Fun and Easy Magic Tricks to Teach Your Kids
Adults and children alike can be astounded and amazed by magic tricks, or really, the art of illusion and misdirection. And many a child has been so mesmerized by the art of magic that they’ve embarked on a path to learn and perform the very illusions that so stymied them. As a parent you are probably happy to support your kids in all of their endeavors, and whether you have dabbled in this type of trickery yourself or you’re as new to the game as your progeny, you may be looking for a few fun and easy tricks to teach your kids. So here are a couple of simple ones to start out with.
Most tricks involve props of some sort, but before you make a beeline for a deck of cards, consider some of the incredible feats you can pull off with nothing more than the change in your pocket. Coin tricks can be hard for young hands to manage since most require advanced motor skills and dexterity, but you can definitely do some cool tricks with a dollar bill. For example, you can hold a dollar bill face-forward (presenting the president to your audience). Fold it in half by bending the top of the bill forward and down. Then fold it in half again by taking the right corner forward and to the left. Next, you will unfold the bill by taking the left corner back (towards you) and to the right, and then taking the bottom flap forward (towards the audience) and up. When you’re finished, George Washington will have flipped upside down.
This simple trick is easy enough for even small children to memorize and it will take viewers a minute to figure out that you didn’t unfold it the same way you folded it. Like any type of illusion, you can further confuse the audience by adding some panache to the performance (some witty banter or flashy hand movements) to draw their attention away from the trick. In truth, misdirection is half of any good trick since it keeps the audience from paying too much attention and catching the mechanics of your “magic” illusion.
If your child is a bit older and ready for something more complex, try sawing an assistant in half. Whoa, what? Okay, you don’t actually need a saw or even an assistant to recreate this trick. All you need is a piece of paper, scissors, and a sealed envelope. Start by cutting the ends off the envelope and cutting a strip of paper (like bookmark size) that will fit in the envelope (which is now a tube). Draw a picture of your lovely assistant on the paper so that her feet and head stick out when you insert the paper into the envelope. Now, cut a slit parallel to each end of the envelope on the underside (two slits total), leaving the topside undamaged.
When you do the trick, you will insert the paper doll into one open end of the envelope, but then weave her through the slits on the underside so that her whole middle section is on the outside of the envelope (underneath where the audience can’t see). Then “saw” her in half by using scissors to cut through the envelope (but not the doll – make sure the bottom scissor blade goes between the doll and the envelope). Next you’ll remove the whole assistant from the cut box with a flourish.
You don’t have to be a professional magician in order to teach your kids a few clever tricks. But you will probably want to watch some instructional videos online and master them yourself before you try to train your kids. After all, they won’t be very impressed with any illusion you fumble. And since you’re trying to support their dreams of becoming the next David Copperfield it pays to put some effort into the process.
Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for Noel Qualter – Anchor Magician Kent, a popular table magician based in the UK.