How to keep magic magical a while longer?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by leighelkins, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Let me start by saying, I love magic. I grew up loving magic, but probably in a way different to most here. I saw magic on the tv and loved it, but it never crossed my mind that I could do what I was seeing (probably because of money) so it never really became a hobby. That is until about 18 months ago.

    My niece was 4 at the time and as any uncle does, I spoiled her rotten, probably a little too much. Just giving gifts or handing her money gradually got less of a reaction (don't worry, she isn't a brat it just wasn't Wow when I gave her money), so again I did as any uncle does and found money behind her ears. It blew her mind! She then tried to get money from her own ear and when she couldn't she asked how I did it. I hesitated, then said, "Magic."

    From that moment my niece has loved magic and always asks me to show her magic, so I bought a deck of cards and learned some basic tricks. Again, mind was blown! I learned some more stuff, same result. The great thing is that as much as she loved seeing the magic, I love learning it and performing it for her, to the point where magic still isn't a hobby for me, it is an obsession. I now have a pretty solid repertoire (yes I use gimmicks and gaffs, it may be "cheating" but if the effect blows her tiny little mind then I'm happy) including a cool ambitious card routine, torn and restored, signed card in bottle, rising card, and some other routines that I made up for her. I rotate the effects and constantly change them up a bit so that she isn't seeing the same thing each week and so far things are going great.

    However, one thing I didn't count on, which I should have after catching her trying to get money from behind her ears so many times, is that eventually she would want to know how things are done. She tries to do magic but of course nothing happens so she gets disheartened and asks how come she can't do magic. I've tried countless lines, "A wizard gave me magic powers.", "You don't get magic powers until you are older.", etc. but after performing the dragonfly rings for her recently she was adamant that she could learn magic because she saw a young character on Dora the Explorer practice and practice and eventually could do the linking rings.

    The problem to me is two-fold. First, she is nearly 6 years old, and as intelligent as she is I'm not sure she would be able to learn tricks either to the level that she would be happy with or the easier ones to learn would bore her. Second, she is not even 6 years old yet, I would love to teach her magic one day, but I would like magic to stay magical a while longer because once I clue her in I'm not going to get to see the look of amazement on her face when she believes she is seeing real life fairy dust and unicorns magic, instead everything will just be a set of moves where if you do A and then B, you get to C.

    Sorry for the rambling but my question is, if you were in my shoes how would you delay her and keep the interest in magic purely as a spectator, at least for the next couple of years?

    Thanks for reading.
    Levent Suberk likes this.
  2. Well first off you could tell her that magic isn't "fun" if she knows the secret. Otherwise there are some pretty simple self working tricks out there kids will love.
    This is a list of simple tricks that forum user Brett Hurley was considering putting in a kids magic set. I figure you can keep showing her content and once in a while you can teach her something from that list. In my opinion there really isn't an age limit so long as they can perform. Believe me, magic will still be magical as long as you save your good tricks. It is easy to fool a magician if you've done something they've never seen before.
    Levent Suberk likes this.
  3. The gift of magic and wonder to a little one is one of most intangable fun gifts one can share. Kudos to you!

    I'm in the same boat. I have a 6 year old daughter who is very into magic and wants to perform--NOW!

    Kids at that age have the drive to do it. but you can't exactly give them Tarbell, sponge bunnies, decks of cards, cup and balls, and expect a good result.

    No. Your goal is to get their foot in the door with easy to do magic to set them up for success and build that magic confidence.

    You need something that is self working.
    I'm BIG into Tenyo Magic, which is basically magic built for laymen to perform for laymen (although there is so much you can do with them).

    Some Tenyo that I know a little one can do are:

    Soft coins
    Zone infinity
    Clean cut
    Crash dice
    Card case or Telepathy box
    Crazy spots

    A GREAT one to perform FOR her would be Magic Butterfly. Just came out this year and it is an absolute knockout! She'll love it!

    Now, if your wallet isn't able to afford some Tenyo, that's ok. I have some cheaper recommendations, and all of these can fit into a pocket and be performed without a table; kids impromptu!:

    Crazy Cube
    Hot Rod
    Die Chamber
    Brass Cubio
    In N Out Boxes
    Coil & Ring
    Zig Zag Pencil
    Sure Shot Dice Box

    Good luck and let us know how it goes; good or bad. We can help you along the way!
  4. That's what I don't want though, for her to be fooled, sitting there wondering how I did the trick, rather than sitting there thinking she has seen real magic.

    Thanks Brett. I have just had a quick look at some Tenyo and it's not the cheapest, although I suppose when you are used to just getting a deck of cards everything is going to seem expensive.

    I'll be sure to check out the effects you have listed.
  5. I would echo Brett. Tenyo is wonderful. I just bought my (6 year old) daughter this last Christmas. you can also just grab an inexpensive magic kit and help her work on a few things from it. It doesn't need to be too elaborate at this age.

    But I have to say, I love how you got into magic! This is similar to my story. I love how people feel when they see magic. Thanks for sharing and welcome to the Theory11 forums!
  6. Thanks for the welcome Justin. I'm not sure there are many things better than seeing her reaction to magic.

    I did pick up a basic set a while ago because it seemed too good an offer to pass on and planned to put it aside until she was ready, then it arrived and it took a journey through the magic portal (bin) to the dump. I looked at the Melissa and Doug set but have been hesitant to order it.

    I like the look of the video you linked to, looks like it can be performed without knowing any magic secrets, is that correct? And if so does that apply across the Tenyo range?
  7. Tenyo doesn't require any prior knowledge. They all can benefit with creative performance and patter. For some, prior knowledge makes some of the Tenyo exponentially better ('Magic Butterfly').

    All the ones I suggested are sturdy for a child to handle. I say this because there are some fragile ones. Most you can easily tell, but my daughter and I acquired one recently that wasn't an obvious ('Ghost Card' to be specific).

    And the one Justin gave to his daughter is 'Crystal Cleaver'. One of the best Tenyo ever made. Absolutely clever and completely examinable.
  8. Oh, forgot to add that the ones that do coin magic require coins. Some Tenyo need the use of a handkerchief, cloth, or napkin.
  9. Another one to add is that Milton Bradley released a series of magic tricks back in the 90's called 'Magic Works'.

    Most of them are renamed Tenyo tricks (some have a different color scheme) and there are 8 original tricks that are worth looking into. As far as ones that kids could do easily; One of my favorites is a prayer vase in the shape of a fish (The Invisible Hook).

    'Coin In The Crypt' is a remade 'Crystal Pyramid' that's well under half the price 'Crystal Pyramid' goes for. Basically, it's a coin going through a clear pyramid/crypt AND a covered box

    My daughter and I each have a copy of 'Ghost Deck'; which is like a spinoff of Invisible Deck.
  10. I have an idea that may help.

    What if you are performing a magic, but you do something 'wrong'. The magic still happens, just not in an expected way.

    For example. My kids love Crash Dice. I trump it up as a massive color changing feat. I 'sneeze' and the die explodes into pieces. Everyone is surprised, I put it away (apologetically) and ask my daughter to show me how magic should be done.
  11. Brett, I'm sure there is a saying about better than average minds and how they think.

    I do this with a few of my card routines, but my favourite is actually something I did this past weekend. I performed a few tricks, then when I was done she asked to use the cards to see if she has her magic powers yet. Rather than cleaning up first I decided to leave a double-backer in the deck.

    She asked her mum to pick a card then place it back in the deck, shuffled the cards, blew on them, asked everyone else to blow on them, then she turned over the top card, it was the double-backer. The reaction from everyone was amazing, but none better than my niece. She immediately spun around and showed me the card, at which point I exclaimed "What have you done to my card?" She tried to explain, then I told her that obviously she is starting to get her magic powers but they need more time and practice until they can be controlled.
  12. Well, first of all, 18 months ago is very recent, so welcome to the club and thank you for sharing! We like to drink the cool-aid every couple weeks, so you're welcome to join us. (They still haven't taught me how we keep surviving the cool-aid. Maybe it's invisible threads, who knows.)

    I've seen so many awesome posts on this thread already but we haven't made an attempt to answer your actual question.
    It will be very difficult to keep her in this mindset, especially since she has already taken the step of asking for explanation. There isn't a definitive answer out there for this question because kids are such a diverse group. It will differ for each child based on variables such as their upbringing, environment, and even something as trivial as their social experiences (other children of similar age). It also has a lot to do with how analytical the child is. It sounds like she is already beginning to develop the analytical portion of her brain, which is where these things stem from. It's also why a lot of children go through the "WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY" phase. They are starting to understand the structure of how things work in the world, and they will start to question many things. This is also why children are more difficult to perform for; they haven't been conditioned by the real world to know what is real and what is "magic", so to speak.

    In my opinion, I think your best option for prolonging the "magic belief" is to keep your explanations that you are already giving her consistent. Don't break and let her in on it. Sometimes, as soon as a child learns the secret behind one, they instantly assume that all tricks are, in a very literal sense, tricks. As soon as you teach her something, my worry is that she will never look at another one of your tricks the same way again. From what you've posted, that is exactly what you don't want.

    There is an extremely interesting article David Kaye wrote for Genii in the March 2015 issue that talks a lot about the difficulty of working for children and why the belief in magic is so easily lost at early ages. Just thought I'd mention it as I think it is slightly relevant to the topic at hand.

    I hope I helped in some way!
    RealityOne likes this.
  13. Exactly! That is what I'm trying to avoid.

    Thanks for your comments db, and I'll be sure to check out the Genii article you mentioned.
    dbmagic likes this.
  14. On the subject of showing them how a trick is done. I went through that. It's a rather delicate situation, but it's completely workable and you can turn it into a life lesson, I think.

    The issue was when she received a magic set and we sat together with the instructions of how to perform them (we both started magic last year, so I'm not the most knowledgable in the realm of magic). Sure enough, she doubted that she had powers.
    From there, I talked to her about being a magician is a secret club. WE know the secrets, but we don't give them away to people who are not magicians.
    And how the REAL power is inside her. That magic power shows when she works hard and practices the things she loves doing. When we work hard in practicing something from the box of magic. We can do anything.

    I think I did the right thing as she's still very much into magic.
    dbmagic likes this.
  15. My daughter loves doing her couple of tricks because she loves to be in on the secret and fool her mom. She sees me doing magic videos for Saturday Night Contests and asks to do her own. So she grabs her Leap Pad and records herself or I'll record her and she gets so excited. She now has a goal to practice enough for her next class show and tell.
    dbmagic and leighelkins like this.
  16. Why?
  17. Simply, because I believe that for now her enjoyment of seeing miracles far outweighs the enjoyment she would get out of learning the truth.

    Don't get me wrong, I think performing magic can be just as beautiful as witnessing it, but I don't want her stuck between two worlds. At the moment she wouldn't have the patience to learn to perform magic, and I don't want to go down that road too early and end up with her losing all interest in magic because she is frustrated.
  18. Totally. That makes sense.

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