Harry Potter turns 40 on July 31st (the character, not the book series- we’re not THAT old yet folks!) so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do some magical learning with my boys to celebrate! I had to get pretty creative since most of the learning ideas centering around HP are for middle schoolers- which is understandable since that’s the reading level of the books. But that doesn’t mean you can’t turn your littles into wizards for a week and let them visit the magical halls of Hogwarts with some preschool learning fun! Don’t forget to hop on your broom and fly on over to the toddler post “Accio Toddler Activities” for some fun art ideas like playdough dragon eggs and Dobby hand print art that your little wizard is sure to love too!
-Name practice with invisible ink: I got SO EXCITED when I found this activity! I got the idea from Teach Beside Me and they said to use laundry soap and a paint brush to write with and a black light flashlight to reveal the message. The soap does indeed glow, but I couldn’t get it to look very cool on our paper even using it at full concentration, and it certainly wasn’t invisible when dry! Then I remembered the movie “National Treasure” where they discover a secret message written in lemon juice on the back of the constitution, so we gave that a shot and it worked SO much better! It dried nearly invisible (more than the soap) but you could totally read it using the spell Aparecium (I mean….a black light!)
-Quill and ink ABCs: Awhile back my little wanted to “write with a feather like the old days” so I grabbed one out of the craft closet, cut the end off at an angle and was pleasantly surprised to find out it actually worked as a writing tool! I made the ink by mixing some black washable paint with a little water the first time, and black food coloring with a little water the second time (both worked equally well). We definitely had to bring this one back for Harry Potter week where they also write with quill and ink! My little practiced writing his capital and lower case letters with it, then did a connect the dots Harry Potter at the end that I drew him in the extra page space!
-Harry Potter memory: Print out some Harry Potter letters on cardstock (I used the letters in his first and last name in both capital and lowercase), then use them to play memory! If you haven’t played before- mix the cards up then lay them in rows face down. Each player takes turns flipping two cards at a time and trying to find a match. Review the letter names each time a card is flipped over. When all the matches are found, the player with the most wins! If you have a Cricut or similar vinyl cutting machine, you can make a Hagrid sized version using paper plates and sticky vinyl too!
-H is for Harry, P is for Potter: We practiced writing letters H and P this week- on “parchment” of course, but regular paper works too!
-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Your little may not be ready for all of Harry Potter just yet (it can get quite scary!) but we had fun reading bits and pieces from the illustrated first book, like when a Harry finds out he’s a wizard, when he goes shopping for his wizard gear and when he first goes to Hogwarts!
-Wizard duel game: So this all started with a pipe cleaner and bead threading activity I found on Pinterest from Laughing Kids Learn and then I added a little Harry Potter magic and voila! A new and fun wizarding duel game that works on number recognition, counting, fine motor skills and comparing numbers (AND we had a blast playing it!) Here’s how to play: each wizard gets a wand (black or brown pipe cleaner) and 10 pony beads in their house color (we used shiny ones because they looked more magical!). Place a shuffled deck of cards face down between you. Each wizard draws a card and turns it over to identify the number. Then they thread that many pieces of magic (aka pony beads) on the end of their wand. When both wizards are done, they compare their wands to see who has the most magic (practice using the words “greater than” and “less than” when comparing numbers). The highest number wins. Play 5 rounds to see who wins the duel!
-Owl measuring: This was so much fun with stuffed owls, but you could use printed owls or whatever Harry Potter-esque toys you have on hand (dragons, unicorns, mermaids…you get the idea!). We used a sewing tape measure to review how to measure parts of objects- I showed him how to line the side with the 1 up with one end of the object, then see what number the other side landed on at the end of the object (which also was great for number recognition!). We measured eeeeeeeverything on our owls- their height, width, feet, beaks, eyes, wings, heads and so on!
-Owl number recognition and counting: I found these cute owl ten frame printables for free on Teachers Pay Teachers (you might have to create an account to get worksheets on there but it’s so worth it! There are so many resources for free or for just a few bucks!). Have your little identify the number on the owl’s tummy then use a dotter marker or color the ten frame to show the number. They have double ten frames too so you can work on numbers 1-20!
-Harry Potter patterns: We each made a pattern using unifix cubes and our house colors (then we also did Hufflepuff and Gryffindor for fun!) then gave our patterns to each other to add on to. If you have a good printer (ours is very temperamental when it comes to printing color) you could also print out 4-5 sheets of Harry Potter symbols, have your little cut them out and use those to make patterns! That was my original idea, but I couldn’t get the printer to cooperate!
-Scourgify (cleaning spell): Take some oxidized pennies (black or green will work!) and place them in a bowl of vinegar or lemon juice while saying the spell “Scourgify!” Remove the pennies after a few minutes and make observations about their new and shiny appearance! I got this activity from Little Bins for Little Hands and just put a Harry Potter twist on it!
-Engorgio: I had been wanting to try “elephant toothpaste” with the boys after seeing it on Preschool Powol Packets and after my friend Alysha said she’d done it with her son, I thought it was time to give it a try- plus it perfectly fits with the charm “engorgio”! We decided to make ours in a cauldron because it’s Harry Potter week- it didn’t fizz out the top (our yeast was like 10 years old so that may have been it! LOL) but my little still had a blast stirring the potion and watching the foam grow… engorgio!
-Potion mixing: Fill a small container half way with baby oil. Give your little 4 containers with water and food coloring in them (we did the Hogwarts house colors of course!). Then let them use a pipette to drop “bubbles” of water into the oil and watch them float, gather and mix!
–More Magical Fun:
-House sorting quiz: You can’t have a Harry Potter week without doing a house sorting quiz (or two!). There are several online if you google “Harry Potter quiz for kids”, however, the “official” one is on Pottermore.com and it’s totally kid appropriate! I’m in Ravenclaw- my little is Slytherin (but that’s because he’s obsessed with Kylo Ren from Star Wars so he picked all the answers that sounded like they were from a “bad guy”.)
-Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans: So when the geniuses over at Jelly Belly heard about the wizarding world’s “every flavor” jelly beans they decided to make a muggle version you can conveniently buy on Amazon.com for about $4! When I say every flavor- I mean every flavor! Dumbledore famously eats an “ear wax” one in the books- which is included in the Jelly Belly set along with other delights such as earthworm (gross), soap (not as bad as I thought), vomit (I left those for my little to try), grass (quite delightful!) and pepper (also quite good!). We had fun tasting all the strange flavors (and spitting out the really bad ones and laughing our heads off about it!)
-Wingardium Leviosa: Go outside and find a good wand (aka stick). Paint it if you wish, then hot glue a small magnet to the end of it. Attach a metal paper clip to a feather, give your wand a gentle swish and flick towards the feather while saying “wingardium leviosa!” and watch as your feather magically flys into the air with your wand! My little was SO impressed by this and wanted to know how I did it (I demonstrated first before letting him play) and it spurred a great mini lesson on magnetism. Then of course I let him play! I got this idea from STEAM Powered Family.
-Make a golden snitch: This was super simple and fun to make! My little painted a small foam ball and two feathers golden. Then we just stuck the feathers in the ball when everything was dry!
-Butter beer: We usually don’t give our kids soda, but for Harry Potter week I made and exception by letting my little try “butter beer”, a drink similar to root beer but with a butterscotch flavor and a frothy top! Since I couldn’t find butterscotch flavoring, I made a very simple version with cream soda topped with whipped cream (it was huge so we shared it!). It was reeeeally yummy!
–Hogwarts 1st year supply list:
- laundry detergent (I used Dreft because it’s clear) or lemon juice
- black light flashlight
- stuffed or printed owls, at least 2
- tape measure
- pipe cleaners
- pony beads
- deck of cards
- baby oil
- food coloring
- small jars
- cream soda
- whipped cream
- butterscotch flavor (optional)
- Bertie Botts every flavor beans
- small styrofoam ball
- hydrogen peroxide
- dish soap
- food coloring
- water bottle
- vinegar or lemon juice
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone- illustrated version
3 thoughts on “Welcome to Hogwarts”
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