There is something wondrous about magic tricks. Even when we are old enough to know they are all about sleight of hand, misdirection, and preparation, we can still be amazed by a skilled magician.
If your child wants to try magic, easy card tricks for kids are an excellent place to start, but it is not all about the trick itself (1).
Teach your child that part of the skill is in talking to the audience and misdirecting their attention, and that the rest is down to practice, practice, and more practice (2).
Easy Card Tricks for Kids (Step by Step)
These simple tricks are a great place to start for your budding magician. Make sure they understand not to get discouraged right away — with practice, they’ll get better.
Before you go in front of your audience, count out 25 cards. Put these cards at the top of your pile and keep them slightly twisted, so you know where the middle is.
- Cut the cards at the split so there are 25 cards in each pile.
- Place the top cards face down on the table and ask your helper to choose a card from the cards left in your hand.
- Have them show the card to the rest of the audience and memorize the card.
- Tell your helper to put their card back onto the pile in your hand.
- Pick up the pile from the table and place it on top of the pile in your hand.
- Now, slowly turn over the cards one by one, counting in your head as you go.
- Card number 26 will be your helper’s card. When you turn it over, reveal that your magic senses tell you this is their card.
For this, you will need two decks of cards, prepared ahead of time. There are many variations of how to do this trick, including putting a bend in special “jumping” cards.
- Take the ten of diamonds and the five of spades from both decks of cards.
- Put one deck to the side, you won’t need it for the rest of the trick.
- Place one ten of diamonds and one five of spades at the top of the remaining deck and one ten of diamonds and one five of spades at the bottom.
- Now, go in front of your audience and say you can make cards jump.
- Turn over the top two cards and show them to your audience. Put them back on the top of your deck and tap the deck with your magic wand or wave your hand above the deck.
- Tell your audience you have made the cards jump to the bottom of the deck.
- Turn the deck over and reveal your two cards.
Before your trick, separate the cards into suits. Put the diamonds and spades in one pile and the hearts and clubs in another. Put the two piles together, but keep the top pile slightly twisted, so you know where one pile ends and another starts.
- Ask for a helper from the audience.
- Split the cards at the point you have kept track of by keeping the top pile slightly twisted.
- Put the piles next to each other on the tabletop.
- Ask your helper to choose a pile.
- Let them shuffle their chosen pile until they are happy.
- Have them cut the pack and choose a card.
- While they are choosing their card, pick up the other pile of cards.
- Hold this pile toward your helper and ask them to put the card anywhere in the pile.
- Let them shuffle the cards and hand them back to you.
- Fan the cards out with their faces toward you.
- The odd card out from the pairs of suits will be their card.
Red And Black
Before you do this trick, separate the cards, putting all the black cards at the top of the deck and all the red cards at the bottom.
- Fan the cards out, face down, and ask your audience member to pick a card. Mentally note whether it came from the red or the black area of the deck.
- Tell them to look at their card, remember it, and place it back in the pile.
- Before they put the card back, fan the cards again so that the audience member puts the card back in the opposite end of the pack from where they drew the card.
- Fan out the cards with the faces toward you and the audience member’s card will be the one in the wrong color.
Queen And Aces
- Take the queen of hearts and the two black aces from a pack.
- Lay them out, face-up, on the table in this order: Ace of spades, queen of hearts, ace of clubs.
- Turn your back and ask your audience member to choose one of the cards, but don’t touch it.
- Ask your audience member to swap the position of the two other cards with each other.
- Tell your audience member to turn each card face down.
- Now turn back around and ask your audience member to move the cards around, face down on the table. It is important that you keep track of which card was in the middle when you turned around.
- Have the audience member line the cards up again.
- Now turn over the card you were following.
- If the card is the queen of hearts, the card the audience member chose was the queen of hearts. If the card you turn over is the ace of clubs, the card they chose was the ace of spades. If the card you turn over is the ace of spades, the card they chose was the ace of clubs.
No preparation is needed for this trick, but you do need to be able to spell out the name of the cards.
- Take your deck and shuffle them. You can ask the helper if they want to shuffle.
- Count out three piles of three cards.
- Discard the other cards.
- Now ask your helper to choose one of the piles.
- Whichever pile they choose, have them flip the pile over so the cards are face up.
- Tell your helper this is the MAGIC card.
- Turn the pile back over and put all three small piles on top of each other. The pile with the MAGIC card must go on the top.
- Then you spell out the name of the card, but you have to do it a particular way.
- For example, let’s say the MAGIC card is the two of diamonds.
- From the top of your pile of nine cards, you spell T.W.O. out loud.
- As you do so, you drop a card for each letter.
- Once you spell the first word, drop the remaining cards on top of the pile you have just spelled out.
- Then spell out O.F.
- Drop the cards on top of these cards.
- Finally, spell D.I.A.M.O.N.D.S and drop the cards on top.
- Now you spell out the word M.A.G.I.C., dropping a card onto the table for each letter.
- Flip over the card that is C and it will be your MAGIC card, in this case the two of diamonds.
It doesn’t matter what card is the MAGIC card, it always works.
The Whispering Queen
We need no card preparation for this trick, but you do have to remember the lines in bold.
- Shuffle a deck of cards, or have an audience member shuffle them.
- Ask the audience member which queen should help you in the trick. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll assume they say the queen of clubs.
- Fan out the cards, with their faces toward you. Remove the queen of clubs, or whichever queen they chose, and place it to one side.
- While you are looking for the queen, make a mental note of which card is at the bottom of the deck while it is face-up toward you.
- Hold the queen in one hand and place the cards, face down, on the table. The card you looked at is now at the top.
- Put the queen face down and put something on top of the card. Tell your audience member you are doing this so the queen can’t see what you are doing and cheat.
- Now ask the audience member to cut the deck of cards, roughly a third of the way down, and place the pile in their hand to the right of the deck.
- Now have them cut the main deck again and place the pile in their hand to the right of the first cut pile.
- Now tell your audience member to point to a pile. It’s important you tell them to point to a pile and not choose or pick one.
- The next step depends on which pile the audience member points at.
- If the audience member points to the middle pile, that is their chosen pile. Set aside the other two piles.
- If they point to one of the other piles say, “We’ll eliminate that pile,” and set that pile aside. Then have them put one index finger on each pile and tell them to lift one of their fingers up. If they lift their finger from the pile that was in the middle say “So you chose this one” and set aside the pile they have their finger on.
- But if they keep their finger on the pile that was in the middle say, “So you choose this one,” and set aside the other pile.
- Now you are left with one pile. Tell your audience member you are going to turn around. While your back is turned, instruct them to look at the top card of the pile they have chosen, remember it, and put it back.
- Reassemble the deck, in any order, and shuffle them. You can also invite the audience member to shuffle the cards.
- Now have the audience member cut the deck roughly in half and lay the two piles next to each other.
- Pick up the queen and wave her slowly across the two piles of cards.
- Lift her up and pretend she is whispering in your ear.
- Slowly reveal what she is telling you about the card your audience member chose. This will always be the card you saw in step four.
Moving Cards With Your Mind
This trick does not always work as it depends on probability, but if it doesn’t work exactly, there are ways to fix it.
- Give the pack of cards to an audience member and ask them to shuffle the deck as much as they like.
- Then get the audience member to name two types of cards, like tens and eights.
- Do not have them name the suit as this will not work.
- If they do name a specific card, for example, the ten of clubs and the eight of hearts, just say “I’m a new magician and not that good yet. Let’s stick with tens and eights.”
- Put your hand on the top of the deck and pretend to concentrate hard.
- Tell the audience you are making a ten and an eight sit together in the deck.
- Count to about twenty in your head. This gives the illusion you are using the power of your mind to move the cards in the deck.
- Ask the audience member to pick up the deck, turn it over, and spread out the cards in a rough line.
- Somewhere in the line, there should be two of the cards your audience member named, next to each other.
- Point these out to the audience and say, “Look, I pushed these two together for you.”
- If there is not a pair of the correct cards next to each other in the deck, you explain by saying “Oh, I almost pushed them together, I just didn’t concentrate for long enough.”
Guess The Bottom Card
- Show the cards to your audience so they can see it is a normal deck.
- Shuffle the cards or give them to an audience member to shuffle.
- Take the deck and glance at the bottom card before you hold the entire deck face down in your left hand.
- Using your left hand, start to move the cards at the top of the deck toward you, and ask your audience member to say stop whenever they like.
Now comes the tricky bit. You will have to practice this to make it go smoothly.
- When they say stop, slide the top cards off of the deck and slide the bottom card off at the same time. You should now have a small pile in your right hand, with the bottom card you remember, at the bottom of this new, small pile.
- Place this small pile at the bottom of the main deck. Your card should still be at the bottom. Do this a few times so the audience believes the cards are well mixed.
- Close your eyes, for dramatic effect, and slide the card from the bottom of the deck. Hold it so it faces the audience.
- Ask your audience “Is this the…….?” and name the card.
All The Eights
This trick needs a little preparation:
- Take all four eights from the deck.
- Hold the deck face down.
- Put one eight on the top of the deck.
- Now, counting down from the top of the deck, with the first eight as card one, put the second eight in position ten.
- Next, flip the deck over, count seven cards down, and put the last two eights in positions eight and nine.
Now you’re ready to do the trick.
- Hold the deck face down.
- Begin to fan the cards out, from one hand to the other. But, in your head, count ten cards so you know where the eight is.
- Pick out this card and place it face down on the table. Tell your audience this is the “prediction card.”
- Now move the cards from one hand to the other, from the bottom, count the cards in your head as you go.
- When you get past numbers eight and nine ask an audience member to tell you when to stop.
- Split the cards at this point into two decks. One deck will have the eights near the bottom, and one deck will have an eight at the top.
- Put the deck from the bottom on your right and the deck from the top on your left.
- Flip the top card of the deck on your left and lay it, face-up, next to your “prediction card.” If you have counted correctly, this should be an eight.
- Tell the audience this means the deck is telling you to take eight cards from the pile on the right.
- Keeping the cards face down, pick up the pile on the right, and count out a new pile of eight cards from the bottom of the deck.
- Turn over the top two cards — they should be eights, and then reveal your “Prediction card” which is the first eight.
I Know Your Card
Again, this trick has many variations to it, meaning you can do it several ways.
- Ask an audience member to shuffle your deck and place them, face down, on the table.
- Have them cut the deck at any point, and place one pile next to the other.
- Pick up the pile that was the top half of the deck. How you pick up the pile is important. Pick it up with your thumb on the inner edge of the pile and your fingers on the other edge.
- Ask the audience member to pick up the top card of the pile on the table, but not to let you see it. If there are other people, have the audience member show everyone, except you, the card.
- Now use the hand you are holding the pile in and point at the pile on the table, telling the audience member to put their card back on the pile. As you point to the pile, tilt your hand far enough that you can see which card is on the bottom of the pile in your hand. Don’t let the audience see you look.
- This card on the bottom of the pile in your hand is now your “Pointer Card.”
- Put the pile in your hand on top of the pile on the table. Your “Pointer Card” is now on top of the audience member’s card.
- To make it look like you are mixing up the cards, cut the deck, but be sure the cut you make is not too close to the audience member’s card.
- Tell the audience you are going to find the audience member’s card.
- Begin dealing the cards from the top of the deck. Turn over each card so it is face up and deal the turned cards into a tidy pile.
- To make things more dramatic, every now and then pause and say something like, “I think this might be your card. Oh no, wait a minute, it’s not that one.”
- When you turn over your “Pointer Card,” the next card you turn over will be the audience member’s card.
- Amaze them by saying “Oh, at last, THIS one is your card.”
I Know Your Card 2
Once you have perfected “I Know Your Card” you can move onto the next trick.
- Do the “I Know Your Card” trick, up to step 11.
- Instead of pointing out the audience member’s card, go three or four cards past it. But, make sure you can still see the card.
- Now pick up the top, face-down card from the pile in your hand. Be sure not to turn it over.
- Ask your audience member, “Will the next card I turn over be your card?” They will say no because their card is already in the discarded pile.
- Now, put the single card in your hand back on top of the face-down pile in your other hand.
- Reach into the discard pile and pick up the audience member’s card. Turn the card over on the table. The next card you turned over was their card.
The Fourth Card
No set-up is required for this trick.
- Shuffle and pass the deck to an audience member. Let them shuffle and cut the deck as much as they like.
- When the audience member indicates the cards are well mixed, flip the deck over, and fan them out. Do this quickly and smoothly so it looks as if you are just showing the cards. However, what you are really doing is looking at the fourth card from the top, the “Target Card.”
- Place the deck, face down, on the table.
- Ask the audience member to cut the cards anywhere they like. Tell them to place the pile in their hand down on the table next to the other pile.
- Remember which pile was the top of the deck. We will call this the “Top Pile.”
- Now pick up the bottom pile and tell the audience, “The fourth card in this pile is going to tell me what the fourth card in the other pile is.”
- Count down to the fourth card and look at it. Do not let the audience see this card, but they can see you looking at it.
- Say “This card tells me the fourth card in this pile is” and point to the “Top Pile” with a dramatic pause.
- Say the name of the “Target Card” you saw at the beginning of the trick.
- Now count down four cards, flip over the fourth card, and it will be your “Target Card.”
No Preparation is needed for this trick.
- Shuffle the cards, and if you like, get the audience to shuffle.
- Hold the deck face down in your hand and fan out the cards.
- Ask an audience member to take a card from anywhere in the pack and let them look at it. But tell them not to let you see the card.
- While the audience member is looking at their card, hold the top face-down card from the deck in your hand, flip the rest of the cards in your hand so they are face-up, and put the face-down card back on top of the pile. Now you should be holding a pile of cards that are all face-up, except for the top card. It will take some practice to do this smoothly.
- Ask your audience member to slide their card face down so you cannot see it, back into the deck in your hand.
- Next, swap the deck of cards from one hand to the other, flipping them over as you go. Now the cards will be face down in your hand.
- Cut the cards into two decks, but be careful to keep the cut far away from where your audience member inserted their card.
- Pick up the top card from the cut deck and flip it over, as if you were telling the audience member this was their card.
- Pretend to be disappointed you got the wrong card.
- Now, turn over the deck of cards and fan them out. One card will be face down. Act surprised.
- Ask your audience member to take the card and look at it. It will be the card they chose.
Mind Reader #2
No preparation is needed.
- Shuffle the cards and fan them out face-up to show your audience it is a regular pack of cards.
- Take this opportunity to see which card is on the top. Remember this card.
- Place the deck of cards, face down on the table.
- Ask an audience member to cut the cards.
- Then have them turn the cards over and put them, face-up, at the top of the deck.
- Now ask them to cut the cards, turn them over, and put them at the top of the deck again.
- Place your hand over the cards and slowly slide them to one side, getting rid of the upturned cards.
- Pick up the card at the top of the pile and show it to your audience.
- Tell them you are going to read their minds and that the card is…
- The card will be the same one that you saw at the top of the pile in step 2.
Beware The Skilled Child Magician
We hope you and your child enjoyed learning these easy card tricks. Magic tricks can be wonderful for amazing other people, but also great lessons in preparation, persistence, and the value of practice.
Just be careful, you don’t want your child to become so skilled they are tricking you out of extra allowance.