Turn an ordinary afternoon into a spellbinding show with these clever sleights of hand, conjured up by Ben Nemzer of Monday Night Magic, in New York City, and Frank Thurston of the Magic Castle, in Hollywood.
The Big Reveal Your child picks a crayon from a box. You guess the color with mind-reading powers!
Trickiness Level: 1 out of 3
Props: A small box of crayons.
Secret Steps 1. Stand with your back to your child. Put your hands behind your back and ask her to pick a crayon out of the box and place it into your hands.
2. Once you can feel it in your fingers, turn to face your child with your hands concealed behind you. While you’re talking about the magic, scrape the crayon with your right thumbnail so some wax gets stuck between your finger and the nail.
3. Keeping the crayon behind your back in your left hand, transfer your child’s thoughts to your own with your right hand. Wave your fingers in front of her face, repeating, “I’m reading your thoughts” and “I’m moving them into my mind.”
4. As you’re waving your hand in front of your eyes, sneak a glimpse of the color under your thumbnail.
5. Reveal the answer, adding a few dramatic abracadabras for effect.
2 of 3Levi Brown
The Card Hotel
The Big Reveal In a jumble of cards, the kings, queens, jacks, and aces defy the odds to find one another!
Trickiness Level: 2 out of 3
Props: A deck of cards.
Secret Steps 1. Remove all the face cards and aces from the deck—they’re the only cards you need.
2. Place the kings in a row and say, “All the kings decided to check into a hotel. And since they’re nice kings, they decided to bring their wives, the queens.” Now place the queens on top of the kings, matching the suits.
3. Then say, “The queens were such devoted mothers, they didn’t want to leave their sons at home.” Place the jacks on top of the queens, matching the suits.
4. Now say, “Before they all went to bed, they decided to lock their doors.” Place the aces on top of the jacks, matching the suits.
5. Here’s where the story gets interesting. Say, “But in the middle of the night, they all got mixed up.” Put all the stacks of cards together, one on top of the other. Turn the deck facedown and ask your child to cut it three times, being sure to put the deck back together after each cut.
6. When she’s done, say, “But somehow, come morning, everyone was back where he or she belonged.” Starting from the top of the pile, lay the cards out in four stacks facedown, putting one card in each stack until you’re out of cards. Turn the piles over: All the kings will be together, and so will all the queens, jacks, and aces!
3 of 3Levi Brown
The Linking Paper Clips
The Big Reveal Two plain old paper clips spring into the air and mystifyingly link themselves together!
Trickiness Level: 3 out of 3
Props: A dollar bill and two paper clips.
Secret Steps 1. Take the dollar bill and accordion-fold it into thirds so it’s shaped like an S.
2. Attach one of the paper clips to the front of the bill from the top, with the shorter side of the clip facing you. The clip should go over the outer layer of the folded bill as well as the middle layer, and it should be clipped near the edge of the bill, not the fold.
3. Attach the other paper clip to the back of the bill from the top, with the shorter side facing away from you. Again, the clip should go over the outer layer of the folded bill as well as the middle layer.
4. Take one end of the bill in each hand and give it a quick snap. The clips will fly into the air, and when you pick them up, they’ll be attached. How? Magic, of course.