My daughter just turned 8 years old, and as we just finished reading Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone together as a family, she requested a Harry Potter birthday party. Since both her dad and I love Harry Potter, we had a blast cooking up all sorts of fun for our daughter and her friends.
The first step was creating the perfect invitation. I imitated Harry’s Hogwarts acceptance letter and printed it out on parchment paper. We edited the wording a bit because not all the girls have read the book and we didn’t want it to be confusing. Hello Paper Moon has a link to some awesome HP fonts that you can download. (She also makes and sells really authentic-looking acceptance letters.) I found the Hogwarts coat of arms on google. We folded the letter inside the printable envelope from Just Sweet and Simple and put it into a 6×9 manilla envelope for mailing.
When the girls arrived, we gave them a supply list and shopping bag and sent them to the best place to shop for magical supplies…
Each girl received their own cloak, which I made using this tutorial from Pieces by Polly. FYI, it really was as easy as she makes it seem, and mine were even quicker because I sewed on a velcro closure instead of a button/buttonhole. For our party guests, all 8 year old girls, I used a size 3XL black t-shirt to make the cloak. They were $4 or $5 at Walmart.
Next, they made a stop at Flourish & Blotts to pick up spell books, a potions manual and their very own owl.
The Standard Book of Spells Grade 1 comes from Dirt and Sunshine. I printed the pages on parchment and used card stock for the cover. I made some modifications to the spell book so that we could add a few spells from the Sorcerer’s Stone. Dirt and Sunshine also has printable signs for Ollivander’s wand shop, Madame Malkin’s robe shop, and a potions label for mandrake root.
Our potions book came from Mrs. Nespy’s World and her wonderful HP party. Most of the printable potion labels came from Over the Big Moon. To make our potion bottles look creepy and aged, I mixed craft paint with water and brushed it on, using a few different colors for variety. I lightly blotted the bottles with a paper towel while the paint was still wet. Mod Podge worked great to adhere the labels. I filled them with different liquids and powders from my pantry and they were ready.
You can’t go to Hogwarts without a wand, so they visited Ollivander’s Wand Shop last. I looked for reasonably-priced wands, but they all got terrible reviews and were still more than I wanted to spend. I made ours out of chopsticks covered in hot glue. After the hot glue cooled, I painted them in different shades of brown and added some detailing with the paint. Super simple and the girls loved them!
Activities & Games
After the girls picked up their supplies, they got to attend some Hogwarts classes: Potions, Herbology, Charms, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. First up was Potions class.
We did three experiments: Dancing Unicorn Milk and Exploding Elixir are found in the potions book, and our Bubbling Boil Remover was based on an easy lava lamp experiment I found here. The Bubbling Boil Remover was by far the favorite, but Exploding Elixir (basic baking soda & vinegar eruption) was a hit too. Note: Dancing Unicorn Milk works much better with traditional liquid food coloring.
Herbology class was a simple garden craft. My awesome mom dressed up as Professor Sprout and the girls painted clay pots and planted Gilly Weed flowers (aka marigolds.)
We recited a few spells from the Sorcerer’s Stone together. Then the girls practiced “levitating” balloons with just their wands. It was a windy day and the girls were running all over chasing their balloons. It was lots of fun!
After Charms, the girls did a scavenger hunt in the park to find the magical creatures that had escaped. The last class was Defense Against the Dark Arts, which was a pinata. Finally we had a feast of cake and ice cream in the Great Hall. The girls each left with a copy of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone.
It was such a fun time and our sweet little 8 year old girl said that was even more fun than she had hoped!