Magical garden potions

Activity

Hubble bubble! These fun potions are a blast to make, look beautful and make a great sensory activity.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): English, Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Observe different colours and shapes in nature
  • Discover the smells and fragrances of different flowers, herbs and leaves
  • Can be used to learn which natural items float and sink, or as the basis for a poem or poster

Preparation

Ask your pupils/children what sort of potion they might like to make. Would they like to focus on a particular colour scheme or perhaps they would like their potion to smell nice - see some suggested plants in the box below for ideas!

Equipment

  • Access to natural materials such as flowers, leaves, twigs, stones, seeds
  • Scissors or secateurs
  • Jars or bowls
  • A spoon
  • Decoration such as biodegradeable glitter, coloured sand, food colouring, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar
  • Optional equipment: conical flasks, pipettes, tongs to set the scene
  • Optional outfits: wizard or witches cloak and hat

Top plants for different potions

Remember not all plants are available all year round so experiment with different potions in different seasons.

Sensational smells

  • Lavender
  • Honeysuckle
  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary

Fantastic florals

  • Daisy
  • Borage
  • Dandelion
  • Nasturtium
  • Geranium
  • Cornflower
  • Forget-me-not

Step by step

  1. Ask your pupils/children to take a walk around the garden with a bowl or sandwich bag and collect natural items such as flowers, leaves, small stones, seeds etc.  
  2. Ask them to fill up some jars or bowls with water.
  3. Next they can then carefully drop their collected items into the water and give their potions a good stir.
  4. They can then decorate their potions by adding plastic free glitter, coloured sand, food colouring or bicarbonate of soda with a drop of vinegar for extra sparkle and bubble!
  5. Ask them to come up with an idea for what the potion does - maybe it turns people into frogs or could it make someone turn invisible? 

N.B. do not allow children to drink their potions, they are just for show.

Hints & tips

  • If you don't have a garden, take a stroll around a park or woodland to find your materials.
  • If you are unsure about what plants are safe to touch, have a look at our checklist of potentially harmful plants.
  • You may wish to use scissors or secateurs to remove flowers or leaves - just remember only to cut them from plants you own or are allowed to cut from, otherwise look for fallen petals and leaves.
  • To make the potion making more immersive, use a sheet for a cloak or make a wizard or witch's hat. Add pipettes, conical flasks, tongs, scoops and other containers to let their imagination run wild.
  • For a fun STEM activity, before children add their items into the water, ask them if they think they will float or sink and see if they were correct. Think about why they float or sink.
  • To use this as a literacy exercise, ask your pupil/child to write a story about their potion. How did it come to be? What does it do to people if they drink it or touch it? 
  • As a literacy or art project, older children could create a poster advertising their new potion and all the amazing things it does.

We've won awards!

Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
Winner of the Third Sector 2017 awards