Magic Tricks Resource Page

Magic Tricks…


Magic tricks are a great way to learn science and mathematics. Some tricks require good deductive reasoning and observations skills. Most require good timing skills. All of them take practice so that they can look as natural and effortless as possible while being performed.

The following resources contain information about magic, tricks you can learn to do with ordinary household items, and famous magicians and illusionists.

What is Magic?

Wikipedia: Magic


Make Your Own Magic Props

You Can Do Magic: Magic Tricks for Kids
Written and video instructions for making a magic trick. Check out ‘Magic Lessons’ for more tricks.


Instructables: Magic Channel
Offers a variety of tricks you can make and do.



How To Do Magic Tricks

Kidzone: Magic Tricks
Tips for becoming a successful magician and variety of tricks that use cards, coins and other household materials. 

This site offer a library of easy to do magic tricks that use common household materials.

Magic tricks for beginners, hobbyists and pros.

Learn magic tricks that use coins and cards.

How to Do Tricks: How to Do Card Tricks

Site offers card and coin tricks.

This site offers 219 card tricks and tutorials…and counting.


Site offers tricks done with playing cards.


Illusions you can make yourself.
Come Together Kids: Optical Illusion Handprint
Turn your handprint into an optical illusion.

Famous Magicians, Illusionists &a
mp; Escape Artists

Wikipedia: Harry Houdini
Site offers short video.

Wikipedia: Dai Vernon
A video of Dai Vernon’s life can be found in the video section below.

Wikipedia: David Copperfield
Site offers a short video.

About: Doug Henning

Wikipedia: Siegfried & Roy

Wikipedia: Mark Wilson

The video section below has more Penn & Teller videos.

Wikipedia: The Amazing Randi

Wikipedia: List of Magicians


Videos



Name/Time

Easy Magic Tricks for Everyone 13:16 More 
How to do 5 Amazing Magic Tricks with a Straw 6:05
Card Throwing How to Tutorials 2:44
How to Pop/Toss a Playing Card 2:25
How to stick a straw THROUGH a bottle cap! (magic trick explained) 4:36
Doug Henning – Close-Up Magic 5:40
Magician vs Gambler 4:39
Dai Vernon: The Spirit Of Magic 46:22
Siegfried & Roy-blue box 3:10
Siegfried and Roy – The Magic Returns 41:01 (Content may not be suitable for all audiences.)
Siegfried & Roy on Larry King – September 3, 1999 44:47
Magic – Mark Wilson Excalibur Illusion – Magic and Comedy Hour 1984 3:29
The Magic of David Copperfield V: Vanishing the Statue of Liberty (1983) (With Morgan Fairchild) 49:57

Penn & Teller Videos





Name/Time

Penn & Teller MMT EGYPT  50:11
Penn & Teller MMT CHINA 50:11
Penn & Teller MMT INDIA 50:11
Penn & Teller – Don’t Try This at Home (1990) 48:59 
Masters of Magic Penn and Teller, Amazing tricks 7:00


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Bird Watching Activities

We love to watch the birds and hear their cheerful songs throughout the day, so we do our best to make them feel as welcome as possible to keep them coming back.
Having them visit each day gives us the opportunity to get to know them better. We learn what they look like up close, what they like to eat, what they sound like, what time of the year they come around, their eating patterns, who gets along with whom, and, in some cases, who likes to eat them or invade their space.
In order to give them a reason to come around, we make bird feeders from recycled items and offer them a variety of tasty foods and building materials to encourage them to build a nest in our trees.

We used to purchase feeders, but a few of our local squirrels would break into them and throw them to the ground, ruining them! By making our own feeders, we don’t worry about the squirrels any more, we simply make another one!
We’ve made a lot of bird feeders over the years and have repurposed many different types of items. The birds are our biggest critics on what we make, so we take notes on who and what likes and dislikes the feeders we make and the items we offer.
Homemade bird feeders…
We’ve been known to use some unusual items to make our feeders such as:
Milk and juice cartons, plastic water/juice jugs, soda and water bottles, mesh fruit/veggie bags, coconut shell halves, orange and grapefruit halves, coffee cans, pine cones, stale bagels and bread, cans, cardboard tubes, sticks, soup containers, aluminum pie pans, old cups and bowls, etc.
Note: Make sure everything is clean before using it.
We’ll also use sticks, pencils, dowels, craft sticks, duct tape, yarn, wire hangers, recycled fishing line, a hole punch, scissors and anything else we can think of to make and hang our feeders.
Creating one of a kind feeders is something we enjoy doing. I’ll put some items on a table set-up outside, along with some paper and pencils for planning, and we’ll get busy making our feeders.
Tasty treats to offer…
Items to offer the birds: Cereal, nuts, seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, apple peels, birdseed, peanuts, songbird food, popcorn, and peanut butter and bird seed covered items.
During the colder seasons, we’ll make our own suet from leftover bacon grease or lard, corn meal, flour, seeds, nuts, and dried apples. We’ll make a lot and store it in the freezer.
Tip: Fill clean, recycled plastic juice and water bottles with bird seed to make refilling the feeders easier.
Inviting them to stay…

If you would like your birds to live close by, consider offering them bird-nest-making materials such as: Hair, bits of fabric, yarn, twin, shredded paper, laundry lint, pine needles, etc.
These items can be hung from a tree in a mesh bag (such as an orange or onion bag) or a fruit container with openings (such as a berry container).
Once we have the birds at our feeders, we get the chance to watch their habits, draw them, observe them and identify them by shape, color and sound. 
Here are some resources to help you get started.

Bird Identification Sites
Bird guide, cam, basics, an much more.
Search for 800 birds of North America.
Offers the following info: About this guide, how to Bird, how to identify birds, plumage and molt, parts of a bird, classification of birds, bird families, natural history of birds, endangered and threatened birds and bir
d conservation
Identify birds from all over the world.

eNature: Bird Sounds
Learn to identify certain birds by the sounds they make.
Look for free bird watching apps too.

Bird Activities
View an amazing picture journey of a chick that grows into a full grown bird in 36 days.
Instructions for an easy to make bird feeder made from a recycled milk/juice carton.
Suet Recipe – Recipe instructions for making your own suet.
Bird Word Puzzles – Scroll through to find printable word finds and other bird related word activities, coloring pages, and games.
Enchanted Learning: Birds
In addition to finding information about birds on this site, you will find:
Bird Word Find – Printable
Bird Activities – This site offers bird related: rhymes, crafts, and songs. Other activities require a membership to access.
Choose a bird-related jigsaw puzzle to do on line.
Purple Kitty Yarns:Birdhouse Shaped Cross-word Puzzle
Printable birdhouse puzzle with bird-related clues.

Related Activities on Fran’s World of Discovery…
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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Leaf Hunting


Pack a lunch and go on a leaf hunt!

Here are some items you may want to take along with you:

A container to put your leaves in, a camera, drawing paper and a pencil

Optional: Tree identification book, your Nature Backpack

What to look for…

Look for every tree leaf you can find! Look in your own yard, in a park, the woods, the playground, in parking lots, and anywhere leaves can be found.
Tip: If you walk in the woods, it’s a good idea to wear closed-toed shoes.

Look for unusual leaves, whole leaves, leaves with holes in them, green leaves, leaves that are starting to turn colors, leaves that have turned colors, small leaves and big leaves, and don’t forget pine needles and evergreens too! Make sure you take a few of each kind.

Look for pine cones, nuts, acorns, seed pods, and berries as well.
Note: Do not eat berries.

If you’re going to identify your leaves later on, take pictures of the trees you get your leaves from, or draw a map of where each tree is located so you can find it again later.

If you’re not going to use your leaves right away, it may be a good idea to press them so they don’t dry up, turn brown and curl up on you!

You will need: Newspaper, recycled grocery bags, or waxed paper and some heavy books 

Lay the leaves flat between two pieces of newspaper or wax paper and put heavy books on top of them. This will keep them so they can be used for other leaf activities later on. Do not let leaves overlap.

Tip: If you have paper grocery bags, cut the bottoms off, cut them up one side, lay your leaves flat on one open bag, cover them with another, and put the books on top.


Reviving wilted leaves
If your leaves dry up a bit before you get to use them, you can revive them in a bowl of cold water with a 1 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar per cup of water. Soak your leaves until they look refreshed, dry them off with a towel, and press them, or use them right away. 


Identify your leaves

From Wikipedia

If you want to use your leaves right away, you can identify them, or use one of the activities suggested below. 

To identify them, use a book, this site, or ask someone who knows about trees for some help.
You can print out the chart to the right and take it along with you, or use it later on.

The following sites may prove helpful if you want to identify your leaves on your own.

Wikipedia: Identification of Trees of the United States 
Read the description and click on the tree that best describes your leaf.

Wikipedia: List of Trees of the World
Choose any country, then pick the tree you are interested in learning more about.

Enchanted Learning: Leaves and Leaf Anatomy
Learn about the function of a leaf, the structure, cells, margin and leaf terms.


Leaf Activities on Funschooling and Recreational Learning

Leaf People & Creatures                     Fall Leaves

Leaf Identification Activities              Colorful Leaf Rubbings

Leaf Prints & Leaf Stencils

Experiment: Chromatography of Leaves


Make Your Own: Scented Play Clay

Scented Play Clay by Fran W


To make your own play dough, you will need:


1c flour

½c salt

2 tsp cream of tartar

1T oil

1c water

Optional:

1 package of flavored drink mix (w/o sweeter)
Ex: Strawberry, fruit punch, grape, cherry, lemon, lime, etc.

Food coloring – Use as many drops as needed to get the color you want.

What to do…

Put all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir mixture constantly until all the lumps have been removed and the dough forms a ball (3-4 min). Allow dough to cool a little, then knead on a floured surface until smooth.

Tips..

  • Food coloring or scent can be added to the pot to make one color/scent.
  • To make more than one scent/color, add nothing to the pot while making the dough, then break it up and add food coloring/scent a little at a time while kneading.
  • Instead of unsweetened flavor packets, use cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, essential oils or food extracts as scents.
  • Mix colors to get a new color.
  • Form dough into shapes and allow them to dry. Drying may take a few days depending on the weather and thickness of your creations.
  • Store leftover dough in an airtight containers for a week or refrigerate in airtight container to make it last longer.


Note: This dough is not edible.

Extract DNA from a Strawberry

Strawberry DNA Supplies by Fran W

The following experiment will show you how to pull the DNA out of a strawberry.


To do this experiment, you will need…

1 Strawberry w/o leafy top (hull)
2 tsp Dish detergent
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 c Water
8 oz Clear plastic cup
Rubbing alcohol (about a 1/4 c)
Coffee filter
Craft stick
Zip-top bag – sandwich size
Towel to clean hands

Optional: Magnifying glass, rubber band

What to do…

  • Put the strawberry in the zip-top bag, remove the air while closing the bag, and smash it into a puree. It takes about a minute to puree strawberry. Do not break or puncture the bag while smashing.
  • Put dish detergent, salt, and water into a plastic cup and mix with a craft stick.
  • When the strawberry is liquefied, pour detergent/salt/water mixture into the bag and, without making a lot of bubbles, swish everything around gently for about 30 seconds.
  • Put the coffee filter into the plastic cup, fold the filter over the top of the cup and use a rubber band to keep it in place. Leave about two inches of space between the filter and the bottom of the plastic cup.
  • Pour the liquid from the bag into the filter. You do not need to use all of the mixture. 
  • Carefully remove the rubber band and gently squeeze the liquid out of the filter without breaking it. Discard filter when finished, and use the towel to clean your hands.
  • Pour in as much alcohol as there is liquid into the cup (about 1/4 cup), and allow it sit for about 30 seconds. You can swirl the cup gently if you want to.
Extraction Results

If you use a clear cup, you will be able to see the two colors separately in the cup, and soon you’ll notice a swirling on top of the liquid, that’s the DNA making its way up to the top. After a minute, put your craft stick into the liquid, and pull out the strings of DNA.


Take a look at it with the magnifying glass and/or microscope.

What do you see? What does it feel like?

Tip: If you want to save the DNA, place it in a clean zip-top bag and refrigerate. It will keep for a while.

If you have all your supplies ready, you can do your experiment while watching the video below, which takes about 9 minutes to watch.



This activity is part the Strawberry Craze series.

Related posts on Fran’s World of Discovery:

A yummy and fun way to start the day or enjoy as an anytime treat.

Learn how to start your own strawberry plant from seeds and some of the interesting ways people grow them.

Find out how strawberries have been used over the centuries and make strawberry hull tea.

Learn about strawberries by using your senses.

More strawberry related activities can be found in my ebook Strawberry Craze. This 91 page ebook is filled with 30 strawberry-related activities and 15 yummy kid-friendly recipes. Click for more info.


Connect with Fran’s World of Discovery!
Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Observing Strawberries

Strawberries by Fran W.

Use your senses to observe a strawberry!


You will need:

Washed strawberries with their leafy tops (hulls), a paper plate, knife, magnifying glass, paper and pencil, and colored pencils

Optional: A pocket or regular microscope

Use your sense of…


Site

Put your strawberry on a paper plate and look at it.
Without touching it, describe what you see. (Colors, texture, etc.)
How does it look?
What do you think it feels like?
What do you think the leaves feel like?

Draw what you see…

When a scientific illustrator draws a picture, they use as much detail as possible, try to do the same with a pencil and paper. Lightly color your illustration with colored pencils when you’re finished, if you want to.

Take a deeper look…

Use a magnifying glass to take a closer look at the strawberry – remember to examine it without picking it up.
A pocket microscope can also be used.

Touch

Use your sense of touch to feel the strawberry.
Pick it up, feel the weight of it, run your fingers over it, feel the leaves, run the strawberry against your lips.
What textures do you feel?
How does the leaf compare to the red flesh of the strawberry?
Pick it up and examine it with the magnifying glass and/or microscope.
Remove the leafy top, called the hull, and examine it with a magnifying glass and/or pocket microscope.

Smell

What does the strawberry smell like? Do you like it? 
Take 2-3 of deep inhales of the strawberry, as you do, pay attention to the inside of your mouth.
What happens in your mouth when you smell it? (Your mouth may begin to water in preparation of eating the berry.)
Pick up the hull and smell it, what does it smell like? You may need to crush a little of it between your fingers to release the smell.

Observe the inside…

Cut your strawberry in half from the top to the bottom and observe the inside of it.
What does it look like inside? Feel like? Smell like? 
Describe what you observe. 
Draw what you see.
Is the inside the same as the outside? If so, how? If not, compare them.

Taste

Take a bite out of your strawberry. What does it taste like? Chew it slowly and pay att
ention to where you taste it on your tongue. (Front, back, sides)
As you slowly chew, pay attention to what’s going on in your mouth. 
How do the seeds (achenes) feel on your tongue and on your teeth?
Taste a piece of the hull of the strawberry and describe what you experience.

Try this…

Take a new strawberry and remove the seeds by cutting them off with a knife or scrape them off with your teeth, leave as much of the strawberry in tact as possible and taste it. How do the seeds taste and how does it taste without the seeds?

Tip: Save some of the seeds and see if you can grow a strawberry plant with them.

Strawberry Anatomy

Learn what all the parts of a strawberry are called here.

This activity is part the Strawberry Craze series.

Related posts on Fran’s World of Discovery:

A yummy and fun way to start the day or enjoy as an anytime treat.

Learn how to start your own strawberry plant from seeds and some of the interesting ways people grow them.

Find out how strawberries have been used over the centuries and make strawberry hull tea.

Find out how to extract DNA from a strawberry using simple household items.

More strawberry related activities can be found in my ebook Strawberry Craze. This 91 page ebook is filled with 30 strawberry-related activities and 15 yummy kid-friendly recipes.

Connect with Fran’s World of Discovery!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!


Make Your Own: Fun Putty

Fun Putty by Fran W.


Fun putty is easy to make and a blast to play with…so why not make a batch and have a great time exploring science!

To make fun putty, you will need:
Glue, liquid starch, craft stick, plastic zip-top bag, 3oz cup, or a plate, food coloring is optional
The basic recipe is…

1 part glue
1 part liquid laundry starch
How the putty can be made…
Quick and Easy Version…
Pour 1 T of glue and a few drops of food coloring into a cup, or on a plate, then add 1 T of starch and mix together with a craft stick until a firm ball is formed.
Pick up the putty, squish it until it tightens up a bit, and let the fun begin!

If the putty is too gooey, add more starch. If it’s tight, try adding more glue.
Experiment until you get the consistency you like.

Store in a zip-top bag and refrigerate.
Tip: You can mix the putty in a zip-top bag as well.
Try this Glow-in-the-dark version too!
Discovery Version…
It can be lot of fun to experiment while making this putty because you can watch the chemical reaction take place a little bit at a time while you mix the two materials together slowly.

Warning: This version will get really stringy and a bit messy before the mixture tightens up and forms the putty. It may be best to use this method while wearing old clothing in an area that is easy to clean up.
What to do…
Using a plate and a craft stick or your finger, pour a little bit of glue on the plate and then add starch a little at a time. Mix with the stick or your finger and observe how the the mixture begins to come together and tighten up. Add a little more starch and observe what happens as you mix it some more. Keep on adding starch a little a time until you get a flexible ball that is stretchy, pliable, and fun to play with!

Suggestions for play…

  • Stretch it.
  • Roll it.
  • Form it. 
  • Take it apart and make faces with it.
  • Allow it to relax and make shapes out of it with your finger.
  • Put the whole ball of putty at the end of a straw and blow through the straw to form a bubble.

What’s going on?

If you would like to know what’s going on in this experiment, please visit the following sites.

About: Chemistry: History of Silly Putty (Science of Toys) includes a brief explanation of what the reaction is and why it takes place. This site also includes other Silly Putty Recipes and some other fun activities/experiments that can be done with this material.

How Stuff Works: Silly Putty
This site offers the history of Silly Putty and how it works.

Connect with Funschooling & Recreational Learning!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!


Make Your Own: Nature Backpack

Nature Backpack by Fran W.


If your family is going out to explore the world around them, a nature backpack is a great thing to grab as you are running out the door!


You may be wondering what a nature backpack is and what’s in it?

A nature backpack is bag filled with useful items that you can take with you whenever your family goes out exploring. Children can fill their own backpacks up with the items that they want to take with them as well.

Here are some of the things we add to our backpacks:

  • Water
  • Compass
  • Flashlight
  • Nature Journal (sketch book and/or notebook)
  • Pencils (regular and colored)
  • Sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Safety scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil case
  • Plant and animal identification books
  • Work/garden gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Binoculars
  • Various sized plastic bags (clear)
  • Various sized plastic bottles (clear)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Snack (trail mix)*
  • String
  • Camera (We use our phones)
  • Water
  • Bio-scope
  • Clear cup
  • Old flat sheet or beach towel
  • Bag for trash
  • Insect repellant and after bite (we make our own)
  • Sunblock
  • Rain poncho
  • Dark construction paper (black or blue)
  • Child friendly first-aid kit*

* Denotes link to activity

Fill your backpack with items that fit your family’s needs and take it with you when you visit parks, zoos, and other outdoor areas. You never know when someone is going to be inspired to record what they see around them, so make sure they have access to some kind of creative outlet (journal, camera, video recorder).

Go over safety rules with your family and make sure they understand how each item in the backpack can and should be used. For safety reasons, consider exploring places together. 

We usually keep a small duffle bag in the car filled with extra clothing, sunblock, insect repellent, after bite, rain ponchos, extra snacks, a regular first-aid kit, and some other items.


If you do a lot of traveling, you may be interested in keeping the book Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith with you.


Disclaimer: Fran’s World of Discovery is not responsible for any injuries that may occur while exploring the great outdoors.

The following activities have been designed to inspire fun and safe learning experiences.

Make Your Own: Child Friendly First-Aid Kid

Make Your Own: Trail Mix

Make Your Own: Net-Bag

Resources to help you explore more of your world…

Frog Research Project

Bird Watching Activities

Owls

Butterflies



Connect with Fran’s World of Discovery!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!