilized the Harry Potter Wiki to create these potions. Use at your own risk.

Polyjuice Potion

½ cup horn of bicorn
1 pinch boomslang skin
½ tsp fluxweed
1 cup belladonna

*Gently stir dry ingredients in cauldron clockwise
*Wave wand 3 times over potion
*Using funnel, slowly add belladonna

(The Polyjuice Potion is essentially a baking soda and vinegar volcano.)

Harry Potter Potions Party 2

Forgetfulness Potion

1 cup Lethe River Water
1/3 cup Arcomantula venom
4 drops standard ingredient
1 mistletoe berry

*Pour lethe river water into cauldron
*Add arcomantula venom and 4 drops standard ingredient
*Wave wand and say “Alieno!” 3 times
*Break mistletoe berry into 5-6 small pieces
*Drop the berry pieces in one at a time, slowly

(The Forgetfulness Potion is an alka seltzer lava lamp, which the kids thought was very cool. We did ours outside in the daytime, but for an added fun effect, do it in a darker room and shine a flashlight at the reacting liquid.)


Of course make it clear to kids that they should not eat or drink any of the ingredients. We played up the possibility of forgetting their names and turning into toads.

I would also recommend that, as much as possible, you do not use glass jars if you are working in an area where they could drop and break on the floor. Our potions party ended up with a glass jar broken (despite our “no leaving the table with the jars” rule) and a very expensive trip to the children’s urgent care clinic after my daughter stepped on a piece of glass that didn’t get swept up.


Photo Credits:
Potions: Adapted (added text) with permission from Rebecca Siegel via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License
Lava Lamp: Shared with permission from Stephanie Clark via Flickr Creative Commons

This post has been edited from a version previously published at Code Name: Mama.


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