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Harry Potter Camp Ideas – Part 3 (The Extras)

This is part 3 of a 3 part series designed to give you ideas for running a Harry Potter/Hogwarts camp.

This is all about the extras. There’s a lot that happens between “classes”.

Group Games

Giants, Wizards and Elves (Trolls, Wizards and House Elves)

One of my favorite camp games works perfectly for a Harry Potter camp. If you’re unfamiliar with the game here are the rules and here is a video of some people playing. I like to have the kids also do a sound with the motions. For example the trolls grunt, the wizards cast a spell and the house elves talk in a high pitched voice and say “Harry Potter!”

FFEACH

This charades game is a lot of fun if you have older campers. FFEACH stands for Fast Food, Electrical Appliance and Cartoon Hero. However, we use Creatures, Objects and Spells. I guess you can call the game CROBSP. Anyway. create a list before starting the game and have the kids act out three to five creatures, objects and/or spells to win a  round. Here are the written rules of FFEACH and here is a video.

Quidditch

What’s a Harry Potter/Hogwarts camp without Quidditch? When I first thought, “How in the world are we going to play Quidditch?” I began searching the internet for answers. Luckily there were groups from young to college age already playing and writing about how they did it. I took my favorite three and combined them.

Playing area

    • The first thing I did was create the scoring areas. I used PVC pipe and connectors, Hula Hoops and plastic rings we had in our sports shed. One side was red and one side was blue.
    • We used a basketball court to play on since their were already lines for boundaries.
    • We used brooms to start off with, but found that the kids had a real hard time holding on to the brooms and trying to get the ball. Plus when they would turn they would smack the kid next to them. NO BROOMS!

The Balls

  • One large, soft Gator ball for the Quaffle
  • Four small, soft Gator balls for the Bludgers

The Snitch

  • We have two referees for the game.
  • Each ref holds a small clear glass gem, that we use for house points.
  • During the game, refs randomly drop the gem in the playing area. They are difficult to see.
  • The Seekers job is to find a gem and take it over to the “professor” that is guarding 10 paper bags weighted down with more gems. Inside one of the bags is a plush Snitch.
  • Once the Seeker has given their found gem to the professor he/she chooses one of the paper bags hoping that it’s the one with the Snitch.
  • If it is the correct bag the game is over. If it is the wrong paper bag the Seeker must return the gem to one of the referees so they can place it back into play.

Playing Quidditch

  • The game begins with two Chasers squaring off for a jump ball. The referee throws the Quaffle in the air and the Chaser that gets it either runs for his/her goal or throws the Quaffle to a teammate.
  • Chasers score by throwing the Quaffle through one of the hoops.
  • Beaters stay outside of the playing field (basketball court) and throw the small Gator balls at the players. No head shots.
  • If they hit a player with the ball, that player must freeze and count to 10 before continuing.
  • If the Chaser holding the Quaffle is hit he/she must freeze, drop the ball and count to ten.
  • Each team Keeper blocks the Quaffle from going through a hoop.
  • Physical contact is kept to a minimum.
  • The Quaffle may not be ripped from a Chasers hands.
  • Teams must pass the Quaffle two times before attempting to score.
  • When a team scores, the opposing team gets the Quaffle and the game continues.
  • If there is a foul (someone gets pushed, a Bludger hits a player in the head, etc.) a foul shot is taken from the free throw line. The Keeper defends the hoops as usual.

Scoring

  • Quaffle through the large hoop = 10 points
  • Quaffle through the small hoop = 20 points
  • Finding the Snitch = 150 points and ends the game

Award house points to the winning team.

Sorcerer’s Stone Challenge

In the Sorcerer’s Stone Challenge students are assigned various tasks. When one student completes a task he/she tags the next student to go, like a relay.

  1. Fluffy – A staff member starts barking and won’t let anyone pass through a door. The students assigned to this task must find something nearby that will help them get by “Fluffy”. Musical instruments must be found and played to put “Fluffy to sleep.
  2. Devil’s Snare – The next students are captured by a group of staff. They must figure out how to get away from them. The answer is to relax and stay still. The staff will then let go.
  3. Keys- Ten or so keys are scattered around a specific area. Students assigned to this task must take a key (one key at a time), run to a specified door and try to unlock it. Students must continue until they find the correct key. Once they unlock the door they must return the key to the “key area” and then go through the door.
  4. Chess – Since many of the students do not know how to play chess, and a game can take a long time, students assigned to this task must beat one of the professors in a game of Connect Four before moving on.
  5. Riddle – Two or three students are usually assigned this task. We have puzzles that consist of 12 wooden pieces. The pieces must be placed in the right spots. It’s not an easy puzzle. We use them for our Survivor camps.
  6. Sorcerer’s Stone – Once all the obstacles have been conquered the entire house goes out to search for the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Stone is a large, red, diamond-shaped paperweight that I got from a crafts store. I place the Stone near a mirror since in the book the Stone came from Harry ‘s pocket as he looked in the Mirror of Erised.

The house that finds the Stone winds house points.

Muggle Magic Tricks

Find a few magic tricks that are easy to learn. Then teach the students.

Mind Reading

Us professors like to show off a bit and so we show the students our mind reading capabilities that all fully qualified wizards possess. We will perform one of a dozen mind reading tricks that we have practiced, but one of my favorites has to be Black Magic. Click the link below for instructions. If the students don’t know it, and most of them won’t, they will be begging you to show them how it’s done.

Black Magic

Tri-Wizard Tournament

The Tri-Wizard Tournament consisted of 1) getting the egg from the dragon, 2) retrieving a loved one from the lake and 3) finding the Tri-Wizard Cup in a maze. Here’s how we did ours…

Dragon Egg

We designated an area where we placed a large plastic egg. One of the staff put on a dragon hat and a tail as he was the dragon. One person from each house took turns attempting to get the egg from the dragon. If after one minute the student was unable to get the egg a second student then helped. Now it was two students against the dragon. The participants with the fastest time received house points.

Retrieving a Loved One

Since we don’t have a lake, we blindfolded one student from each house and placed their beloved stuffed owl about 20 yards away in a large open field. The other students, the “callers”, from their house then had to verbally lead the blindfolded student to the owl. The “callers” had to stay where they were. In other words they could not walk with the blindfolded student. The blindfolded students, one from each house, all go at the same time. What happens is that “callers” are yelling instructions and the blindfolded students have a hard time figuring out which instructions they should follow. It’s a really fun team building exercise usually called Blind Fetch. Points were awarded for the quickest participants.

Tri-Wizard Cup

The cup is a large plastic trophy that we hide somewhere near camp. All the students scatter to try and find it. The student that finds it earns his/her house additional points. We then take a trophy piñata (you can also use a wizard’s hat or a dragon) and blindfold the kids so they can take a whack at it. I always keep a stash of candy aside in case some of the kids aren’t quick enough to get the good stuff.

Homework

Each day I hand out optional homework that the students can do at home. If they bring it back the next morning they earn points for their houses. I hand out pieces of parchment paper (you can get this from any office supply store) with one question or task at the top.

  • Create Your Own Potion
  • Which Character Are You Most Like?
  • When Would You Take Liquid Luck?
  • What Career Would You Like to Have in the Wizarding World?
  • If You Were to Write Your Own Book What Would It Be About?
  • Create a Story You Might Find in The Daily Prophet

The Daily Prophet

I like to put together our own Daily Prophet. I use the stories that the students turn in from their homework assignment. If there aren’t enough stories I’ll have them find a partner and create a story. Then we’ll all discuss it. I make some tweaks and changes to the stories as needed and then later I add them to our Daily Prophet. The nest morning I have copies of the paper with their owls. Below is an example.

Daily Prophet

Trivia

Who Wants to be a Wizard

Using trivia from all of the books, we play Who Wants to be a Wizard based on the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Since nearly all the students (campers) have read the first book or two (or at least seen the movies) the easy questions come from the earlier books.

Create Your Own Trivia Challenge

There is no shortage of trivia that you can ask the students of Hogwarts Americana, but sometimes it’s easier, and more fun, to have them come up with trivia questions. Give them a time limit. When time is up the houses each get the opportunity to stump the other houses with their trivia questions. One rule – the person asking the question(s) must also know the answer(s). House points are, of course, awarded for each correct answer, or to the house that gets the most answers correct.

Stump the Wizards

This is the time when the students can ask the professors questions. If they stump the professors they earn points for their house. They must know the answer to any questions they ask, however.

Discussions

Each morning I take the opportunity to facilitate a discussion. For example, we might talk about Dudley and why he is so mean to Harry. We’ll discuss bullying and other real issues. By using themes in the books I can have some great discussions with the kids that can make a real difference in how they think about these issues.

Dueling

Most of the kids love the dueling. They want to do it all the time. I make sure they have plenty of opportunities. For more on dueling see part 2 of this series.

Scavenger/Treasure Hunts

The kids also love hunts. This is universal for all camps. So, I make sure we have multiple hunts:

Enchanted Forest Hunt

The students search the area for small figures of wizards, dragons and other mythological creatures that were hidden by one of the staff earlier.

Horcrux Hunt

Each item is hidden around the area and students must find them. Points are awarded for each item found.

  • The Ring/Resurrection Stone – I use a ring with a gem on it that I got from the dollar store.
  • Tom Riddle’s Diary – I use a journal book that I already had.
  • Hufflepuff’s Cup – I use a coffee mug that I got from the craft store, and with glitter glue, I wrote on the cup “Hufflepuff”.
  • Slytherin’s Locket – I use a locket that I got from the craft store.
  • Ravenclaw’s Diadem – I use a plastic tiara I got from the dollar store.
  • Nagini – I use a plastic snake that I got from a party store.
  • Harry Potter – I use a framed picture of Harry Potter.

Find Scabbers

I hide a fake rat somewhere in the area.

Perform a Scene

The students have the opportunity to do a little acting. They get together with their house mates and can either use one of the scene scripts that I have from one of the movies (you can find these online) or they can make up their own skit. I bring in some costume items that they can use as well. They get a certain amount of time to practice and then they perform their scenes/skits in front of the camp. A lot of the kids really enjoy this. I have been asked to play Hagrid more than once and love to be a part of their scenes.

What’s Your Patronus

Each of the students are handed a piece of parchment so they can write down what animal their Patronus takes the shape of…and why. We then go around and find out what each student’s Patronus is. Later, I find pictures of the animals online and print them out with words “Your Patronus” on top and the name of the animal below. I then add it to the binders they receive at the end of the week.

Every Bean Challenge

Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jelly Beans are hard to find. If you do find them expect to pay for the name. Jelly Belly makes Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jelly Beans. Jelly Belly also makes  BeanBoozled which are very similar. BeanBoozled packs contain a variety of flavors and some of them are icky just like the Bertie Bott’s version. The nice thing is that the BeanBoozled are less expensive and the kids like them just as much.

One of the activities I like to do is to blindfold the students and give them a BeanBoozled jelly bean to see if they can figure out the flavor. They love it. The next morning the owl post is usually a box of BeanBoozled jelly beans.

O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. Exams

At the end of the week the students must take their O.W.L.s. If they are a return camper they take the N.E.W.T.s. The tests are really easy for most of the kids. Below is an example of the O.W.L.s.

OWL Exams

Feast

After they take their tests we have the End-of-Week Feast, which is actually a pizza party. During the feast staff grades the tests and places them into their binders.

Diplomas and Binders

When the student’s have passed their tests they are presented with their diplomas and binders. Below is an example of our diploma. I print them out on diploma paper from the local office supply store. The binders have a list of spells, a list of the potions we made with their ingredients, a copy of the Daily Prophet, any homework assignments they turned in, their Patronus sheet, their graded exams, a copy of the Sorting hat song and a copy of the instructions on how to make your own wand. I get the binders that have the clear window on the front and slide in a paper that has their house crest and their name.

Diploma

_____________________________________________________

Harry Potter Camp Ideas-Part 1 (First Day)

Harry Potter Camp Ideas-Part 2 (First Day)

Harry Potter Camp Ideas…an Update


22 Comments

  • Wonderful material here and thanks so much for not keeping it all to yourself! I was reading through the Quidditch rules and I did have a question; where do seekers stand when playing? Are they basically following the ref around waiting for him to drop the stone?

    Thanks!

    • @lindsay – I’m glad you find the posts useful. It’s interesting you mention not keeping it all to myself. It seems a lot of camp pros are reluctant to share their ideas and ways on how they run their programs. In fact, I had contacted 4 different people who were running Harry Potter camps, either through forums, email or by phone, for any help they could give me about running a HP camp. This was, of course, before I started ours. Not one of them was willing to share their ideas with me. They just ignored my requests. One of the main reasons for starting this site was to do what others were unwilling to, share what I’ve learned and created in this profession when it comes to programming. I was also hoping that others would share in the comments what they have learned. And some have. So thank you for recognizing that.

      As for Quidditch, yes, the seekers will follow the refs around at first. We try to be as stealthy as possible and usually do not have a problem with the Seekers noticing where we dropped it. Sometimes we may need to distract them, or tell them we dropped it already. I will say that if a house is really down on points we may make it obvious to their Seeker when and where we drop the gem/stone to help them out a bit. Scandalous, I know.

  • Thank you for sharing this! The Library I work at is doing an overnight Harry Potter event and your activities will be perfect!

    • Thanks for the comment, Rebecca. An overnight at the library, huh? That sounds like fun. Good luck.

  • Hi! I really enjoyed reading your camping ideas. At first I thought this was a camp, it really sounded like a lot fun! My daughter is a Harry Potter enthusiast. Do you know of a place or where I can find a Harry Potter summer camp in (Kansas City, Liberty, Gladstone) Missouri. I have Googled, but have gotten nowhere.

    Thanks so much! I can’t wait to have my daughter read your web site =)

    Michele

    • Hi Michele, I don’t know of any Harry Potter camps in Kansas. Try searching on the internet for Hogwarts camp. Also, check with local libraries and parks and recreation departments. Our HP camp (here in California) cannot be found on the internet since I knew it was going to sell out (no need to advertise). We currently have a waitlist. That’s why I say check with local organizations. Good luck.

  • Hi, I love how you’ve done this up it’s great. I’m heading back to camp again for my third year and we get to have a Muggles week again and I’m so excited, we had one the first year I was there but not last year 🙁 Lets say I’m a small fan of Harry Potter 😛

    As I’m Program Director this year I wanted to come up with more ideas for HP week, as the first year the only game we really played was Quiddich, great game though as both campers and counsellors really got into it. I’m glad to say Gryffindor won 😀 I was a Gryffindor

    I really like the sound of Giants, Wizards and Elves (Trolls, Wizards and House Elves) but I can’t seem to open up the ‘rules’ and I was wondering if yo have time, and if you didn’t mind could you post them here for me please?

    Also just an idea for you and any one else. But has anyone tried Wizards Chess (but less dangerous looking)? If the campers know how to play chess, get them to act out the pieces, a large area would be needed, and I’m not entirely sure how it would pan put but I’m planning on giving it a go this year 🙂

    Laurie 🙂

    • Laurie, thanks for the comment. I have linked Giants, Wizards and Elves to another page that is working. You can also Google it and you’ll find plenty of sites with instructions to the game. Thanks for letting me know about the link.

      I like the idea of Wizard Chess. I guess you would really just need two campers who knew how to play chess to move the other campers (chess pieces) around the board. I think that sounds like fun. Do me a favor and let me know how it goes if you decide to do it. If you get some pictures I’ll post them here. Good luck this summer.

  • Thanks again, it’s great to have a sight like this for ideas. I also found http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activities/camp-games.html a good site for games, (nothing Harry Potter related, but just for anyone for general game ideas)

    Yeah I’m looking forward to trying out Wizards Chess, I’m in quite a small camp so it also depends on how many campers I have that week. But I will make sure I take loads of photos and come back and let you know how it went 🙂

  • Finding this has absolutely made my day! i was wanting to do a harry potter themed all camp the week that the last movie is released, and was struggling to think of a way to do the Philosophers Stone and the tri-wizard tournament. This has solved all my harry potter related troubles! i cant wait to introduce these ideas to the staff and the campers! (first year being program director!)

  • Thank you so much for your ideas. For my camp last summer I drew on these, and mixed in some new ones. Also, I am part of of the online HP fandom via Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet, and have attended 2 Harry Potter conferences, all of which are great resources (I found it helpful to search Harry Potter crafts and party ideas). The Potter fandom is amazing in its willingness to collaborate and share. The enthusiasm and creativity of my staff (and the campers and parent volunteers!) made the week truly magical. It was a huge amount of work for one week of a relatively small camp, but it was a labor of love! Besides the kind of activities that you have noted, we had a week-long mystery that we created fan-fiction style. This was very detailed, but had several levels so that younger kids could follow easily (minister of magic kidnapped, find clues, suspect counselors) but older kids also could really get into. This was introduced gradually throughout the week. We had counselors that were great actors and really got into it. I also had a counselor who is a wiz with technology, and she created a website that makes us look much more professional than we are! Check us out at: http://www.harrypottersummercamp.com. If you click on the the “Parents” tab and then the drop down “harrry potter summer camp- the experience” you can see a summary of our week long mystery. I have received emails from other camp directors inquiring about copyright issues. I think if we were bigger, or were using Harry Potter logos to make money, they would have made us purchase a license. However, what we did was email JK Rowling’s agent telling them what we were and asking permission to use the name. The address is [email protected]. They sent us a form letter outlining the guidelines, and we did our best to follow them. Once I started doing this camp, I was amazed at all the dedicated Harry Potter fans who wanted to help. People want to volunteer just to be a part of it, and the campers rave. I’m sure we will fill early again this year. There is definitely a need out there for more HP themed camps. Good luck to you all!

    • Rachel, first off, thank you for the great comment. I can relate to how much work is put into this camp for one week. We both want to make the week as magical as possible for the campers. It makes a huge difference when you have a staff that is excited about it. The first two years I ran the camp I had a couple of staff who had never even seen one of the movies let alone read any of the books. They were great in helping out but I was doing all the HP stuff. Last year I had a staff of HP enthusiasts and it was awesome!

      The website looks GREAT! How many kids do you get and how much staff do you have? Also, do you think you will continue to have good numbers now that all the books and movies are out? Has the buzz and excitement of it all vanished?

  • Thanks, Curt. Last summer we had a staff of 12 Professors (we never did get everyone up on the webpage). This included 8 senior counselors (college aged and older) and 4 junior counselors (in high school). We also had several parent volunteers who were there sporadically to play their “part”. (Minister of Magic and Aurors, Wandmaker, Dementors, Hogsmeade witches.) We had 60 students (campers), making Houses roughly 15 people each (the classrooms accommodated this size group well). Part of the day was spent in classes of 15, and part with larger groups. We tried to arrange the Houses and classes so that they would not always be with the same group of kids. The beginning and end of the day had the whole group gathered together in the Great Hall. I did this last year thinking it would be a one-time thing. I have another career (physician) and have never ran a camp before. My girls are the right age and I figured it would be a fun bonding experience (It was! But they also were very understanding about sharing my time). Luckily I had teachers and people with camp experience who helped me immensely. At this point, I am only committing to one more year. I know we have a huge amount of interest from previous campers and word of mouth. Though the movies are all out on DVD, Rowling’s website Pottermore.com and Universal’s Wizarding World in Orlando, are both promise further expansion. I do think Harry Potter popularity will dwindle as years go on, but I think there will still be a dedicated fandom. I hope parents and teachers will continue to introduce the books to children, as they have such positive, enduring themes and introduce so many kids to the excitement of reading. I have to say, I had no idea how many fans existed in my area. Initially, I was planning a camp of 30 kids and realized pretty quickly that we could double that. What was also amazing, though, was how many adult and teen fans there are out there. I’ve made a lot of Potter friends!

  • I just found this page. We did a HP themed camp last summer, and we are planning to do it again this year because it was a huge success. I just read your take on it, and your ideas are fantastic, thank you very much for sharing!!!

    • I’m glad you found it useful, Ausonia. If you do anything different that is really fun, feel free to let us all know. I love when people leave comments with new ideas.

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