Potion Making Ideas for Kids

We were recently on a walk at College Lake and there was a massive pine tree that had fallen down, which we spent ages exploring. The tree was recently fallen, so still full of dripping sap and fresh pine needles. It inspired some activity ideas for the kids including collection some pretty cool materials for potion making. It’s a really cheap, fun activity to do outdoors with the whole family.

The way we ended up doing it did up being the one of the messiest messy-play activities we’ve done in a while, but you can adapt it. In fact, I hadn’t intended it to get as messy as it did. My bad!


To make potions with the kids we started off with some basic equipment that we always have lying around the house – various bowls, jugs, spoons, funnels, sieve, bucket etc. If you’ve any white paper straws cut them into inch long pieces to make “bones”. Empty plastic bottles.

Something to add colour – you can use food colouring if you want. I decided this time to use paint (more on that later). The paint is the main reason why it was so messy, but it also really added to the fun. As you’ll probably be making these potions outside with the kids make sure the paint is non-toxic for animals in case of spillage.

Water – and quite a lot of it

Food ingredients – raisins, any spices (particularly those ones at the back that are about to go out of date!) and flour. We used toasted coconut too. Which it turns out my kids hated so has been sitting at the back of the cupboard for ages! Seemed a good use of it. Pistachio shells. These are all optional and are all the things we just happened to have lying around. Use what you’ve got.

Natural materials – Bark, pine needles, leaves, herbs, petals and sticks.

Coveralls – if you’re using paints or food colouring to make these potion with the kids you’ll want clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

Magic potions for kids – ideas for magical ingredients

When potion making with the kids you need to have some ideas of names for the ingredients. We went for a mixture of nice and gross sounding ingredients. Because my kids are gross, but magic is also nice! Here’s some of the things that we came up with and what their “real-world” equivalents are;

  • Dragon scales – Small pieces of park
  • Fairy needles – pine needles
  • Rabbit droppings – raisins
  • Ground eye of newt – a mysterious spice at the back of the cupboard!
  • Witches’ fingernails – pistachio shells
  • Ground magical mountain rocks – flour
  • Dried earwax – Toasted coconut
  • Magical spring water – ordinary tap water
  • Liquid lizard guts – green paint
  • Dragon’s blood – red paint
  • Liquid sun – yellow paint
  • The light – white paint
  • Liquid sky – blue paint
  • Lavender, sage, rosemary – themselves
  • Leaves – themselves

You can literally use anything that you like when potion making with the kids, just make up some great names for the ingredients. Once we had everything assembled I just let them get on with it really. They had their cauldron (aka the bucket and bowls) set up and got mixing. I’d expected them to use a bit of paint. They used a ton of paint. More paint than water in the end, but they had such a good time I didn’t really mind. The clean up was less fun, but totally worth it.

And no, it’s not always the prettiest of potions, but does that really matter?

A magical ending

We did this activity as part of our 1,000 hours outside challenge. Today we were out there for an hour, and that was on a cold January day. That doesn’t include the three hour walk we did that inspired the activity in the first place. In the summer we easily could have been there for longer. Or if we’d had more paint! After we had tidied up there was a beautiful sunset. Smallest Child turned around and told me it was because of our potion. Awwww!!!

A fizzy variation – We’ve made fizzing potions before (see how by clicking the link). I reckon you could probably add a bit of fizz to these potions as well, as long as you didn’t have any other ingredients that would react!

I’m Vicky and I am a mum of three living in Aylesbury. I set up Free Time with the Kids to review free and cheap family days out in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire, mainly because I kept forgetting all the fabulous places that were recommended to me!! I love getting out and about with the kids (and hubby of course) and we have adventures all over the place. My reviews tell you all the things you need to know about the family days out and activities we’ve done such as how much it costs, if there’s parking, toilets and if there’s a cafe or if picnics are allowed. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch contact@freetimewiththekids.com or get in touch via Facebook