A ‘Magical’ Homemade Harry Potter Adventure for Kids (of all ages)

As the anticipation grows for the premiere of this week’s final installment of the Harry Potter movies, I thought I’d share an idea for a week-long Harry Potter Adventure you can do with your kids, or your friend’s kids, or kids you borrow just to do it because it’s so much fun.

There’s been a tradition in our family for the last several years to create an adventure while we vacation together—we create it for our kids to experience and it adds something even more magical to our week together and creates lasting memories. My sister-in-law Alicia and I created the first one together years ago: a pirate adventure. The kids dug up a small pirate chest in the sand, wore pirate costumes, spoke like pirates “arrrgghh,” etc. You get the picture. For the last couple of years, she’s taken the bull by the horns and masterminded other ones. However, unfortunately, this year she and my brother did not join us for vacation, and so the weight of the “adventure” fell on my shoulders as well as on my cousin Chrysti’s. It took some work, but I think we pulled off a memorable adventure even J.K. Rowling would be proud of; I thought I’d share it with those of you who are BIG Harry Potter fans.

How We Started—Day One, The Launch: We Were the Hogwarts School

The “adventure” started the first night we arrived at the beach. My husband and Chrysti’s husband took the kids up to the beach at dusk. Chrysti and I snuck into their room (the four kids sleep in a bunk bed room and they love it!) and decorated the room with twinkling lights and gold stars. We made a sign that read “Gryffindor” and hung it on the window of their room. On the entrance of their door, we made a sign that read “Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” These were created using the actual logos and were printed in color.

The Gryffindor Dormitory

On their beds were wands that we ordered and each kid represented one of the characters: Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and Harry. Additionally, each received a black book (journal) that I filled with word searches, facts about each character, and headlines indicating a notes area where they could journal about the “classes” they would be taking throughout the week. They spent their time before bed talking about their journals and began writing in them immediately. The excitement was building!

 Day One: The Owls and Potions Class

The Owl delivers the daily letter

On Day One, they each received a note from their own owls that were perched atop of the fireplace mantle (I bought these white Hedwig-looking owls at Babies R Us). Each owl’s note told them what they would do that day (so each day of vacation, the owl brought a letter). Additionally, there was a letter taped to the fireplace from Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore (my cousin Chrysti and I played these parts and even wore witch hats). We also added an “activity” to the day, along with the “class.”

Four of the seven potions from Potions Class

Potions class was great. As was suggested by this website (http://www.ivillage.com/12-easy-ideas-wizard-worthy-harry-potter-birthday-party/6-b-139571#139574), we used mason jars and the “students” created potions out of the following ingredients:

Dried Beatles: Prunes in water

Gillyweed: Weeds in green water

Bats Eyes: Black lentils

Hallow Stump Soil: Dirt & water

Blind Cat Eyes: Cocktail onions

Blood Worms: Spaghetti with red sauce

Dream Fluid: Tea leaves and water

After we created the potions, we asked the “students” to guess what each does. They then wrote them in their journals.

Wizard Hat made from sand

Activity: The Activity for the day was to create, on the beach and out of sand, their own wizard or witch hat.

Day Two: Transfiguration Class

From a sheet of paper and using drawing utensils and crayons, students were asked to transform one thing into another. For example, Ginny (aka Ellie) transformed a drawn rock into a bird. Hermione (aka Jenn) turned a leaf into a frog. Ron (aka John) transformed a feather into a turtle. And Harry (aka Matt) transformed a mound of sand into a dog.

Transfiguration Class

Additionally, each student colored in his owl that was placed into his journal and named him. These were very clever.

Activity: The Activity for the day was for students to begin working on a poem for Friday’s Final Feast and graduation from Hogwarts.

Spells Class

Day Three: Spells Class

Students received a list of existing Harry Potter spells in their books (I used the one from this website: (http://www.pojo.com/harrypotter/spelist.shtml). However, they were asked to create three of their own spells—they had to come up with a name for each and what each spell does.

Additionally, we used a cauldron and made our own spell that was offered by this site: (http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/recipes/magic_potion.htm).

We then recorded each kid’s demonstration of his/her spells.

Activity:  Quidditch on the beach! We played with brooms that I purchased from Toys R Us and a gold whiffle ball. The kids had to ride their brooms and scored by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.

Day Four: Scavenger Hunt

The students were asked to find these items (which I gathered from around my house and named after the actual important artifacts from the Harry Potter series):

The Weasley Family Clock (a small clock I had in the house)

Resurrection Stone (a stone my mother brought back from Alaska)

Maruder’s Map (I printed it off the internet)

Revealer (an eraser)

Salazar Slytherin’s Locket (a locket I had)

Port Keys (an old fashioned key with a red ribbon)

Enchanted coins (fake, plastic gold coins)

Poisonous candles (one stinky old candle I had)

Philosopher’s Stone (a blue, smooth shiny stone that belongs to my daughter)

and finally,

Voldemort

(I bought a 6” action figure of Voldemort and we planted him at a store called “Try My Nuts.” They were so helpful and even included the kids on their website! Listed under Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt!)

http://www.trymynuts.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=showcase.showcase_list&showcase_category_id=1

As people watched us do our scavenger hunt, they asked if they could play, too!

Day Five: The Finale—The Final Feast and Graduation

On the last day the kids enjoyed a “Final Feast”—we played Harry Potter theme music and ate great food. Then, afterwards, the kids presented their poem and spells. The poem actually brought tears to my eyes. (see below)

To end the adventure, each child was graduated and our Hogwarts adventure came to a close.

For fans of the books and movies, this was a real treat and something my kids will remember for many, many years to come.

For fun, we also made our own Hogwarts out of sand!

The Poem “Our Potter Adventure”

(written by Jenn and Ellie—with no help from parents)

One summer morning we all got a letter

From Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

We couldn’t have thought up anything better

We were all transformed into Gryffindors by the names of Harry, Hermione, Ginny & Ron

The staff decorated our common room;

It felt cozy with all the lights on

Day 1: Potions Class

We enjoyed watching the results

of our potions that had been set into jars of glass

Day 2: Transfiguration Class

We turned objects into living things

With our own type of magic—crayons and paper

For example: a rock to a bird with wings

Day 3: Spells Class

We reviewed the spells in Class 1 Day

Then we made our own spells

Which were special in their own different way

Day 4: Scavenger Hunt

The Scavenger Hunt was tons of fun

We found Voldemort in the end

Though it seemed the hunt had just begun

We had loads of fun and it was an awesome experience for everyone;

Thank you parents and faculty for making us the adventure and

giving us all the cool stuff. This was the best adventure! Thank you!

Graduation!

7 thoughts on “A ‘Magical’ Homemade Harry Potter Adventure for Kids (of all ages)

  1. Sooo much fun! Although you give me too much credit — you took a good idea and turned it into an amazing experience that the Potter fans in my house will never forget 🙂 I wanted to add that my son loved this experience so much, he slept with his treasures (book, wand, etc) under his pillow each night. Any parent of boys knows it’s not easy to stop them from, well, being boys and instead capture their imagination. This is also a great way to get your kids to do some writing over the summer — without having to nag them about it. My kids loved journaling their experiences into their books. Thank you so much again — a lot of thought, planning, running around and love went into this, and it showed :o.

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