Inspired by Hogwarts Part 2

My Hagrid voice is embarrassing, my Dumbledore inconsistent, and my attempts at accents bordering disrespectful (sorry!) My Harry, Ron, and Hermione are pretty indistinguishable, but I think my Dobby is passable, even if it’s very similar to my Winky–and strangely, Professor McGonagall–voices.

Yes, we’re rereading the HARRY POTTER series.

I read him the series when he was five. My son is seven now, almost eight. It is interesting to note the difference in his reactions and questions now that he has two additional years of experiences. The conversations have always been one of my favorite things about reading out loud to my son. Books allow us to discuss tough situations we may not otherwise have an opportunity to discuss. Death. Love. Right vs wrong, and the many gray areas in between.

When we first read the series, we did some activities inspired by Hogwarts classes, and now here are some more.


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There are so many ways to do a Charms-inspired activity, and I may just dedicate a whole week to that one of these days. For now, I’m including the Engorgement Charm, which causes the target to swell immensely. We actually did this charm three different ways: through binoculars, a microscope, and our original engorgement activity: bloated gummies. Here’s Steve Spangler’s take on this candy science. Palette:    purple-32 yellow-32 white-32


Neville Longbottom’s favorite class is also one of ours. Living in Chicago, gardening can be quite challenging, but we do have a couple of months of summer, and access to great urban gardening opportunities.

I personally think every plant I try to grow dies, but fortunately, my husband and my 7 year-old are pretty good at this. Now what’s better, learning about plants and how they grow while sitting in a classroom and looking at diagrams, or growing them yourself and seeing firsthand how seeds turn to plants that bloom flowers that turn into fruits and vegetables?

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Care of Magical Creatures

Hogwarts students may have found Hagrid’s classes on flobberworms boring, but the worms in our worm farm are anything but. Sure, they don’t do much in terms of visual and full contact entertainment (unlike our cat), but they are incredible teachers and are amazingly helpful.

But yes, I admit that I do squirm when I see them squirm. That’s empathy, right?

Here’s more about worm farms from PBS Kids.

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Again, this is another class that can be done in many ways. Cooking, for one, is a great daily Potions class. After all, isn’t a good home cooked meal the ultimate Love Potion?

But I’m featuring something we did some time ago instead: the red cabbage acid test. It’s fairly simple to perform, and quite fun to do since the results of the test are quick and visual.

Again, Steve Spangler has the details.

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Our homemade kite made from a garbage bag was no Firebolt, but it was still fun to try to get it airborne.

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I think even Professor McGonagall can appreciate the power of Legos to transform into pretty much anything you can imagine.

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Defense Against the Dark Arts

Finally, the hugely popular D.A.D.A. For this we chose the Riddikulus spell. We have a hanging skeleton Halloween decoration that was perfect for the job. Inspired by Neville dressing Professor Snape in grandma’s dress and hat, we turned this skeleton into something more hilarious than scary.

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