Besides their obvious use for card games, one of the things that playing cards are most commonly used for is for magic. In recent years I've enjoyed doing some volunteer work that included teaching kids how to perform some simple card tricks and card flourishes. It's been inspiring and rewarding to see their enthusiasm and the impact it's had on their lives.
If you're an adult that already enjoys exploring and performing card magic, you won't need any convincing that doing card magic is a good thing, and you'll be well aware of some of its benefits for yourself. But how about kids? How might it be good for them to learn some basic card tricks?
Here are sixteen reasons to consider introducing the performing art of card magic into the lives of the children around you.
1. Card magic requires minimal equipmentMany hobbies and sports can be very demanding on parents and on the family budget. Perhaps you need to join a special society or sporting club, or you need to drive your kids on a weekly basis to their practice sessions, or you need to purchase expensive clothes or sporting gear. Card magic has virtually none of that. In fact, all that you really need to begin with are a few decks of quality playing cards. You certainly can also get some DVDs and books as well if you wish, and it's worth putting some good resources into your kids' hands. But there is also a lot of good material available for free online. And when you do get a video or book, you'll often get a significant amount of mileage out of your money, because a truly solid resource will keep kids engaged for months and even years.
2. Card magic requires minimal starting skillsCard magic has an easy point of entry, and can be as simple or as difficult as you want it to be. Yes there is real opportunity to progress and develop, and you can learn real skills in manipulation and presentation. But it is also possible for the complete novice to start from ground zero, with no real knowledge, and learn some basic card tricks. With the right teaching materials, even a rank beginner can quickly be having fun with some basic card tricks.
3. Card magic can be enjoyed anywhereThe settings in which some hobbies can be enjoy are extremely limited - take playing the drums in a band, or ten pin bowling, for example. But with card magic you don't have such obstacles. If you have a deck of playing cards ready to go in your pocket, you can pull it out at any moment and in many settings. Many people already enjoy card games as a social activity, and a deck of cards that is already on the table makes for a natural opportunity to do some card tricks. Even if you're on your own, you can practise your routines and moves, learn new skills, or enjoy reading books and watching videos that help you with your card magic.
4. Card magic can be enjoyed life-longI started learning card tricks in my childhood, and some of the ones I learned at that time are ones that I still perform for friends and family today. In some ways magic is like learning a bike - once you have learned a good card trick and performed it multiple times, you'll remember it for life. Decades later, you'll be able to perform that same card trick to entertain your nephews and nieces, and even your grandchildren! The beauty of teaching kids how to do some good card tricks, especially if they start performing them to family and friends, is that these tricks are likely to stay with them for the rest of their lives. Even in years to come, they will be performing some of these same tricks to their children and grandchildren!
5. Card magic gets them away from screensHow much time isn't being wasted today by young people who spend hours every day surfing the web, browsing social media, cruising youtube, or with apps marketed as being "time-wasters"? Many teenagers are constantly on their phones, on the internet, or watching TV. What they need isn't more screen time, but less - just ask any parent! But what is it going to take to pull them away from the addictive qualities of technology? That's where card magic can help. It gets kids doing something completely different, by engaging them with a tactile activity that involves physical cards and manual dexterity. Many parents that I have talked to have been very pleased to see their children develop a new-found interest after discovering card magic, and were super supportive of the fact that it helped their kids spend their time with something much more positive.
6. Card magic gets them interacting with peopleOne consequence of technology is that it is very me-focused. Our iPhones, iPads, and iTunes are often about me, myself, and I. In our digital age, do we still know how to have normal and healthy human relationships with other people? Human interaction is an essential part of life, and showing card tricks forces children and teenagers to get out of their comfort zone by interacting with those around them. It is very important that kids learn this, and performing card magic is one way for this to happen very naturally. You have to pluck up the courage to say "Pick a card, any card", and engage with people. I've seen many previously shy kids really come out of their shell by doing this.
7. Card magic gets them entertaining other peopleThere are right ways and wrong ways to perform magic, and one wrong way is to use it to make yourself look superior or to make others feel stupid. We should remember that the goal of magic is to entertain and astonish others, and to make them feel amazed and excited. So what better way to put a spark in someone's day than with a quick magic trick?! I've often used a quick trick with staff while shopping in a store, to help get them out of the drudgery of work and boredom. It puts a smile on their face, and generates warmth in their heart. With the assistance of a good card trick, even children can learn how to bring joy to others, and become more outward focused.
8. Card magic gets them involved with a rewarding hobbyHow many parents haven't heard their children say "Mum, I'm bored!" It's important for children to have a hobby that interests them, that they can be busy with on their own if necessary, and that they can take pride in. They can do things like collect stamps or key-chains, but that will only take them so far. Some kids enjoy reading, or drawing and painting, or doing crafts, music, or sports, but these aren't for everyone. Learning magic is a great hobby that children can actively progress in, by learning and developing new skills, and performing new tricks. It's a hobby that will be rewarding not just for them, but also promises to reward the people around them.
9. Card magic develops their self-confidenceMany kids today feel inferior to others around them, and struggle with their self-worth. After all, who wants to be the kid or teenager that everyone thinks is stupid, or that everyone laughs at. Doing some simple card tricks for family and friends is a great way for kids to learn to feel comfortable in their own skin, to grow, and to extend themselves. Especially when their magic goes well and is received positively, this can really boost their self-confidence. This will also help them to be more confident in public, to communicate better to others, and even to perform for people.
10. Card magic develops their critical thinking and logicCard magic forces children to think about how illusion differs from reality. What the people you perform for are observing is often quite different from the reality of what is happening. In magic, we call this the difference between the effect and the method. You're simply creating an illusion of something impossible, when of course there is an actual method to accomplish what you are doing. There are important life-lessons children will learn from this, because these are important critical thinking skills that will serve young people well in their adult years. It forces them to think beyond the surface, to analyze, to anticipate, and to acquire problem-solving skills.
11. Card magic develops a memorable personalityHow do you stand out from the crowd? This can be important later on in life, and knowing how to do some simple card magic will help kids accomplish this in a very natural way. Not only will some good card tricks already now help the teenager who is struggling with his self-confidence, but at the same time in the future it will help them connect with people and make a positive impression. I can think of many examples where doing a simple magic trick helped me connect me with people, and it instantly adds that something special that makes you more memorable, and even more personable. It instantly adds an extra dimension to your many relationships with family and friends, and even in the world of business and employment.
12. Card magic develops other important life-skillsBeing able to do some card tricks is more than being an entertainer or the life of the party. Besides building self-confidence, many other important skills are acquired along the way of learning card magic. Examples include the need to memorize, to practice, to persevere, to have self-discipline, to be articulate, and many others. All of these are important qualities for the well-rounded and mature adult, and card magic will help children get a head start in mastering these essential life-skills. And because magic is a performing art, it will give them opportunities to use their imagination and enhance their creativity, and developing their creative side can also serve them well later in life.
13. Card magic is more than the 21 Card TrickEvery child should know how to do at least one decent card trick. Unfortunately, most kids have a repertoire limited to just a single card trick, and it's usually the 21 card trick. Practically everyone already knows this trick already anyway, and it is usually performed very poorly. Our kids deserve better than that. And the art of card magic deserves better than that, because if this is all that children are exposed to, they will think card tricks are inherently dull and boring, and are just about mathematical atrocities and long processes of dealing or counting cards. Our kids might never go on to develop a hobby or a career in magic, but they deserve to learn at least one piece of solid card magic - something other than the old and tired 21 Card Trick!
14. Card magic is a time tested art-formMany hobbies and interests that children dabble with nowadays are passing fads. When the novelty of fidget spinners and yo-yos wears off, the toys themselves collect dust at the bottom of a drawer, and are quickly forgotten. But card magic is a time-tested performing art which has been passed on to us across the centuries. This art-form will be something they can enjoy no matter what their age, and it won't ever grow dull or irrelevant. Card magic is a classic performing art, and a child's personal growth will be enriched by being exposed to an art that has a time-tested and proven history.
15. Card magic is a great way to enjoy custom decksI love my playing cards, and I love just fiddling with them. I'm glad that there are many ways to enjoy them besides just pulling them out and looking at them. Playing card games is certainly one way to enjoy them. But using them for card flourishing and card magic provides just another way to get maximum mileage out of the beautiful cards in my collection. This is also true for kids, because while they can initially get excited about owning a beautiful custom deck of playing cards, being able to use it for card magic gives them extra ways to enjoy it and share it with others.
16. Card magic is enormous funCard magic is genuinely fun, and you can enjoy it for its own sake. There is genuine joy to be had in discovering something new, and it can be exciting to figure out how a card trick or move works. There's also the personal sense of accomplishment that comes along with learning new techniques and moves, as well as the joy that comes along with performing them to entertain other people. For me personally, things like this really tickle my brain. I love learning new magic and performing card tricks for others, or I love watching others perform. Card magic is intrinsically rewarding in itself. And really, do you need another reason beside that?!
Where can you begin? We offer several online video tutorials that were taken from DVDs we produced specifically to teach children card magic. Even adult beginners will enjoy amazing friends and family in no time with tricks like the Ace Assembly #1 and the Quick 96 Card Trick:
● Free Magic Playing Card Tricks For Kids
Also check out these related articles also on our site:
● How To Get Started in Card Magic
● Recommended Resources for Beginners in Card Magic
About the writer: EndersGame is a well-known and respected reviewer of board games and playing cards. He loves card games, card magic, cardistry, and card collecting, and has reviewed several hundred boardgames and hundreds of different decks of playing cards. You can see a complete list of his game reviews here, and his playing card reviews here. He is considered an authority on playing cards and has written extensively about their design, history, and function, and has many contacts within the playing card and board game industries. You can view his previous articles about playing cards here. In his spare time he also volunteers with local youth to teach them the art of cardistry and card magic.