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Home » Toddler

Magic Tricks for the Kids

Submitted by on Sunday, 21 June 20097 Comments

Those of you who read The Dad Jam regularly may have picked up on the fact that I like magic.  Ever since I was little I wanted to perform magic tricks, and was fascinated by magicians.  For one of my birthdays when I was young my parents took me to see David Copperfield, and it was the best birthday ever.

magiccardsI dabble in magic even now (and more recently, mentalism – reading minds, predicting things, etc), and try to perform at any chance I get.  Since having kids, I have tried to learn some tricks that are especially good to show to kids (mentalism doesn’t go over well with kids, in case you were wondering).  I also recently started a social network especially for magicians and mentalists).

What I have learned is that kids like tricks that are visual; where it is obvious what is happening, and where there is a bit of humour involved… the kind of humour that they can easily understand.  (Not like the type of humour that you find here – that nobody understands).

I enjoy performing magic tricks for Smarty Pants, because it gives me a good chance to practice for a non-scrutinizing audience (unlike my wife, who will watch my every move with a magnifying glass and ask me 20 questions throughout a single trick).  Smarty Pants gets a real kick out of the tricks, and wants me to show him again and again and again and again.  I love to see his eyes light up and a smile come to his face when I show him something.

One thing that I usually show him, that is easy enough to do, that even a monkey could learn, is making an object disappear and then reappear somewhere, like behind their ears, or out of their tummy.

The easiest way to do this is to take a small object in one hand, and pretend to place it in your other hand (this is called a “false transfer”).   The key is to keep your attention on the hand that you are pretending to put the object in.  Your child’s attention will follow your attention and focus on that hand, thinking that the object is in there.

Now ask your child to blow on the hand where the object is supposed to be (but it is still in the original hand that you had it).  Slowly open the empty hand, and your child will be amazed that the object isn’t there.  Now, move your hand that is holding the object behind your child’s ear, and open your hand as you move it out from behind the ear, showing your child that the object is in that hand.

A variation that I sometimes do is to false transfer the object from my right hand to left hand.  Then, I take my left hand to my mouth and pretend to swallow the object.  The object is still in my right hand of course.  Then I put my right hand to my belly and pretend to pull the object out of my belly.

Some of you may think this variation is gross or will give your child nightmares or false impressions of what happens when you swallow something.  To that I say, hmmm, maybe… it probably depends on your kid.  You can try it, and if your child bolts from the room screaming, you might not want to try it for him/her again.  Just explain that you really didn’t swallow it an pull it out of your tummy, and show him/her how you did it.  When I do it for Smarty Pants, his reaction is laughter and a shout of, “Again, again!”

If you are interested in magic and learning some easy, visual, magic tricks that are great for kids, I suggest learning some sponge ball magic as a good place to start.  The simple tricks that I explained above can easily be done using a sponge ball as the object that you are vanishing or swallowing.  If you are really interested in learning almost everything there is to know about Sponge Ball magic, there is a really good DVD, called “Sponge” by Jay Noblezada, that comes with 4 sponge balls, and really teaches all the types of moves you can do with sponge balls, and a few sponge ball routines (that is not an affiliate link or paid advertising, by the way).

If you would like to join an online magic community, where you can meet and interact with other magicians, feel free to join my new magic social network.  It’s totally free to join.  (That is also not paid advertising – I didn’t pay myself to advertise my own other site here).  Hope you enjoy the magic!

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Photo courtesy of Nathan E. Photography

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7 Comments »

  • Danny G. says:

    I have a trick that I used to do at a childrens hospital which works well with the 4 or under crowd. Simply take a nerf ball or other small object and put it in your fist. Then hit your fist into your other hand three times with large swinging motions over your head. After the second hit in your hand when you are at the top of your arc with the swing, release the object and send it flying behind you (that’s why it needs to be soft).

    If the kid doesn’t see it flying behind you they will be amazed that the object disappeared. If they do see it flying behind you they will feel smart that they figured out the trick. Either way you can’t lose.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Thanks Danny, that is a good one. A magician at a birthday party fooled me with that one when I was a kid. We were in the birthday boy’s backyard and he did it with an acorn from the ground. Good idea with the nerf ball so that it doesn’t knock anyone out!

  • Keith Wilcox says:

    wow! You’re multi-talented :-) I had a fleeting interest in magic a few years ago but when I tried to master “the palm” I just gave up. I do know one card trick which the boys seem to get a kick out of. I would love to be able to do coin tricks though. To me those are awesome because I would be able to do them anywhere and they’re always impressive to a little kid. the sponge balls are a good suggestion. Seem easy to handle and learn with. What a cool hobby to have.
    Keith Wilcox´s last blog ..How Daddy Bloggers SUCK at Social Media My ComLuv Profile

  • Head Jammer says:

    thanks Keith! It is a fun hobby indeed, just wish I had more time to practice! Kids are great for practicing on though! To learn coin magic, look out for Bobo’s Coin Magic book… it is the bible of coin magic!

  • Magicmummy says:

    A great trick my parents used to play on us kids when we were younger was the mind reading game. Place 3 or 4 objects on a table (anything will do). One adult goes out of the room and the child is asked to pick up or touch an object. Adult comes back into the room and tries to read the childs mind to work out which object it was. The trick is that another one of the adults would tip off the ‘mind reader’ by a sniff or a cough (on the quiet of course) when they chose the right object. We were so focused on the adult who has gone put of the room reading our minds we never thought to pay attention to the frantic coughing or sniffing going on! :D

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Magicmummy, thanks for your comment and idea… that is a good one!

  • Hs says:

    I think Magic tricks can help your children to get that confidence that they have different talents from others. While other children perform dance, song etc, your child can perform magic tricks to make the crowd amazed with such a unique talent.

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