Witch School: Magical Fun With Science, Social Studies, Nature, and Art

This set of lessons is a little different. While I usually link to free instructions for my activities, to do Witch School you really do need to get your hands on a couple of books: The Science Spell Book: Magical Experiments for Kids by Cara Florance [Amazon | Bookshop] and The Little Witch’s Book of Spells by Ariel Kusby and Olga Baumert [Amazon | Bookshop]. (Your public libraries might also have these!)

I love both of these ingenious books and decided to create a full set of lessons that use some of their wonderful activities — but with some added history, context, and flair. (I even created a free grimoire zine, which you can download for free below.) I hope you and your children find something to love here! And don’t forget: these books have many more ideas and activities inside them, so you could easily switch out some of the activities here for ones that better suit your children.

What Kids Will Do

In these explorations, kids might…

  • Make a light-up magic wand
  • Make a grimoire
  • Practice meditation and loving-kindness
  • Design sigils
  • Study poetry and make a spell poem
  • Draw and make a magnet with electricity
  • Make a protective star from foraged materials
  • Make color-changing art and food from indicator solutions
  • Dissect an aloe vera leaf
  • Make a compass
  • and more!

Designed for kindergarten and elementary students, but many parts will be enjoyable for older children and adults, too.

Read On

The Science Spell Book: Magical Experiments for Kids, Cara Florance [Amazon | Bookshop]

Beautifully and cleverly presented, this book is full of very good and not-too-difficult magic-themed science experiments

Science experiment books are a dime a dozen, and usually you can just find all the experiments online anyway — but this one is special and will likely delight many magic-obsessed children. Florance has divided her book into five intriguing sections: infusions (acids/bases), illumination (light), sorcery (magnetism and forces), alchemy (physical and chemical changes), and mimicry (biomimicry). The experiments she’s chosen for each section are not only achievable but also involve real science — and she’s got plenty of explanatory text to help make the “magic” educational, too. I love books of science experiments, but your average 100 Chemistry Experiments for Kids is nowhere near as exciting or motivating as a book that doubles as a full course in magic.

Season of the Witch: A Spellbinding History of Witches and Other Magical Folk, Matt Ralphs and Núria Tamarit [Amazon | Bookshop]

A serious and readable history of magic and witchcraft around the world

This book on the history of witches and magical folk takes its subject seriously, but of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to read. It’s so gorgeously illustrated that you might forget that it’s essentially a mini textbook, wonderfully suitable even for younger elementary-aged children. There are sections on Mesopotamian magic, ancient Egyptian magic, South African magic and vodou, Japanese magic, and quite a bit about European magic as well, with brief interludes about famous witches and magicians of myth and history and about all the exciting magical accoutrements (wands, cauldrons, familiars, and so on). Even adults can learn a lot from this one – a terrific history book for kids.

The Little Witch’s Book of Spells, Ariel Kusby and Olga Baumert [Amazon | Bookshop]

Supremely gentle and goodhearted, this book of simple spells emphasizes confidence, calm, and joy

This lovely and warmhearted book of simple spells is an absolute delight, a witchy introduction to self-belief and loving-kindness. Written with gentle positivity, this book welcomes all children, of any gender or background, and encourages them to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate the strength within themselves. The spells here are positive, healing, and protective: a love yourself rainbow spell, a mermaid bath spell, a stair-climbing strength spell, a get well soon elixir, and a conflict-sweetening spell (to wish for peace after an argument), as well as guides to making moon water, a wand, an altar, and a pendulum – and loads more. You might think this would seem hokey, but I was overwhelmed by its sweetness and its tender-hearted worldview. Sure, there’s some magical thinking here (and why not?), but the spells are also wonderful encouragements to be kind to yourself and others, and, importantly, to pair the spells with real, concrete actions (the group spell for positive change emphasizes that the spell must be followed by actual action – a food drive, volunteering, donations, or a petition, for instance). A truly lovely gift for any child who loves magic. 

The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris [Amazon | Bookshop] — Master nature writer Macfarlane’s poems transcend age classifications. These are poems for children, and these are poems for grown-ups, too. The book is oversized and almost heartbreakingly beautiful by any measure — a gorgeous collection of spells and incantations. Macfarlane’s poems about animals and nature are clever and a joy to read, and Morris’s watercolor illustrations are breathtaking. If you love this one, check out the sequel, this time in a very small package: The Lost Spells [Amazon | Bookshop]. And also its companion CD, The Lost Words: Spell Songs.


  • Excellent and extensive lessons and resources for Robert Macfarlane’s The Lost Words and The Lost Spells
    • Template for making a spell, using Macfarlane’s poem “Swifts” as an example (Swifts 8, p. 14-15)
    • Template for making a spell, using Macfarlane’s poem “Red Fox” as an example (Red Fox 6, p. 11)
    • Template for making a spell, using Macfarlane’s poem “Moth” as an example (Moth 5, p. 20) — go here to find an extensive list of moth names for this activity
  • Magic poems from the Children’s Poetry Archive
  • The British Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition on Google Arts & Culture — A beautiful and fascinating online exhibition about the history of magic. Despite its name, you can absolutely use this exhibition without knowing anything about Harry Potter. Pay particular attention to the group of sections under “How to study like a wizard.”
  • The World Bewitch’d: Visions of Witchcraft from the Cornell Collections exhibition — This online exhibition provides great background information on witches. Some of this is too complex for younger readers, but it’s full of handy contextual information for grown-ups and kids who want to dig deeper.


Introduction to Magic Practice and the History of Witches

Activity: Magic meditation
A brief, simple meditation to practice every day. Find instructions here: “How to Find Your Center, Grow Your Roots, and Make Your Bubble,” The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 7-8

Read: “Ancient Mesopotamian Magic,” Season of the Witch 10-1
“Ancient Egyptian Magic,” Season of the Witch 16-7
“The Books of the Dead,” Season of the Witch 20-1 (for more on these books, go here)
“What a Witch Looks Like,” Season of the Witch 14-5

Activity: Make a magical fort
A place to practice spells, read magical books, or work on your grimoire. See The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 57-8 for inspiration and a spell to cast after making your fort.


Read: “Spells and Incantations,” Season of the Witch 40-1

Read: “Grimoires,” Season of the Witch 46-7

Activity: Create a grimoire
Make a spell book. I designed a zine for this, using copyright-free images from medieval, Renaissance, and 17th-century documents (including an invisibility spell and an abracadabra triangle). My children added a cover to their grimoires and decorated it with jewels. But you can leave it as-is, too! Children might have ideas of their own for the grimoire, but you can also use it to take notes during Witch School. To download the zine for free, click here (print double-sided, and make sure you select “flip on short edge”). You can also see more grimoire inspiration in The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 19-20.

Read: “Wands,” Season of the Witch 26
“Illumination,” The Science Spell Book 51-5

Activity: Make a light-up magic wand
This truly cool activity involves creating a circuit to make an LED light up when you grasp the wand. Collecting the sticks and finding the right one is a good part of the fun, too. We used a combination of copper tape [Amazon] and insulated wire (copper tape from the LED [Amazon] to the bottom, and then a small section of insulated wire between the battery and one length of the tape). If you’re having trouble getting the LED to light up, make sure it is firmly in contact with the copper and wire. The book doesn’t give close-ups of the circuit, but see below for how ours ended up looking. Find full instructions in The Science Spell Book 63-5.

Or Activity: Make a magic wand
If you’re not up to working with circuits, you can make a low-tech wand, of course. If you like, you can get some inspiration from The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 37-8. You can also try kitchen peeler whittling to customize the wand.

Read: “Familiars,” Season of the Witch 27
“Japanese Magic,” Season of the Witch 56-7 (on kitsune and familiars)

Activity: Familiar spell
Choose a familiar (perhaps a creature you often seen in your neighborhood) and make a fact file about it, including its habitat and diet. Then leave an offering for it and cast a spell. Find instructions and the spell in The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 26-7.

Activity: Write your own spell
Robert Macfarlane’s masterful, glorious collections of children’s poetry, The Lost Words [Amazon | Bookshop] and The Lost Spells [Amazon | Bookshop], are full of nature spell poems. The free teachers’ guides to these books are equally fantastic. To write your own nature spells based on the poems in his books, try these:

  • Template for making a spell, using Macfarlane’s poem “Swifts” as an example (Swifts 8, p. 14-15)
  • Template for making a spell, using Macfarlane’s poem “Red Fox” as an example (Red Fox 6, p. 11)
  • Template for making a spell, using Macfarlane’s poem “Moth” as an example (Moth 5, p. 20) — go here to find an extensive list of moth names for this activity

Activity: Draw with electricity
Using an indicator solution, alligator clips, and a battery, make a drawing with electricity. For full instructions, see “Sanguine Energy” in The Science Spell Book 38-42.

Activity: Create a magnetic field with electricity
With some simple supplies, you can make a magnet with the press of a button [Amazon]. My children loved attracting bells to our magnet, then watching them fall off when we let go of the button. Find instructions in “Magnetic Manifestation” in The Science Spell Book 127-131.

Activity: Make sigils
Making sigils feels like creating a secret code (in a way, it is!), and they’re perfect things to put in your grimoire. See “How to Make a Sigil” in The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 79-81.

Read: “Vodou,” Season of the Witch 50-1
“Vodou Dolls and Charms,” Season of the Witch 54-5 (on protective objects)

Activity: Make a magical star
Make a magical protective object from foraged twigs and some twine. See The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 61-2.


Activity: Make an altar

Create a special space to inspire yourself or honor your loves and dreams. For inspiration, see The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 65-6.


Look: Potions, an online museum display from the British Library (through the lens of Harry Potter)
Read: “Slavic Magic,” Season of the Witch 28-9 (on herbs)
“Cauldrons and Potions,” Season of the Witch 32-3

Read: “Medieval Magic,” Season of the Witch 42-3
“Helpful Herbs,” Trees, Leaves, Flowers, and Seeds [Amazon | Bookshop] 168-9 
“Natural Beauty,” Trees, Leaves, Flowers, and Seeds 174-5 (focus on aloe vera)

Activity: Dissect an aloe vera leaf and scoop out its clear leaf sap
Our grocery store sells individual aloe vera leaves for a few dollars, and if you need help knowing how to cut them open, there are loads of video demonstrations to help you. If you like, you can make the sap into a face mask “potion.”

Activity: Make a loving-kindness potion
Make tea for someone and say some loving-kindness meditations before you deliver it. See “Love and Kindness Potion” in The Little Witch’s Book of Spells 13.

Activity: Make ink “potions”
We made color-changing ink from a single bag of frozen blueberries. This video recommends thawing and refreezing them several times to release the juices, and we found that that method worked pretty well (but you’ll need to start the thawing/refreezing process about a day in advance). You’ll just need to mash the blueberries through a strainer after that. Once you have your ink, if you sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on the paint, it’ll change color! (See a demonstration here.) We also painted with red cabbage indicator solution, which likewise changes color with the addition of acids and bases (see The Science Spell Book for instructions or consult the Royal Society’s excellent indicator solutions lesson here, which is another good potions activity!) and spirulina powder (available at many grocery stores) mixed with a bit of water. You could also try beet ink and turmeric ink.

Left to right: blueberry ink with a sprinkle of baking soda (to make green), spirulina powder ink, and purple cabbage ink with lemon juice (to make pink)

Activity: Color-changing tea
Butterfly pea flower tea is an indicator solution, so it changes color when you add an acid. I used this butterfly pea flower tea (and you can use extras to make beautiful blue milk tea or boba tea). For instructions, see “Elixir of Enlightenment” in The Science Spell Book 21-3.

Activity: Make and eat a color-changing meal
Using indicator solutions, you can make rice that changes colors before your eyes. Find instructions in “Transfigured Fare” in The Science Spell Book 43-8.

Activity: Color-changing art
A clever way to paint that truly does feel like magic. Find instructions in “Color Inversion Spell” in The Science Spell Book 33-7.

Divination and Fortune-Telling

Read: “Norse Magic,” Season of the Witch 36-7 (on foretelling)

Activity: Fold fortune-tellers
A classic paper-folding activity (and a good one!). You can find loads of free templates online, like this one, or you can find a whole book of pre-printed themed fortune-tellers and some decorated blank ones, too [Amazon | Usborne].

Read: “Sorcery,” The Science Spell Book 89-97

Activity: Make a compass
Explore magnetic fields by creating a homemade compass with a leaf and a needle. See “North Divination” in The Science Spell Book 123-5.

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