Little Wizards at Work: Mixing Potions Invitation to Explore

This month the Poppins Book Nook contributors are sharing books and related activities about wizards. As I mentioned in our introductory post, Lovey enjoyed reading Dr. Witch’s Animal Hospital.

In this story Dr. Witch, who is a veterinarian witch, is very excited to get an invitation to the wizard and witch ball. She mixes up a special potion to get ready, and soon it is the day of the ball. While she’s on her way, Dr. Witch encounters many animals in need. By the time she arrives at the ball she’s a mess and almost isn’t allowed in until her animal friends come along to show their gratitude for her help.

Throughout the story there is a repeated phrase, “With my spells and potions, ointments, and lotions…” Lovey liked repeating that part, and it reminded her of the rhyming spells we recently made up for another book activity. Soon we were talking about potions, ointments, and lotions, too. That conversations inspired a little wizard work…

Little Wizards at Work

One afternoon while the girls were resting I gathered a ton of materials for the girls to experiment with making their own potions. Basically I went through our pantry, craft boxes, and bathroom cabinets, and I came up with all of these ideas.

  • Assorted bowls, containers, and jars
  • Spoons
  • Pipettes
  • Colored water (water and a food coloring)
  • Assorted cake decorations
  • Mini M&Ms
  • Licorice
  • Fake flower petals (real would be great, too)
  • Baby shampoo
  • Toothpaste (that both my girls insisted on having but nobody will use!)
  • Sequins
  • Glitter
  • Bath salts and foaming bath beads
  • Assorted spices (coriander seeds, sesame seeds)
  • Glitter
  • Wand
  • Plastic bugs

Really there are no rules…just gather anything safe for kids that has been sitting around in the pantry or cabinets too long. Shortly after we made our potions I also saw this wonderful list of ingredient ideas from The Mother Huddle. There are some great tips there.

Mixing Potions

I set everything out as an invitation to explore for the girls to find when they went outside. The second they saw it they got right to work!

Tinker liked listening to the sound of the small candies dropping into the bowls. Later she filled and filled and FILLED the bowl with colored water until it overflowed. Then she kept adding even more candies to it. It bubbled over just like a real cauldron might.

Mixing Potions Science Discovery

Lovey was very excited to mix up her potions. She did so in a very “matter of fact” way, adding a little of this and a touch of that until it was just right. She really enjoyed experimenting with the way the different liquids poured. She was a bit surprised the first time she tried to pour the shampoo, because it was very different from the water.

When she was pleased with her potion she would tell me what it was for. I loved that most of her potions related to helping animals like Dr. Witch did in the story. It was a very authentic way for me to see that she is comprehending the stories we read together.

Fine Motor and Science Play

The girls played and played until dinnertime. They are eager eaters who do not miss a snack or a meal EVER, but this was the first time I had to pull them away from something to eat since our wet and dry sensory play. They were absolutely fascinated by this activity, and I loved all of the science and math they were experimenting with in the process!

Toddler Science Discovery

Blog Me Mom also has a terrific post about creating flower potions. It would be perfect for a little springtime play.

What do you think? Would you set up a little potion-making station at home for your kids to explore? What other materials would you include?

Now It’s Your Turn to Share

Stop by some of the other participating blogs to see which books and activities they did to go along with the Knights, Princesses & Castles theme.

You can also visit the Poppins Book Nook Facebook page to share your own favorite books and activities to go along with this theme.

Upcoming themes-Plan ahead, and join in the fun!




August-Fairy Tales

Previous themes-Take a look at all of the great book activities shared!

Knights, Princesses, & Castles

Invitation to Explore

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  1. Mixing potions is one of my kids favorite things to do as well.

  2. This is brilliant! The book and the activity both looks like loads of fun! JDaniel would love to experiment with these ingredients. I am going to share this post on Facebook and Pinterest.

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks so much for sharing! We really did have lots of fun, and I loved that we could just grab things we had around the house. It’s makes the activity easy to duplicate and try again (over and over, like we’ve been doing lately!).

  3. Lucky girls! That looks so much fun. And as you say what a delightfully authentic and respectful way to observe story comprehension. I think I”m going to set up more invitations to explore for my children over the summer months. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂
    Lucinda (visiting via Science Sunday)

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks, Lula! We’ve been doing a lot more invitations to explore lately, and I really like the way the have the kids thinking and being more curious about everyday things. It’s been very interesting to watch. If you are interested in a little more inspiration, I have a few Pinterest boards specifically designed for invitations to play, create, and explore at

  4. You are a genius, Shaunna! I just love this set up – the clinky candy, the bugs and flower petals – all the colors and textures. So fun. We really want to give it a try!

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks so much, Asia! I really had fun scouring the house for different items to include. I hope you guys do give it a try soon!

  5. Oooh my kids would love this!
    They are forever making potions and ‘soup’ from garden items.. they would love the extension of some specific tools! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Shaunna says:

      I know what you mean. I have little soup makers, too! I hope your kids enjoy including some new materials!

  6. What an absolutely fun idea! I can’t wait to try this activity out with my daughters and I look forward to checking the book out as well. I am glad to have discovered your blog today.

    • Shaunna says:

      Thank you! I hope your daughters have a great time. And I’m glad you stopped by, too. Your blog looks like a great resource! I have to say your name is pretty awesome, too…mine has two Ns. 🙂 Shaunna

  7. Wow,how good idea! My girl will love it! Cant wait to try!

  8. Looks like a good book! All the mixing and experimenting must have been fun too. THey must have loved the chance to just try a bit of everything!

    • Shaunna says:

      We don’t read a lot of wizard or witch books because my kids tend to be frightened easily. I really liked that this one had a fun and helpful witch and not a scary one. And YES they loved experimenting with all of the different options!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing! What a fun idea! I can’t wait to try it out during our Halloween themed month. It will go perfect with learning about witches etc. I definitely plan on looking at your Princesses and Knights post too, as we’re doing a unit with that theme in July.

    Feel free to check out our fun activities at Now time to check out that other post!

    • Shaunna says:

      That will be a terrific time to try this out! I hope your kids enjoy it. And I hope you find some inspiration in the the Princesses and Knights post, too. Each month the members of the Poppins Book Nook all link up resources on a specific theme. Every Wednesday I also co-host a themed linky, Discover and Explore, on a specific topic each week. Maybe some of those themes will match your units as well.

  10. So much fun! My kids would love to come to your house and play. My daughter was looking over my shoulder while I was reading your post and she said “Oh my! Look at that Mom. It’s Harry Potter’s wizard school for princesses! Can I go?” 🙂

    • Shaunna says:

      Oh, that’s too cute! I would challenge her to set up her own wizard school this weekend. I bet she’ll have a lot of fun!

  11. Oh what fun! I love that their potions were for the animals like the book. How sweet!

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks! I thought that was sweet, too…one of the reasons I love just sitting back and listening to their conversations.

  12. You are talking my girls’ language when you bring up the word potions…I think I have ALL of that sitting around here. Great idea!

    • Shaunna says:

      I think that was one of my favorite parts of this activity…we just searched around the house. It’s amazing what you can come up with! I hope your girls enjoy this!

  13. Oh wow, this looks like so much fun! I can see why you had to pull the girls away from it to go eat.

    • It really was, Ann! They loved it, and I had so much fun watching them as they experimented and created.

  14. OOh, I want to come explore at your house! Looks like they had a great time!

  15. This is great! I should definitely find some test tubes and stuff and just let mine experiment one day! Maybe this summer when it warms up!

    • Thanks! It’s a great outdoor activity. Even if you don’t have test tubes a lot of small containers work well. Since we’ve done this activity my oldest keeps saying, “This would be a neat container for making potions!” Containers from yogurt smoothies and empty spice bottles would work well.

  16. OMGsh, what fun!

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