Magic Tricks for the Kids
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.
I 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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