5 Magical Harry Potter Science Experiments (That Kids Will Love!)

One of the easiest ways to get kids interested in STEM is to show them how STEM relates to the things they already love. The Harry Potter series has enthralled kids and adults of all ages since its release. Whether you love curling up with a book or gathering the family for a movie night, the magic is the same. Use these five Harry Potter science experiments to learn more about STEM!

Related post: 32 Cool Science Experiments for Kids

#1 Visit The Herbology Greenhouse To Create Color-Changing Flowers

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • White carnations
  • Cups or vases

Add water to your cups or vases then add food coloring to each. Trim the carnation stems and then add one to each color of the water. Watch as your flowers “magically” change color!

Note: It could take an hour or more for the flowers to begin changing color. Check back after you complete the other activities and leave overnight if possible.

#2 Take a Potions Class To Learn About Colors and Chemical Reactions

Harry Potter Magic PotionsPotion 1: Magic Disappearing Potions

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Gloves
  • Bleach
  • Clear containers or cups

Let your kids add their choice of food coloring to the water. Carefully add bleach until the color “magically” disappears!

To explain how this reaction works, you will first need to understand how we see color. Compounds called chromophores reflect a certain portion of the visible spectrum of light.

Blue food coloring contains chromophores that reflect blue light, allowing us to see the color blue. Adding bleach to the solution breaks up the chemical bonds of the chromophores so that they no longer reflect any color.

Bleach works by releasing oxygen molecules in a process called oxidation. The oxygen molecules will then bond to molecules in the chromophores.

Potion 2: Magic Cabbage Potion

Red cabbage juice - pH indicator experiment

What you’ll need:

  • Red cabbage juice (you can make this ahead of time)
  • Clear containers or cups
  • Gloves
  • Lemon juice, vinegar, sprite, water, sugar water, sanitizer, baking soda, and bleach (you can use all or some of these – the point is to have a few liquids with varying pH)

You can make a variety of colored “potions” by adding red cabbage juice to liquids of varying pH.

For the cabbage juice, simply chop up a head of red cabbage and boil, then strain it. The cabbage juice will be purple and will have a pH of around 7. Add this juice to some common household substances to produce beautiful colors.

Try using lemon juice, vinegar, sprite, water, sugar water, sanitizer, baking soda, and bleach. Lemon juice is the most acidic with a pH of 2 and bleach is the most basic with a pH of 13.

The color change reaction occurs because red cabbage contains a compound called anthocyanin that can be used as a pH indicator. Anthocyanins will change in structure when in an acidic or basic solution, causing them to appear in different colors.

#3 Use Invisible Ink To Create Your Own Secret Diary (a la Tom Riddle) or a Marauder’s Map

invisible ink inspired by Harry Potter science experiment

Mix lemon juice with a little water to create your invisible ink. Use paintbrushes or cotton swabs to write your secret message – the ink will dry clear. When you want to reveal your message, carefully hold the paper over a heat source like a bright incandescent bulb, a space heater, or a candle. The message will appear darker than the paper when heated.

This invisible ink works because of the carbon compounds in lemon juice. Applying heat breaks down these compounds and releases carbon. When carbon comes in contact with oxygen in the air, an oxidation reaction occurs, and the substance turns brown.

The process is similar to what occurs when you slice an apple and leave it at room temperature. The carbon in the apple reacts with oxygen in the air and an oxidation reaction occurs, turning it brown.

#4 Design Your Own Broomstick

Harry Potter broomstick

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard tubes (from paper towel or wrapping paper)
  • Markers or paint
  • Twigs, feathers, foam, sheets, pipe cleaners (anything you would like to use for the bristles!)
  • Glue
  • Twine or string

Feel free to get creative with this one! You can find some ideas for your design here and here.

Have your kids design and build their own broomsticks while teaching them about aerodynamics. When they are complete you can have a broomstick race and see which one flies the furthest.

The four aerodynamic forces are thrust, drag, gravity and lift.

Thrust – The force that moves something forward. The action of throwing your broomstick will provide thrust.

Drag – The force that slows something down. Drag is the resistance of the air on your broomstick. A narrower broomstick will have less drag because the air is able to flow around it easier compared to a broomstick with lots of parts sticking out.

Lift -The force that keeps an object up. Birds and airplanes have wings to provide lift. Try adding wings to your broomstick and see what happens.

Gravity – The force pulling down on an object. The heavier something is, the more lift it requires to keep gravity from bringing it down. If your broomstick is too heavy, it won’t stay in the air very long.

The use of magic in the world of Harry Potter allows them to fly on their broomsticks without worrying about the laws of aerodynamics too much!

#5 Create a Magic Monster

Black snake experiment

This experiment is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, but it is a little more hazardous so please be careful. Before you start, make sure there’s water or a fire extinguisher nearby. 

What you’ll need:

  • A bowl filled with sand
  • Sugar
  •  Baking soda
  • Lighter fluid
  • Lighter or matches
  • Water

Watch the video demonstration of the experiment below for instructions and so you know what to expect!

When the baking soda heats up, it releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and when the sugar burns, it creates carbonate and water vapor. The CO2 gas pushes the carbonate out creating a monster!