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”.
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!”
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.
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.
- 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!
- One large, soft Gator ball for the Quaffle
- Four small, soft Gator balls for the Bludgers
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 wins house points.
Muggle Magic Tricks
Find a few magic tricks that are easy to learn. Then teach the students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.