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Dear Leodini,cards Pictures, Images and Photos

I have been hired by a mommy to perform at the 7th birthday party of her son next week.  I don’t know a single children’s magic trick.  But I’m good at Elmsley Count and Double Lift, because I love to perform card tricks.

Is it all right to perform card tricks for children?


Card Magician

Hi Card Magician,

If the  kids can read and recognize cards (their suits and numbers), then I believe you can perform card tricks for them. Just don’t give them an overdose of pick-a-card tricks (three in a row are already an overdose), and you’ll do fine.

It is a good idea to have the children sign the chosen card, or draw pictures on it, so that even the youngest of the kids can recognize it when you have located it.

Additionally, you will also do well performing card tricks that don’t require children to memorize the name and suit of a card.

Here are some suggestions:

Six Card Repeat –use a math theme, instead of the usual “I saw a magician perform this trick…” patter.

Cards Across– Trevor Lewis has an excellent version of this chestnut. His routine has a lot of counting, a conventional no-no for card tricks, but he pulls it off very nicely, using two children volunteers.

Diminishing Cards– I use Al Baker’s mechanical Diminishing Card set. It’s very funny, not only for the children but also for the adults. Easy to do, too. If you can do card fans, card productions, cards from mouth and other flourishes, a short interlude of card manipulation leading to the Diminishing Cards will be a nice embellishment to the trick.

David Ginn’s “The Shooting Card Trick” which is inspired by Karell Fox’s “Bull’s-eye Card Trick”. Hank Lee and Terry Seabroke have each a version of it called “The Sharpshooter Trick” and “Bullet Through Card”, respectively. Some magicians may frown on this trick, because it involves the use of a cap gun (or toy gun), but since big name magicians have been using this trick successfully without an untoward incident, then it’s safe to say it’s not a trick that will influence children to run amok after watching it. Whatever name it’s called, the plot is the same: a card is chosen, shuffled back into the deck, and found by shooting at the deck. The only card that has a “bullet hole” is the chosen card. The trick has a lot of comedic possibilities; you role is to exploit them.

As I said earlier, don’t give children (or even adults) an overdose of card tricks. In my book, an overdose is three or more card tricks in a row.  Or in a birthday party, more than three card tricks in the entire program.

So if you don’t have materials other than card tricks, give the party to someone who has a more well-rounded repertoire suitable for young audiences.

You’ll do yourself and magic a favor if you do that. The way I look at it, you are not ready yet to perform a birthday party magic show.

Stay magical,