Monday, February 20

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, February 20, 2012 8 comments

I'm back after a fun but exhausting weekend throwing our Harry Potter party for eleven kids ages 7-10.

Guests selected wands from an assortment we'd made from wood "candle cups" and dowel rods from JoAnn Fabric that my husband tapered using a wood rasp and sandpaper, then stained various shades of brown.

Gold paper bags with each child's name in calligraphy were at the ready to be decorated with a themed sticker. The kids could take home all their party creations plus wand in the bags.

We sorted the group into two houses--Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. My daughter wanted to be a Ravenclaw like Luna Lovegood, one of her favorite characters from the series.

The two houses competed against each other in the transfiguration game I described in my previous post. They then rotated between two other classes I'll describe below.

Care of Magical Creatures
The children made their own pygmy puffs by making yarn pom poms and decorating them with googly eyes and felt scraps for ears, feet, fangs, antlers and what have you. They then named them and got to describe to the group their puff's special abilities or magical powers.

The ones in the photo my daughter made with paper or felt eyes instead of googly eyes. I recommend the sticker-back type googly eyes for best results, available at JoAnn Fabrics.

We transformed our kitchen into a potions lab! Using old glass jars--from spices, preserves, syrup, vinegar, we scrubbed off old labels (Goof off helps remove adhesive) and relabeled them as potions or potion ingredients.

There are loads of printable labels if you check in Google images. Finding potion-looking contents for the jars was pretty fun too. Ginger root become bubotubers, rye flour became slug repellant, dish soap became Erumpent fluid. You get the idea. I think one of the more gross/cool items we had on hand was a jar full of dried sardines from a Japanese former boarder. No need to label them!

Potions activities

Wave jars
I prepped a bunch of old baby food jars, cleaning the label glue off the glass and spay painting the lids with some old car touch-up paint we had on hand.

The children filled the bottom of the jars with tiny seashells and festive confetti that's heavy enough to sink in water. We then filled the jars 1/3 of the way with water and added food coloring. Not many kids wanted blue waves for some reason.

Next, we topped off the solution with baby oil, leaving some headspace to create motion. Kids could mix glitter into to the oil layer. (Our pre-test showed it tended to get trapped between layers if you added it to the water).

Secure the lids tightly and tip the jars to make waves. If carefully shaken, the solution would make bubbles that would reseparate into layers if allowed to rest.

I found a very easy recipe for homemade play-slime that uses white glue, borax (a laundry booster), water and food coloring. Unfortunately the proportions weren't that precise, so a few kids had to start from scratch when the slime didn't set up properly. Therefore, I won't post a link to the recipe I used. But if you google "borax slime," you'll find directions. I recommend directions that enable you to make small portions in paper cups. This is easiest to manage with groups of kids. I had no major messes working with six kids at a time.

This was probably the most popular activity of the day. Lots of oohs and ahhs as the colored, diluted school glue became a rubbery fun toy by simply adding a little borax solution.

For more Potter Party ideas, see Harry Potter Guide and Cookbook.

What Hogwarts classes do you think muggles could approximate?


  1. This is so awesome, Laurel! What a wonderful memory your daughter and all of these kids will have (and you too!). I hope you had a wonderful time!!

    1. We all had so much fun doing this, I'd love to try with a mixed age group, or maybe my youth group kids.

  2. Ahhhhhh, I love the little pom pom critters!

    1. My daughter does too. In fact, she's made about eight more on her own time, including a skunk and a fox.

  3. This is SO fun!! What great ideas you had! We've done Harry Potter parties, too, although very different than this. There is just so much great, rich material to choose from, you could have a Harry Potter party every year and not have it be the same!

    Thanks for sharing all this! I'm sure, come another birthday, I'll be back gleaning ideas. :)

    1. Thanks, Heidi. It was hard to narrow down all the great ideas we had. Our space and budget limitations helped jettison some ideas, but as you say, it would be easy to throw a dozen different HP parties, each unique.

  4. Ooh, love the pom poms and the potions lab. I've always wanted a potions lab!

    1. We like our lab look so much, I'm thinking of making some cooking staples look potiony and keeping them on display all the time. The jar labeled "rat spleens" is actually dried cranberries for cereal, for example.