Tag Archives: potions

smellyarmus, and other magical stuff…

Don’t you think that JK Rowling should have included a spell called smellyarmus?  I couldn’t bring myself to correct L and tell him it should be expelliarmus, why not have a spell that gives smelly arms to your enemy?  I think he could be onto something!  The boys were very excited to have a day of Harry Potter again.  Our local library Harry Potter Book Night event was unfortunately cancelled so it was potions and spells at home for us today!  It meant a move away from our animations and story work which, if I’m honest, was a welcome relief as C is spending far longer than necessary on his.  It will be epic in the true sense of the word by the time he’s finished!

We started the day with a breakfast game of pairs – matching spell cards.  It was a draw so as a tie break we had to answer questions to name the outcome of a given spell.  Needless to say, C won when I was unable to explain the effects of petrificus totalus!  Following this C did a bit of handwriting, he used his feather pen to copy out some of the spell names in a calligraphy style, as ‘fancy’ as possible.  He’s getting quite good, and now thinks we need a quill!

Our activities weren’t dissimilar to last year, so here are a few photos, after which I’ve been a bit lazy and have included my blog from last year, which includes a letter from Dumbledore for you to download, should you be wanting to recreate your own potions session!

Breakfast before our day properly started – buttering the toast using a freshly whittled butter knife!


First was a bubbling mixture, using carefully combined ingredients to include vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and an alka seltzer tablet, amongst other things.


L then prepared several concoctions of his own, with some attempt by me to get him to read the measures on his  syringe and measuring jug (he was having none of it!). I liked how he got himself organised!

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Meanwhile, C followed instructions to make his own invisible ink…


We ended with a bang, well maybe more of a pop!


We forgot to take a photo of our first exploding potion, but this was the result on one of the wall cupboards…


My kitchen has never been cleaner. This one really did explode everywhere, resulting in washing down all the wall tiles, the floor, the cupboard fronts and the kettle!

Tomorrow we will be formalising some of the learning a little by recording and reading measurements of potions, for now, here’s what we got up to last year:

I had identified a need to recap finding the difference as a method for subtraction.  This one is often tricky, but necessary, for younger children to visualise what it is they are doing when subtracting by working out the difference between 2 numbers.  C keeps telling me he “doesn’t like maths” and so I am trying to think more creatively about IMG_7047how we teach it; my solution for this was to incorporate ‘finding the difference’ into some play with the Scaletrix.  We  had timed races and when the timer was up, calculated how many laps we had each done by recording along a blank number line.  This enabled him to draw out the jumps, for example from 32 (no. of laps left) to 45 (the total no. of laps on the dial).  Our Scaletrix dials countdown from 45 so you can easily see how many laps are remaining:  It’s not so easy to see how many you have completed.  To follow on from this the next day, I stuck up some envelopes containing house points for the Hogwarts houses.  With these he had to work out the differences between the different houses and the winners.  We started together, with me modelling how Dumbledore would have mentally calculated how many more points were needed to put Gryffindor into the lead and then I left him to do a few more calculations independently.  This has all served to be successful scaffolding.  We started practically, followed up on paper with support and then gradually took away the support.  He’s got it!  And very pleased he is with himself too!

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Upon leaving for Nursery one day this week we discovered a letter on the mat from Dumbledore himself, giving ideas for us muggles to make potions. IMG_7062 Once the letter was read and digested we set about, the three of us, creating some pretty disgusting tasting potions (recording and adding up the quantities as we went along).  The boys are convinced they made it snow with these as sudden snowstorm began while they syringed and mixed apple juice, lemonade and milk, yuk!  And of course, our crazy L loved it – drinking a fair bit until I insisted he stop before he was sick!


I have been so lucky with our HE community here.  Our lovely group organiser set up an online HP quiz for us all to take part in.  C has thoroughly enjoyed re calling his (limited) HP knowledge from his one film viewing and attempted all 6 rounds with very little help from me.  So good multi media comprehension there from him.   Some amusing, some random guesses, Professor Spinach instead of Sprout was my favourite I think.

To end this week, here he is sketching a portrait of Harry Potter, obsessed?   Who him?!


harry potter maths download


A bit more magic

More potions and spell making and a wonderful visit to The Enchanted Forest at Groombridge for us recently. The weather for our trip was pretty dismal but it was still a great day out.  Sparking imagination in all kinds of ways.  Well worth a visit if you’ve never been!

potion making, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, food colouring, glitter and a few magic words…



We are part of a ‘very special’ weekly nature group known as ‘Super Secret Explorers’ (named by some HE friends).  Recently, we decided to choose a new site to explore each week which is how this particular trip came about.  I  like the idea of the secrecy element we now have:  The destination can be decided / revealed only at the very last minute, adding to the sense of adventure!

Our day was certainly full of adventure – we explored Robinson Crusoe’s treehouse, secret doors, tee – pees, secret hide outs, giant spider webs, giant swings, a magical pond, a serpents lair, dinosaur bones, gypsy caravans, and so much more.  It was just perfect for mine.  Word of warning for you though if you have a child with an imagination like C.  He was cautiously approaching a hidden secret door, looking so serious, and I couldn’t help myself from shouting out / jumping as he touched the door.  He burst into tears, and I felt awful.  It’s a dangerous game to try to enter into the imaginative place in his head 🙁


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The peacocks greeted us as we arrived at Groombridge Place.  I think the boys would have been happy to just watch these!





DSC_0324We took the boat into the forest, although our journey was a little wetter than this picture shows!  This is how the river looked at the end of the day. We couldn’t chance taking the camera out during our stormy trip!


Giant cobwebs





hidden teepee
hidden teepee


giant swing
giant swing
the aforementioned door
the aforementioned door












We ended the day with tea and cake and wand making, by now in the glorious sunshine!  Gotta love British summer!