Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Potions Class

"I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death..."

Professor Snape, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Potions is Harry Potter's least favorite class at Hogwart's School, thanks to a very unpleasant Professor Snape.  Cruel and sarcastic, Snape has it in for Harry due his intense dislike of James Potter, Harry's father.

A kitchen counter or table is the best place to have Potions lessons.  Potions is basically chemistry class for the magically inclined.  I took a recipe for goop and simply changed the names of the components to magical ingredients.

Prepare these materials in advance.  I printed labels to cover up the bottles and box of baking soda. 
  • Gillywater:  Vinegar solution - mix 1 cup household vinegar with 1 cup water, or just use straight from the bottle. 
  • Black plastic spoons:  add a couple drops of food color to the spoons and let dry.  The food coloring will be invisible on the black spoons.
  • Powdered bicorn horn:  Baking Soda
  • Dragon Scales:  Glitter or small sequins
  • Essence of Murtlap:  Solution of 1 cup white school glue mixed with 1 cup water
  • Phoenix Tears:  Borax solution - dissolve 2-3 tsp borax in 1 cup water.  I heated it slightly in a saucepan to help it dissolve.  Borax is in the laundry detergent section of stores.
  • Wiggentree Bark:  small twigs or craft sticks for stirring.
  • Large 8-12 oz clear plastic cups - these must be clear to see the color change and fizzing
  • Small plastic cups with lids - these are the "crystal phials" from the Apothecary
Tears of Phoenix Label

"Crystal Phial"

Potions Lesson - post these instructions up near the potions area for reference
  • Measure 1/4 cup of gillywater and pour into the large plastic cup.
  • Stir well with the black plastic spoon provided. (When the spoon hits the vinegar it will turn color)
  • Add 1-2 spoonfuls of bicorn horn. (Baking soda will fizz and neutralize the acidic vinegar)
  • Add dragon scales - for decoration
  • Add about 2-3 tablespoons essence of murtlap (glue solution)
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons phoenix tears (borax solution)
  • Stir with the wiggentree bark stick (solution will coagulate and form a goopy mass)
  • Scoop out the goop into the small plastic cup.  Cap tightly and mark with names.
I did a test run of the potions lesson before the party to make sure it worked.  Assist the kids to follow the steps and mix the solution in the right order.  The result will be a slimy substance we called flobberworm mucus. Use the crystal phials to contain the slime and let the kids keep it in their black cauldron bags as party favors.

If you have an adult helper that can act nasty like Professor Snape it makes it even more fun!

Next Stop: Herbology Class or
Transfiguration Class or
Outdoor Activities