Synopsis: Participants will begin with a list(s) of items that they must find in order to help an absent minded wizard, Professor Lumbly, complete his potion that is believed to turn coal to gold.
Back Story: Professor Lumbly is in real trouble. He’s getting on in years and made a horrible mistake in testing out one of this own potions, leaving his memory too scrambled to complete his other potions for his next class. Without those potions, he just might get the sack with his new teaching position at the local wizarding school (great for those Harry Potter fans!)
Setting It Up:
1: Decide how many items that you’d like to hide as ingredients for your potions. Group the ingredients in groups of 3-4 to create different potions. Create a single list detailing each potion along with the ingredients necessary. You can also create separate lists for each potion. When considering your ingredients, consider items you are able to gather for each (i.e. search around your backyard, your local park or hobby craft store.) Below is an example for a sample potion along with possible potions and ingredients for additional lists. We also have a packet of Wizard Potions that can be ordered on aged wizard paper that was designed for this activity – CLICK HERE.
Curse Dissolver Potion: Green Nightshade, Parson’s Weed, One Bog Slug, sulfur
Other possible potions: Love Potion, Liquid Luck, Invisibility, Sickness Cure, Paralysis Potion, Solution of Strength
Other possible ingredients: Moon Salt, Gecko Scales, Pinetoad Blood, Rain Water, Dragonfire Ants, Lavender, Orcish Redbard, Boilwart Mushrooms, Phoenix Feather, Night Thistle Pods.
- Once you have your list(s), make sure you have all of the ingredients – enough for each child/participant to be able to have/hold one of each, if possible. Be creative and it’s ok to allow them to use their imaginations. Find items around the backyard and at Joann’s/Hobby Lobby. You don’t need a lot, just something small that they can find. Of course, this would also work with simple pieces of paper with the ingredients written on them.
- Decide how you want your children to find the items. The simplest (and quickest for the sake of time) is to provide a simple scavenger hunt. Hide the items around a CLEARLY defined area (so that they understand what the boundaries are) with small tags/signs labeling each item – for example, you may hide a small feather and label it “Phoenix Feather” – labeling will help your children know exactly which ingredients they found so that they can cross it off their list.
However, you can also get more creative on how you hide the items. Next to each ingredient on the list offer ONE WORD that can be used as a clue as to the possible resting place for that particular ingredient. In this way, you can actually hide the ingredients in harder to find places.
- When you’re ready to hold the adventure, make sure to explain to your children the back story and what their task is. Give each a small bag to gather the items in and tell them that they only have a certain amount of time to complete the task. How much time? Good question. Try to guess how long it would take to find 85% of the items on the list. If you make it too easy, they’ll be bored and unsatisfied. If they have a higher expectation placed on them, you’ll find them working harder…and rushing at the end to try and find those last few ingredients. Once the searching is over, allow them a few moments to go through their list of potions to see which ones they can make and how many of each to maximize their score!
Consider the following additions to make it extra special – though not crucial:
- Once you have your list(s), your ingredients (with their small signs) – find some appropriate music. Yep, music. The theme music/soundtrack from Harry Potter (Sorcerer’s Stone is preferable) is PERFECT to play. The music doesn’t have to be playing loudly, just audible – it will set the tone and make the adventure feel more like from the movie.
- Have a small display/centerpiece on your kitchen table (or a blanket if you are at a park) with a pot and a few decorative ‘wizard’ items. You don’t have to decorate the house, but creating the central decorative location will make it easier to get them ‘in the mood’ as you explain their task…and they’ll feel like it’s more special.
- If at all possible…and yes, this might take some doing…have a friend or co-worker (perhaps someone that they might not even know) come in a wizard’s robe to explain the situation and to send the kids off on their task. Yes, it can be a lot of trouble for a single activity…HOWEVER, if you’re talking about creating memories, then this is the way to go. Plus, you’ll find that your friend or co-worker will have a great time with it!
- If it’s evening, turn down the lights and place a few candles throughout the ‘playing area.’ If necessary, arm each child with a small flashlight. However, if you have enough low-lighting, it’s likely you won’t need the flashlights.