I’ve always loved learning and performing magic. I first became interested in magic when I was 7, but only when I got older did I begin to appreciate how I’ve actually benefited from it. In retrospect, it is easy for me to see how having magic as a hobby has positively influenced me over the years. Here are five reasons that magic is definitely a hobby for kids that you should encourage your kids to explore.
1) Boosts Self Confidence
Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology, wanted to discover ways to boast self-confidence in children. Interestingly, his research with 10-12-year olds indicated that learning magic tricks was more effective than typical classes designed to improve children’s self-esteem and confidence. As a 10 year old, I gained a lot of confidence being able to baffle my classmates and even more self-confidence when I stumped my older brother. Children feel empowered when they are able to successfully perform magic tricks. For at least one magic trick, any timid child has extraordinary special powers that only they can wield. Nothing says “self-confidence” more than that.
2) Promotes Self Discipline
Learning magic tricks requires self-discipline and persistence. Without these skills, a magician will not be successful. Some tricks take a couple of minutes to learn (self-working) while others might take months (sleight of hand). Over the years, I’ve learned hundreds of challenging magic tricks through only patience and tenacity; two character traits that any parent would want for their child.
3) Improves Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is desired by many employers, yet it is a skill that many people lack. Learning, watching, and performing magic definitely improves critical thinking. Being able to solve a problem by using critical thinking requires analyzing an issue from several standpoints. In the movie “My Cousin Vinny”, the title character’s ability to think quickly is highlighted by describing his reaction to a magic show:
“At my cousin Ruthie’s wedding, the groom’s brother was that guy Alakazam…Well, he did his act, and every time he made something disappear, Vinny jumped on him. I mean, he nailed him! It was like, “it’s in his pocket”, or “he’s palming it”, you know? Or, “there’s a mirror under the table.” I mean, he was like, he was like, “wait a second, wait a second, it’s joined in the middle, and there’s a spring around it, it pops it open when it’s inside the tube.” It was like Alakazam’s worst nightmare.”
–Bill Gambini , My Cousin Vinny
The more magic tricks children watch, the more they will be thinking outside the box and be able to untangle the secret.
4) Help Others
Some of my favorite experiences entertaining with magic have been in hospitals, homeless shelters, and Ronald McDonald Houses. Nothing is more rewarding than making children smile, especially those who may be ill or going through a difficult time. People of all ages love magic and it allows for a temporary distraction from whatever pain and hardships someone might be experiencing.
5) Hi…Pick a card
When I was younger, it was difficult for me to introduce myself and meet people at school or parties. Once I learned magic, introductions became much easier . . . nothing breaks the ice like “Pick a card”. Unlike my other hobby (playing Space Invaders on Atari), magic encouraged me to interact with friends and family. Even today, while I don’t start every introduction with some Hocus-Pocus, I’m confident knowing that at any time I can initiate a conversation with a quick trick.
I can’t imagine my life without the formative influence of magic. It has helped shape me into the person I am today, and has allowed me to bring joy to thousands of children and adults for more than 30 years. Hopefully your child can begin to experience the many benefits that magic as a hobby brings.
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