In an age of video games, cable TV and the Internet, it’s never been more important to encourage your kids to unplug themselves and experience a real childhood. We look at 8 reasons why many parents are considering introducing their children to the world of magic.
1) Magic improves self esteem
Researchers have concluded that magic tricks should be taught to every school pupil. Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire conducted a study of 60 pupils aged between 10 and 12. The study found that the self discipline to master the tricks, problem solving, and performance skills developed through ‘magic lessons’ were more effective than the existing ‘self-esteem and confidence’ lessons taught in the PSHE curriculum.
2) It’s not a video game
Magic is based in real life (although it simulates fantasy) Children get to master a new skill, just like a computer game, but without the instant rewards a game feeds to them. There is no constant stream of coins to collect, no level-up and head-shots to cheer over. It’s a slow process of development and improvement which becomes so much more rewarding. Magic is just as exciting, with an endless range of new tricks and techniques to master, but your child will develop skills way beyond the ability to press buttons rapidly. Super Mario just can’t compete with that!
3) Magic develops acting skills
Magic is a performance art. OK, it’s practiced in private, but has to be performed to other people. Children learn about presentation, performance, and timing just like an actor. They learn to make eye contact with spectators, how to project their voice, develop a character and understand how people think. Unlike playing computer games, magic encourages children to interact with their friends and family. It naturally leads to your child wanting to put on a ‘magic show’ for their family and friends to show off their new skills. As a parent this can be a real bonding time, as mum or dad takes on the roll of the magicians assistant or the audience.
4) It helps develop lateral thinking
Studying a magic trick and working out how to present it, naturally encourages a child to problem solve and think up new presentations and variations of a trick. As the child becomes more knowledgeable about magic techniques, there tends to be a pull towards developing their own tricks and methods. This is exactly the kind of creative leap, that can really help a child both in their studies and later life. The modern education system is moving away from route learning of facts and information, towards creative thinking. Having your child motivated to explore their creativity is priceless.
5) Improved dexterity
Chances are, most kids already have amazing dexterity in their thumbs, especially if they love to text or play on their xbox to relax. However, that’s nothing compared to what can be developed by manipulating cards or coins in a magic routine. Hand eye coordination, timing, and reflexes are developed as new tricks are mastered. Magic can also be a perfect complement to learning a musical instrument for this very reason.
6) Magic can make a child more socially aware.
Magic encouraged children to look at issues from other people’s perspectives. It could be argued that this could reduce bullying. Your child learns a skill designed to be performed, just as much as the quiet practice required to develop it. A child that can perform a few amazing tricks has a perfect ‘ice-breaker’ and soon gets a reputation as an entertainer. New friendships develop and with magic clubs in most large towns and cities a social community opens up to them.
7) It’s a great hobby to have on a CV or school application
Schools and employers love to see this listed on employment or entrance applications. It’s an instant topic of conversation at an interview and shows an ability to learn, the discipline of practice, social skills and confidence in dealing with the public.
8) It’s a great way to financial independence
Fast forward several years, and your child will be flying the nest and making their way in the ‘grown up world’. Giving your child a skill that can fund their way through college or help support them as they set up on their own, is a true gift to give them. Working magicians can earn a considerable income from just a few days or nights work a month. Having a part time job performing magic, is a great way to get an income without taking away time from their studies. You could be saying goodbye to the prospect of a student loan!
How do I introduce learning magic to my child?
Age 6 onwards is a great time to start a child off learning magic. A great way to do this would be to obtain a ‘magic set’ that’s age appropriate for the child. Don’t just hand it to the child and expect them to work through it. It will end up scattered all around your house. Open it together, choose one item that looks appealing and learn it together. After you have two or three tricks down, announce to the family that you are both putting on a magic show, and allow the child to be the magician and you their assistant. It’s family fun and will really get them hooked. Resist the temptation to half learn all the tricks in the set. Just choose two or three and work on them together. Only move on to the next, once the previous one is ‘presentable’. This way, starting the next trick is an event, and something to work towards with anticipation.
Good luck, it’s so worth it!
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