I've had several people ask how to do the trick that made Divinations class at the Harry Potter party, and wanted to share. Disclaimer: my amazing friend Paulette came up with this activity and did everything--I just documented it with photos!
Materials for Harry Potter Divinations Class Activiy:
clear cups (plastic or glass)
clear liquid (we used Sprite)
a sign describing what each color predicts.
The process is simple. Well ahead of the party, paint a smudge of food coloring on the bottom of each cup and let dry. I generally like Americolor gel food colorings for most things, but in this case, the liquid squirty kind from the grocery store actually works better.
At the party, fill a cup with some ice (to cover the smudge of food coloring) and place it in a child's outstretched hands. Show them how to hold their hands out on front of themselves.
It feels strange and mystical, and is the perfect misdirection to prevent them from having any chance of seeing the food coloring on the bottom of the cup. I suppose you could use an opaque cup, but then the end result wouldn't be nearly as dramatic.
Have the child concentrate on her future, then add the clear liquid.
The Sprite activates the food coloring at the bottom of the cup, and like magic, the girl's future is revealed!
Watching the wonder and delight on their faces was my favorite part of the Harry Potter party!
This is the color interpretation chart that Paulette came up with, but you could easily customize it to fit your needs.
This could be adapted for a fun April Fool's day party, a magic party, a fairy party, or anything where you want to add a little bit of fun and surprise.
And here's a video version of the tutorial... in which I learned that the gel food coloring doesn't work as well as the liquid grocery store variety. ;-)