#17 Hocus Pocus Potions

Suitable for:0 to 5

Fancy making some super-power potion, some magic medicine or a spell or two? Take a look at some science mixed in with lots of fun, but be careful… It could get messy!

How to do it

Children of all ages are drawn to playing with water, and many children are fascinated by filling and emptying. This range of activities supports and extends these interests, helping children of all ages to challenge themselves physically: babies can focus on grabbing and bashing, building up muscles in their hands and co-ordination, and older children can improve skills of mixing, pouring and using tools such as funnels, pipettes or spoons. They can develop their knowledge of the world: mixing colours, textures, physical change, volume and capacity, alongside feeding their imagination.


Mixing potions and perfumes encourages and supports imagination and role play of many kinds; mixing up some superhero powers, magic potions to make spells, perfume for Mummy or a fairy princess! Their imagination is the only limit.


Babies can explore, feel, mix with their hands, tip, bash and splash with ingredients that are safe to touch and get in their mouths.


Toddlers and older children can pour and mix, exploring colours, textures, smells and the consequences of their experiments (chemical and physical changes) with increasing involvement and decreasing adult input, as they become more able.


You can differentiate for different aged children, from babies to pre-schoolers by simplifying resources for babies, or adding recipes, and encouraging imaginative play with the older children.

This adventure is part of the Sheffield 50 Things to Do Before You're Five . Head over to their website to tick-off 50 fantastic things for you and your child to experience together. 

#50ThingsSheffield #homeadventures

Bottles, jugs, cups, bowls, water, food colouring, mud. leaves, petals, spoons, whisks...

Top tip

Bubbling wizards brew:

Fill half a glass jar with clear vinegar and add several drops of food colouring and a good squeeze of washing up liquid. Stir with a metal spoon. Stand in the sink or on a tray and then add a heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. You will see lots of bubbles come spilling from the jar.
Layered liquids:

Half fill a glass with cold water and mix in food colouring. Spoon four tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small glass jar. Then slowly add four tablespoons of the coloured water and see what happens. Last slowly add four tablespoons of golden syrup and watch closely again. In the jar you will see three separate layers. Oil is less dense than water so it floats in a layer on top of it, syrup is more dense than water and oil so it sinks through them to form a layer at the bottom.
Rose petal perfume:

Gather some lovely smelling petals and put in a small jug of water, then remove the damp petals and grind a little using a pestle and mortar (or end of a rolling pin), return the petals to the water and stir, then sieve through (always saving the water) and repeat this until you have some lovely smelly and probably brown water. Put into a bottle and decorate. Here you have your perfume. You could add a little vanilla too, or use lavender and add some dried too.

Take a look at these links too

Magic colour changing potions

How to make rose petal perfume 

Mentos and coke experiment 

How to make a lava lamp

Don't forget to head to the Sheffield 50 Things to Do Before You're Five website for more activities.