7 Easy Magic Tricks for Kids Who Like to Amaze People

With a few household items, basic instruction, and lots of practice, any kid can master these mind-bending illusions.

by Emily Kelleher
Originally Published: 
purple photo edit of a young girl with a magic wand demonstrating a magic trick for her dad

There are few things kids love more than magic tricks. Whether it’s watching a simple card illusion or an elaborate act of disappearance, believing in magic is one of the great joys of childhood. Arnie Kolodner, a children’s magician based in New York City who now hosts shows on Zoom, says the eagerness that kids bring to magic is part of what makes it, well, magical. “Children are making the magic happen,” says Kolodner. “The magic comes from within them.” But kids are equally eager to learn the secrets behind the magic tricks and to master the art of illusion themselves. These easy magic tricks for kids let them do just that.

As kids work to master simple magic tricks, they also learn patience and dedication, gain confidence and experience speaking in public. And magic tricks don’t have to be splashy and big to get a big reaction out of kids. Andi Gladwin, professional magician, cofounder of Varnishing Inc., and dad to 5-year old Joseph, says that “almost every kid can remember the first magic trick they saw. Here’s what’s interesting: It is almost always a small trick, such as a coin vanishing or something appearing from behind the ear. These small tricks leave a lasting impression, and so a small trick is the perfect way to introduce kids to magic.”

The following magic tricks require only household items and are simple enough for young kids to pick up. Gladwin and Kolodner shared some of their favorites, which they teach to kids as young as 5. In the end, Gladwin says, a great magic trick comes down to plenty of practice, so that the trick goes smoothly and young mesmerists can capture their audiences with poise, confidence, and stage presence.

The Disappearing Coin Trick

This classic trick, as explained by Kolodner, has a surprisingly simple technique. Practice makes it more convincing.

How to do it:

  • Hold a coin in one hand, palm facing the ceiling, between your thumb, index, and middle fingers.
  • You’re going to pretend to pick up the coin with the other hand, but really you’ll just release your thumb so that the coin drops into your palm. The audience’s eyes will follow the hand that they believe the coin to be in.
  • Take the other hand, and motion like you’re picking up the coin, keeping your palm facing your chest.
  • Blow on the hand you’re pretending is holding the coin, and open it to reveal it’s empty.
  • Take the hand that’s secretly holding the coin, wave it behind your other elbow, pull the coin up to your fingers, and act as though you pulled it out of your elbow.

The Levitating Playing Card Trick

Make a card levitate with a surprisingly simple move.

How to do it:

  • Hold a deck of cards so that the front is facing the audience and the back is facing you.
  • With the other hand, make a fist, sticking out your pointer finger, which will act as your hypnosis finger. You can tell the audience this.
  • Move your pointer finger behind the deck of cards, so that it’s perpendicular to the cards, like a finger gun, and with the rest of the fingers hidden behind the deck of cards, release your pinky, as though you’re making horns.
  • Hover your pointer finger over the deck of cards as you use your pinky to push one card up. Do it slowly and incrementally as though it’s taking all your focus to levitate the card.

The Floating Pencil Trick

In this trick, kids will make a pencil levitate and attach to their hand, as though there’s a magnetic field at play.

How to do it:

  • Hold a pencil in your right fist, with your palm facing the ground.
  • Wave your left hand around your right hand, like you’re activating special powers or magnetizing the pencil.
  • Wrap your left hand around your right wrist so that your thumb and fingers meet on top of your wrist.
  • Secretly move your left pointer finger into your right fist, securing the pencil to your hand.
  • Release your fist, wiggling your fingers and showing how the pencil sticks to your hand.
  • Close your fist again, and wave your left hand around it again to undo the special powers.
  • Remove the pointer finger holding the pencil, and open your fist, allowing the pencil to drop.
  • Now pick an audience member to try.

Black Magic Trick

In this two person trick, magicians communicate telepathically to identify which objects audience members are thinking of.

How to do it:

  • Have magician #1 close their eyes.
  • Magician #2 will ask an audience member to point to an object in the room. The goal is to get magician #1 to identify the object.
  • Have magician #1 open their eyes.
  • Magician #2 will then point to various objects around the room, asking magician #1 if it’s the object the audience had selected. Magician #1 will say no to each object.
  • Before magician #2 points to the correct object, they will point to an object that’s the color black. This will signal to magician #1 that the next object they point to is the correct object.

The Magician’s Choice

Convince the audience that you can predict what color crayon they’ll choose simply by changing the rules of the game based on what they say.

How to do it:

  • Place a crayon inside a container that the audience can’t see.
  • Show them a bunch of crayons that includes one of the same color a the one inside the container.
  • Ask audience members to choose a few crayons.
  • If they say colors other than one inside the box, put those crayons to the side. If they name colors that include the one inside the box, remove the other crayons and put them to the side.
  • Change the rules each time so that the crayon that matches the crayon inside the box remains.
  • When that crayon remains, open the container to reveal the matching crayon.

Shrinking Train Tracks Trick

Gladwin likes this trick, in which two equally sized train tracks appear to shrink and grow, because it fools the eyes. Because of the curved edges, one side of the train track is longer than the other. When you place one piece below the other, the short side, in contrast with the other piece’s long side, makes the piece appear smaller.

How to do it:

  • Place two curved train track pieces on a table, one right above the other.
  • Ask a friend which one is the smallest piece.
  • Slowly pick up the top piece and place it beneath the bottom piece. Ask them again which is the smallest piece, and watch as their answer changes.
  • Slowly move one piece on top of the other, demonstrating that they’re the same size.

Flipping George Washington Trick

This simple money trick relies on nothing but logic, but it’s wildly impressive. A few specific folds of a dollar bill flip it upside down in a way that makes it seem like George has been magically redrawn. As Kolodner says, “You can fool yourself doing this.”

How to do it:

  • Hold a dollar bill so that George Washington is facing the audience.
  • Fold it in half from top to bottom.
  • Now fold it in half the other way, from side to side, from your left hand to your right hand .
  • Take the back half and open it up, from right to left.
  • Unfold it from bottom to top, and voila!
  • To reverse the effect, just repeat the same motions, folding top to bottom, left to right, and then opening right to left from the back, and unfolding bottom to top.

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