The 5th of February saw the launch of the inaugural Harry Potter Book Night. Celebrated by 10,000 groups worldwide the event was designed by publishers Bloomsbury to “give new and existing fans a chance to share the wonder of J.K. Rowling’s unforgettable stories and, most excitingly, to introduce the next generation of readers to the unparalleled magic of Harry Potter”. Lizzie Ryder reports on the first Harry Potter Book Night held in her School Library:
As this was the first event of its kind we weren’t sure what the response from students was going to be and, worried that we might end up with a hard core of only 5-10 students in a big empty room with not much going on, we opted to plan an evening of crafty activities that would work just as well with 2 or 3 students as with 100.
In terms of planning the event, this meant that there was a greater monetary outlay (lots of supplies to buy) but we were hoping it would result in greater engagement and reward for our students. Given more time we would have liked to have got our Science Department involved with some more science based activities/demonstrations and I’ve since seen an amazing example of tabletop pingpong Quidditch – but careful thought and thorough risk assessments would certainly be needed to pull these off in school. Definitely one to investigate for next year though!
We settled on four activities in total: Herbology – Grow your own Mandrake, Care of Magical Creatures – Adopt a Pygmy Puff, Defence Against The Dark Arts – Grindylows and lastly Potions – Brew your own Amortentia. In addition to the activities we also had some fab room decorations (House banners, floating candles on the ceiling, Hedwig balloons, a Honeydukes sweet shop and a ‘Have You Seen This Wizard?’ photo prop) as well as a fiendishly difficult quiz. Most of the ideas were sourced or adapted via Pinterest which, it turns out, is a goldmine for everything Harry Potter!
One of our sixth from students came up with the idea of working out what the aroma of your own Amortentia potion would be for our Potions activity. We asked everyone to write down their three favourite scents on a piece of ‘parchment’ which was then posted into a tiny glass bottle (we found our bottles on ebay). We had glitter glue and beads on hand to decorate each bottle and give the potion its distinctive ‘mother of pearl sheen’
“It has a different aroma for everyone who smells it, reminding each person of the things that they find most attractive, even if the person doesn’t acknowledge or is unaware of their fondness for the object of their affection themselves. For example, Harry Potter smelled treacle tart, the woody scent of broomstick handle, and “something flowery that he thought he might have smelled at the Burrow”; which he later realised was the smell of Ginny Weasley.” – http://harrypotter.wikia.com
The potion making was a real success and you could definitely expand the idea to include different potions – who wouldn’t want their own miniature bottle of Felix Felicis for example?
Because we were posting paper into the bottles we opted to use a 50mm bottle, however, if you were just mixing potions you could opt for the really tiny bottles and turn them in to necklace charms like these we found on Pinterest.
Defence Against The Dark Arts – Grindylow
Professor Remus Lupin ordered a Grindylow in 1993 for his third year class to study for Defence Against the Dark Arts – http://harrypotter.wikia.com
We adapted the jellyfish in a bottle activity (found on Pinterest) for our Grindylows. Though this activity was potentially a bit risky in terms of spills we managed to avoid any disasters and with liberal use of the blue food colouring we ended up with a pretty impressive end product – the activity also had the added bonus of recycling lots of the plastic bottles we found in school!
Herbology – Grow Your Own Mandrake
Inspired by the grass heads I remember making as a youngster we also had a ‘Grow your own Mandrake’ activity. Again this was a messy activity, but at the end of the school day I think the students relished getting their hands a little dirty. The added bonus with this activity is that lots of students (and some staff!) have been back in the Library this week to tell me that their Mandrake babies have started sprouting!
Care of Magical Creatures – Adopt a Pygmy Puff
This was possibly our most popular activity. I had pre prepared some of the pom poms (though we had wool on hand for those students who chose to make their Pygmy Puff from scratch) and students were invited to decorate them with googly eyes and foam shapes.
All in all this turned out to be a great evening, with about 30+ students and staff in attendance. We’ve already started planning for next year!
You can see more photographs of the evening on our facebook page. If you held a Harry Potter Book Night please share your successes and tips with us over on Facebook too.