Teaching Magic to Children

I recorded this video a couple years ago at the end of a busy week teaching magic at circus camp. In 13 minutes I share more than a decade worth of experience teaching magic tricks to young magicians in the making.

The Calculator Cards printable template is available from my shop.

Good things to do:

  1. Give kids an "easy win" and a feeling of success early in the class.
  2. Choose venue-appropriate curriculum, suited to your class size, and your ability to give personal instruction.
  3. Teach them a trick that will amaze their parents. That is empowering!
  4. Emphasise the difference between knowing HOW a trick is done, and knowing how to PRESENT it to an audience.

Things to avoid:

  1. Tricks requiring sleight-of-hand. Even if they learn the moves, the concept of misdirection, or making it appear magical, is beyond easy grasp.
  2. Using magic store props that they can't take home is a waste of time. Why learn something they won't be able to perform outside of class?
  3. When teaching basic magic there is no need to expose the techniques of magic. You don't want to take away their enjoyment of watching a magic show.

ANOTHER LESSON LEARNED: Watch out what you take for granted. Things are familiar to you because you have been on this earth a lot longer, and you're immersed in the strange world of magic.

One year I tried teaching the "Acrobatic Paper Clips" trick, and I was surprised to discover the youngest group did not know how paperclips work. They simply didn't know how to slide it onto paper, which end to use. In the moment I was able to pause the class and give a quick tutorial on paperclips, but it sure reinforced the idea of "assume nothing!"

Finally, I'll leave you with one thought from music educator Victor Wooten:

A child playing the air guitar, pretending to be rock star, will have a huge smile on their face! If you give them a real guitar and try to teach them chords, the smile goes away.

Don't let the technique take away the fun.

Published: November 20, 2020

Channel: Blog

Access: Public


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