13 easy magic tricks for kids
Magic tricks for kids can be a ton of fun and are a great way for parents and nannies to keep the family entertained. After all, who doesn't love a bit of magic and delight?
"When I perform for kids, I try to help them feel like adults, and when I perform for adults, I try to make them feel like kids," says New York City magician Gary "Gary The Great" Ferrar.
Magic tricks are fun, sure, but there's even more to it: Magic is good for kids, asserts Nicholas "Magical Nick" Pugh, a Pennsylvania-based magician. "Learning magic tricks at a young age builds confidence and helps with social building skills, especially if the child tends to be a little shy," he says.
Here are 13 easy magic tricks to teach kids to get your budding magician started.
1. Rubber Pencil (Ages 5 and up)
This is a classic magic trick that even the youngest magicians can perform. By holding a regular pencil down by the eraser and shaking it at just the right speed, it appears to become made of bendable rubber instead of wood. This one doesn't take any special skill, just a lot of practice to get the speed and technique just right. See the video for step-by-step instructions.
2. Spoon Bending (Ages 5 and up)
The trick is all in the way you hold the spoon. You press down on the spoon while sliding your hand along the handle, which gives the illusion of the utensil bending. It takes some practice, but this is one of the easier magic tricks for kids to master. Watch the video below to see exactly how it’s done.
3. Disappearing Coin (Ages 5 and up)
A basic disappearing coin trick is a great starter to help your child develop the fine motor skills, discipline and confidence needed to perform magic. The trick is to perfect the sleight of hand so that when the coin is left in the magician's hand, the audience doesn't notice. Check out the video below for more on this trick.
4. Betcha Can't Crack an Egg (Ages 7 and up)
In this trick, your child will tell his friend that he is going to squeeze an egg in his hands as hard as he possibly can without breaking it. What your child will know is that an egg is something of a miracle of nature and is actually pretty tough when squeezed with the hand. Its shape allows it to withstand a great deal of pressure when it’s evenly applied. Your child can squeeze the egg in the palm of one hand or in between both hands, as shown in the video below.
5. Magnetic Pencil (Ages 7 and up)
Your child can fool his friends easily with this old-school magic trick. The only things required for this illusion are a pencil (a pen will do as well) and your child’s hands. Having something on the wrist which holds the pencil, such as a watch or a bracelet, can help as a distraction, but is not required. Watch the video below for an example of how to perform this fun illusion.
6. Pluck A Coin From Thin Air (Ages 7 and up)
This trick requires a bit of set up and practice, but it will totally wow your child’s audience once they have mastered it. Using some basic tape, a twig or piece of safety pin and some books for misdirection, your child will amaze his audience as he makes a coin appear out of thin air! Get the full breakdown of this trick in the video below.
7. Walk Through Paper (Ages 7 and up)
With this trick, the magician asks her audience if they think she can cut a hole in a standard piece of paper that is big enough for her to walk through. When they say no, she proves them wrong! How is that possible? Why magic, of course. Well, magic and enough cuts to turn the piece of paper into something with a very large opening. Watch the video example below and then download a printable template for your little magician to cut out herself.
8. Cup Through The Table (Ages 7 and up)
Your child can amaze her friends and family with this impressive illusion. All she needs is a cup, a piece of paper big enough to cover the cup, a small object (a ball or coin will work) and a table. With practice, she’ll be able to fool her audience into thinking she pushed the cup straight through a solid table! See below for step-by-step instructions.
9. Levitating Card (Ages 7 and up)
This is an impressive, yet easy card trick for beginners. It involves creating a special “trick” card using plastic and super glue. Your child will be able to make the card look like it has levitated off her palm into the air. Because a live audience will want to touch the card, this is a trick that is best performed over Skype for cousins or grandparents, but with practice and confidence, your child can even fool a live audience. View the video tutorial below.
10. Make an Egg Fit Through an Impossibly Small Hole (Ages 10 and up)
This activity is actually a science experiment from Science Sparks, but it looks like magic! It requires a cooled, peeled hard-boiled egg, a glass bottle with a hole a bit smaller than the egg, a piece of paper and matches or a lighter. Make sure an adult is there to assist in lighting the paper. Get the full instructions in the video below.
11. Make Yourself Levitate (Ages 10 and up)
With some practice, your child will be able to trick his friends into thinking that he is actually floating in air! This requires some careful body positioning and a good amount of trial and error to get it just right, so it’s probably best for older kids who won’t get frustrated as quickly. See the video for details and 5 different ways to do this trick.
12. The Magnetic Hand (Ages 10 and up)
With this trick, your child will fool her audience into thinking that a regular group of playing cards are magically sticking to her hand. She’ll need to make her own “trick” card for this one, but it’s easily done with some scissors and glue. The video below takes you through this illusion step-by-step.
13. Instantly Turn Water Into Ice (Ages 10 and up)
This awesome water trick is part magic, part science experiment. All you need is a bottle of water (purified water seems to work best), a freezer and something cold to pour the water onto (a flat ice pack is ideal). After your bottle of water is left in the freezer for two hours, take it out and watch the magic happen! Once you have it working, try experimenting with food coloring in your water to make it even more visually exciting. You can see exactly how this works in the video below.