Harry Potter Camp (Part 1)

“Harry Potter was at the Burrow, sitting outside while watching the stars in the sky above.stars  They were beautiful indeed, all sparkling like glitter that had been sprinkled on a dark canvas that was the night sky.” (Photo courtesy of Parker Grimes–my son)

Harry Potter Camp –Out of This World Fun!

I designed my first Harry Potter Camp before the first movie had come out. All of my grandchildren and I had read the three books that had been published, and we were all hooked for life!  It is one of the most fun themes ever! Today there are endless fantastical ideas, and now endless helps and resources on line. I’m sharing some of mine, because we had a great time, and 11 years later I had a new group of kids who loved Harry Potter and wanted me to have a Harry Potter Camp for them, so last year we did it again.  I began by mailing the acceptance letters to each child addressed exactly to their bedrooms, as was Harry’s:

Mr H. Potter, The Cupboard Under The Stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging , Surrey. Or  Miss A. Grimes, 2nd Room in Upstairs Hallway, Top Bunk…

Today there are also numerous sites online that have letter templates you can buy or copy.  This is my letter–with translation in a clearer font below this original.

Letter of Acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witches and Wizards

Scan Here is the letter in Times New Roman:

Dear Miss————

You have been accepted to the Hogwarts School of Witches and Wizards. Soon you and your school mates will join us and your education will begin. We are pleased that you will be coming to Hogwarts School. You will need to catch the train at Platform 9 3/4 on Tuesday June 18th.

Students, upon arrival, shall first visit Diagon Alley to purchase supplies and then will report to the Chamber of Reception. Following registration we shall have the Sorting Hat Banquet.

We very much look forward to receiving you as part of the generation of Hogwarts heritage.

Please give careful attention to the list of requirements. You may purchase these items upon arrival at Diagon Alley.

  • One Wizards Robe or Cloak
  • One owl, or hedgehog
  • One broom
  • One wand

Our curriculum will include

  • Defense Against the Dark Arts
  • The Magic of Me
  • Transfiguration
  • Divination
  • Potions
  • Spells
  • Care of Magical Creatures

Diagon Alley

First on the agenda was Diagon Alley where they could buy supplies. (When I purchased supplies for camp, the store I shopped at did not have enough owls, I didn’t want cats or rats, so I chose hedgehogs as an alternative.) I made the cloaks for the kids, rather than robes, out of plain black fabric with a gilded clasp. I don’t sew. I glue.  The kids were thrilled with these simple cloaks. They don’t have to be fancy.

I phone June1 12 036-001 The children each got a small sock with Wizard currency–gold galleons, silver sickles, or copper  knuts. Dobby donated the socks. Dobby loves socks, remember it was his master unwittingly giving him a sock that freed him?

“Dobby has got a sock,” said Dobby in disbelief. “Master threw it, and Dobby caught it, and Dobby — Dobby is free.” (CS10)

All supplies in our Diagon Alley were priced and the children counted out their money to buy wands, brooms, cloaks, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans, Chocolate Frogs, etc. (Rather than black robes, I made each child’s cloak out of plain black fabric with gold embroidered clasps and the coat of arms for their particular house was attached after the sorting banquet. IMG_2768

Another important purchase at Diagon Alley is their wand. Each wand was in its own box.  We decorated them with hot glue and paint, glitter, and or beads.PAG_5242

Our littlest wizard is showing you his box that has a wand inside. They tested the wands to see which wand picked them. Mr. Olivander, the wandmaker said, “You do not choose the wand, the wand chooses you.

"Expelliarmus!"   Harry Potter Camp

“Expelliarmus!” The children are actually disarming to me at all times; they cast a spell without wands.

The photo above is  from my first Harry Potter Camp. The children were asked, at that time, to bring their own cloak or robe. You can see one in the front is very fancy. His mother sews! These kids are now 18-22. Two of them are married. Once again I’m expressing what every grandmother knows, They grow up too fast!  While they are at my house the rule is No Growing Up!

I phone June1 12 033-001

The photo above is the second group 11 years later. This young wizard is like Hermione; he already knows how to use his wand, and  he is casting an unknown spell right out of the door of the shop!

The Sorting Hat Ceremony and Banquet

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The Sorting Hat Ceremony sorted the kids into just two houses. I had two bedrooms set aside as dormitories–One for Gryfindor and one for Ravenclaw.

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The Banquet table had lots of candles, (not floating in the air, but the kids didn’t care.) and the centerpiece was a castle candle holder so the light shone through the windows. The banquet food was simple things the kids love to eat, and of course it was served with Butterbeer.  There are lots of recipes online for this drink. The kids loved it and wanted more and more. Basically it is cream soda with a homemade caramel mixture added in. Then we whipped it in a blender so it had a foamy head and served it in half sized mugs.

End of Harry Potter Camp part one of three.  Next post will be about the classes, teaching values, and fun activities.

Harry Potter Camp (Part 2)

Courses Offered At Hogwarts

Potions

I got several juices, pop, Kool-aid in different flavors and colors. The children mixed their own potion and gave it to someone to drink and then told them what magic it would do. The child who drank the potion then had to act out the effects such as: Falling in love with the person they sat next to; turn into a cat; can’t stop laughing; talk with a lisp, etc. PAG_5290

This guy, ready for Qudditch practice, recently recovered from a laughing potion. His mouth is still blue.

Quidditch Practice

The first Harry Potter Camp, I bought all the kids a broom. This time I didn’t think I would do Quidditch, but just before camp, my oldest grandson wanted to teach this class. He had designed the game. So I just sent the kids outside to cut a branch for their broom, because it was necessary that they hold onto a broom as they played–we had to be official, here.  PAG_5300The Quidditch Coach is showing the teams the Bludger, with the Quaffle in his other hand–or wait…is it the other way around? Oh, right,(I looked it up), he is showing the Quaffle with a Bludger in his other hand.PAG_5302The Quidditch Coach is demonstrating how the Quaffle must be thrown through the goal to score. I think it’s a hula hoop.

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There is something really funny about this game, or maybe it’s the coach.

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The players are flying on their brooms.

There were three people controlling the balls from outside the arena. The bludger is one you have to look out for, it will hit a player–it’s the smaller ball. The Quaffle is the one you want to put through the hoop. The The Golden Snitch, for our game,  is a small ball attached to a rubber string, that someone has in their hand, and it can be thrown in and around the players, but very difficult to catch because it always goes back to the thrower. A Gryffindor Seeker. The game was over; it was fabulous!

Transfiguration

In this course we did crafts. We took one or two things and turned them into something else. For instance, we took a Roche chocolate and with transfiguration spells, and a few other supplies we turned it into a Snitch. We also transformed a glove into a fly.

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Care of Magical Creatures

PAG_5279I think the kids are Magical Creatures! This was the favorite class of these two three year olds.

Defense Against the Dark Arts

Care of Magical Creatures -- Harry Potter Camp

This class is not Care of Magical Creatures, but everyone seems to have brought one with them. Defense against the Dark Arts was our most important class because we can see the presence of evil creeping into many areas of our world. We talked about dark forces that we deal with such as drugs and crime, and what their worst fears are. Then we talked about our most powerful defenses. We decided prayer was the way to conjure up our protective  Petronus.

Divination

No teacher every seemed to get  “predicting what is coming” right in Harry Potter books. So we talked about what wise advice Dumbledore gives about life and the future and what he meant when he said:

“”It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.

“There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

IMG_2579We found the Mirror of Erised which shows you the things you want most. Each one looked in it and told us what he saw–the things they most desired. This gave me a teaching moment and choices we make in life and actions we need to take to make our dreams come true.

But remember Dumbledore says, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Then we looked into our crystal ball and each one got to say what he saw–Then I reminded them that Professor Trelawny rarely saw the truth in her crystal ball.

End of part 2 of 2