Set Up a Potion-Making Station for Your Kids

Set Up a Potion-Making Station for Your Kids
Photo: ADragan, Shutterstock

There’s this crazy virus going around. The kids are bored with the usual puzzles, board games, books and toys. It’s time to let them brew some “potions.”

You probably did something like this yourself as a kid. Mixing different liquids and other materials together to concoct some kind of weird, foamy, oozy potion. (If you didn’t, that’s a bummer. You missed out.) It’s messy, yes, but it’s also a classic sensory activity that will keep little kids busy for many minutes at a time.

Susie Allison, of Busy Toddler, gives us some direction on Instagram for how to set up such a station:

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⚗️POTIONS⚗️ Let's talk about what was Busy Susie's favorite activity back when she was a kid. Anyone else? 🙋🏻‍♀️ I cannot be the only former potion maker in the bunch and let me tell you – my sister and I made some amazing ones back in the day 😂 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I think half the reason I love setting this up for my three is it brings back so many fun memories from being a kid 😍 Here's what I always give them whenever it's "potion making time" ➡️ vinegar, shaving cream, dish soap (washing up liquid) and baking soda (bi-carb). I dyed our vinegar for fun, but this is totally optional 🎉 I gave them medicine droppers, formula scoops, spoons, and peri bottles (yup!!) as their tools – you can swipe to see what this all looked like BEFORE they went wild 😉 As you can see this is NOT TASTE SAFE and definitely not eye safe either – use good judgment and supervision for this activity (my kids are 3, 5, and 7) ⛔️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I set everything outside for them to play with, mix, scoop, discover, create – this is science experimenting at its finest. Is it a mess? 🤔YOU BET IT IS! 😂But it's a worth while mess so I'll implement my forever motto ➡️ Look pass the mess and see the learning✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I do need you to know I made ONE GIANT MISTAKE in my set up – I don't want you to do the same🤦🏻‍♀️😱 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🤦🏻‍♀️MY MISTAKE: I set this up and had no way to clean / dump the bin. These products will kill our grass and can't go down our storm drains 🤦🏻‍♀️ I wish I had put it in a storage container NOT my sand table so I could have carried it inside to dump it all. Instead, to clean up and not destroy my backyard, I had to carry in all the utensils first and then carefully dump the excess "potions" into a bucket but tipping my table (this one doesn't have a drain) 🤷🏻‍♀️I took the bucket inside and rinsed it out there and it did work – grass saved! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 😱Oh and one last tip – you can dilute vinegar 50/50 with water and it will still make the chemical reaction. It helps make your vinegar supply last a bit longer 🥳 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Potion making is the best and still as awesome as it was when I was a kid. Some activities just stand the test of time 🙌🏻

A post shared by Susie Allison | Busy Toddler (@busytoddler) on

Allison suggests using a combination of these materials:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Shaving cream
  • Medicine droppers
  • Formula scoops
  • Spoons
  • Peri bottles

You can use whatever cups, bowls, scoops and tools you have around the house. She dyed the vinegar, because she’s extra awesome like that, but you can skip that part if you’d like to make it slightly less messy. If you want to see the activity in action, she includes a video on the post in which the kids describe what they’re brewing, and it’s adorable. (“I made a volcano!”)

Allison adds a couple of important caveats, though. First, make sure to supervise the kids closely while they are doing this to keep them from getting any of the mixtures into their mouths or eyes (you could also have them wear goggles to be extra safe).

And second, make sure you use a container that can be carried back inside your home to be dumped down the drain. When Allison started to clean up, she realised she didn’t have an easy way to transport the mess back inside to dispose of it. So don’t use a sand box or a water table (unless it has a drain). Opt instead for a storage bin that can be carried back in to be rinsed out. Or for an inside activity, throw them in the bath tub and let them brew in there.

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