Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ATLAS: Harry Potter Party

I have wanted to do a Harry Potter Party at my library for a long time, mainly because I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Big surprise, right? I tried to plan one last fall, but the beginning of the school year meant not many kids could come, and my plans were foiled. I've been waiting for an excuse to use my ideas, and the recent Harry Potter Book Night worked perfectly. In this post I will take you through each part of the event, and share tips and tricks I learned.

Part 1: Sorting Ceremony

Supplies needed: 
Witch's hat
Printout of house emblems (available in the Harry Potter Book Night Event Kit)
Background music (optional)

First order of business for any new Hogwarts term is the sorting ceremony. Each of the 13 3rd-6th graders that attended got to sit in front of the group and pick a house emblem out of our sorting hat. The house they picked would be the one they would belong to for the rest of the program.There were an equal number of emblems from each house in the hat, so I knew I'd have the same number of kids in each house. The events that followed would be a competition to see which house could obtain the most house points. 

Part 2: Trivia

Supplies needed:

Trivia questions and answers
Method to record points

The event kit also has some great trivia questions. Of course, you could also make up your own. I used our dry erase board to record 10 house points for each correct answer.

Part 3: Potions Class 

Supplies needed:
Baking soda
Plastic bottles

We did the classic kids' science experiment of blowing up a balloon using baking soda and vinegar. The kids loved it! I had prepared the balloons ahead of time by filling them with a few spoonfuls of baking soda. I figured this would make things go a little more smoothly, and it seemed to work really well. Each child who successful made the "potion with inflative properties" earned 10 house points.

Part 4: Spell practice

Wands (optional)

This was just another one of my fancy ways to work in one of my kids' favorite games: Freeze Tag. They used the 'petrificus totalus" and "enervate" spells to freeze and unfreeze each other.

Part 5: Guess the Harry Potter character

Post It Notes

I wrote the name of Harry Potter characters on Post It notes and stuck one to each child's back. They needed to guess who they were by asking each other yes or no questions.

Part 6: Snack Time

A highlight of many of my programs is snack time. This time we had pumpkin juice (orange Hawaiian punch), butterbeer cupcakes and Bertie Bott's every flavor beans (Kroger brand jelly beans). We also made "pretzel core wands' aka chocolate covered pretzels.

Part 7: Printables

I sent home coloring sheets of each house crest, as well as a Harry Potter wordsearch that was part of the event kit.

Tips and Tricks: 
  • Have kids wear the house crests they pick out of the sorting hat. I had my kids tape them to their shirts. This made it a lot easier to correctly award house points.
  • Awarding 10 house points for all accomplishments seemed to work well. It was straightforward and easy to add at the end.
  • Small prizes definitely suffice for the winners. All the kids that attended got to pick from a bowl of candy, fruit snacks, and temporary tattoos. 
Hopefully these ideas are helpful to my fellow Potter fans. If you have any great Harry Potter related programming ideas, or just want to fangirl over Harry and his world with me, let me know!

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