Concocting Creative Minds: The Wonder of Potions and Other Experimental Mixtures

Concocting Creative Minds: The Wonder of Potions and Other Experimental Mixtures



by Ginger Carlson

Looking for fun halloween activities and ideas? How about some bubbly potions? Ginger Carlson shares some fun concoctions for you and your children to enjoy together!

Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
-Shakespeare’s MacBeth (Act IV, Scene I)

A perfectly mixed concoction conjures magic and intrigue. Developing an experimental mindset, the most important step in getting ready for creative thinking and problem solving, can be daunting. The task instantly becomes a bit easier when we step into the kitchen, onto the front porch, or in the bathtub for a bit of potion-making. Whether fizzy, smelly, gooey, tasty, or astonishing to witness, having the opportunity to mix, combine, and play with the reaction of a variety of materials is a wonder-filled way to concoct thinking, creativity, and fun. 

Concoction Tools

To get started, gather children and the supplies they’ll need for concocting creativity: eyedroppers or basters, clear containers of all sizes, measuring spoons, and mixers such as whisks, sticks, or all sizes of spoons. If you are not yet ready for children to have a go at all your cupboards have to offer, begin by presenting a few select ingredients for children to combine. Don’t forget to put on your (real or imagined) Concocting Cap. Now you are ready to get mixing! 

Fizzy Fun
Anything that bubbles, fizzes, or froths is certain to get oohs, aahs, and some good old-fashioned giggles. First, allow children an opportunity to explore with what things fizz when combined with other ingredients. Watch an alka-seltzer do its plip-plopping. Use magnifying glasses and timers. Work with baking soda and vinegar and explore different amounts of each. Try your hand (or mouth) at blowing bubbles with a straw. Then move onto bath fizzlers that spin, whirl, and fizz while releasing colors and scents. 

Sudsy Stuff
And speaking of bath time, the tub is a wonderful place for mixing and combining all types of skin-safe ingredients without having to worry about cleaning up the mess. Add a few fancy plastic containers of alluring shapes to your regular bath time routine. Encourage children to create new mixtures with imaginary ingredients. Add glycerin to mild dish soap or shampoo for bubbles that will seem to have powers all of their own. A few drops of paint make those bubbles even more magical. 

Fragrant Fusions
While developing another of the senses, making and exploring with scents can be pleasing, invigorating, calming, and just plain fun. First, explore some different scents: sage has been used for cleansing, chamomile, vanilla, and lavender have a soothing effect, cinnamon can be invigorating, mint refreshing, and rosemary healing. Once you’ve found your favorites, they can be burned to add fragrance to the air, added to baths for rejuvenating soaks or made into sachets or other dry mixtures such as potpourri. Try infusing oils by packing your favorite herbs into a jar and cover with olive oil. Cover tightly and allow to sit in a sunny window for up to a month. 

Slimy Substances
As we explore deeper into our own potion making, one must not forget the all-important potions that ooze and slime their way through fingers and even toes. Mix cornstarch, water, and food coloring for an easy and true sensory experience that defies the states of matter. Try a mixture of psyllium husk fiber (such as Metamucil), food coloring, and water. Shake it vigorously in a jar and then pop in the microwave until it begins to ooze. Let it cool, then microwave for another five minutes. Once completely cooled, explore and get slimy! 

Edible Potions
Whether breakfast, dinner, or snacks, anything can become a potion by simply bringing a creative magical mindset to your food preparation forays. Form a fizzing drink with soda water and your favorite ice cream. Add a drop of gooey aloe vera to your salad dressings or smoothies. Shake soy creamer into butter. Conjure up a cauldron of soup. And while it may not taste so great, stirring a bit of nut milk and oil together with food coloring makes a tie-dyed effect of swirling colors that is sure to put stars in your eyes. 

So conjure up some fun and creative thinking. Add your own bit of family love and magic. And as Mr. Shakespeare doth wrote, Then the charm is firm and good. 

Fizzy Lifting 
Willy Wonka was surely onto something with his creation of Fizzy Lifting Drinks that would raise the drinker to party on the ceiling. Although not for drinking, make your own fizzy lifting mixture by adding a tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of water. Stir the mixture until the water becomes clear. Drop some raisins and watch them sink. Then, add about four tablespoons of vinegar. When baking soda and vinegar are mixed, gas is let off, forming tiny bubbles in the water. A few bubbles will attach themselves to the raisins. Voilå! Taxi to the top! 

Potion Pop-ups 

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • clean film canister or small container with pop-on lid
  • Pour baking soda and vinegar into a film canister. Quickly put the lid on and watch your potion do the popping! 

    How to Make a Bath Fizzler 

    • 1/2 part citric acid (available in grocery stores)
    • 2/3 parts baking soda
    • Witch hazel in a spray bottle
    • Coloring of your choice (powdered color works best)
    • Essential oil of your choice
    • ath bomb mold (any mold will do)
    • Blend the citric acid and baking soda extremely well, eliminating all clumps.
    • Add color and fragrance.

    Use one hand to stir mixture while spritzing with the witch hazel. Be careful not to get the mixture too wet or it will start its reaction. Once the mixture begins to hold together, pack tightly into the mold. Let dry a few minutes and tap out of the mold. In a few hours, your fizzler will be ready to go! 

  • Ginger Carlson is a parent, educator, and author of Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative and Naturally Curious Children (Common Ground Press, 2008). Her work has focused on critical thinking and creative development. If you have a question or comment, contact her through her website



Author: VegFamily

VegFamily is a comprehensive resource for raising vegan children, including pregnancy, vegan recipes, expert advice, book reviews, product reviews, message board, and everyday vegan living.

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