You have a master’s degree in theology and a shelf full of concordances and commentaries. You know the definition of the words hermeneutics, exegesis and homiletics and you’ve memorized several scriptures in their original Koine Greek.
Yet somehow, your 3rd graders still think that ‘dispensation’ refers to the amount of goldfish crackers they can have in their SOLO cups.
Here is a list of five magic tricks that require little skill or practice, what magicians called ‘self-working’. These tricks capture kids’ imagination and can be used to communicate many Biblical concepts and stories. For each item you will find a performance video, a description with possible uses and a link to purchase the item on Amazon.com. If you purchase these items via the link, a portion of the proceeds support this website.
1. Pro Joker Tube/Strat-o-Sphere
It’s an amazing, mysterious concept: a red ball, a yellow ball and a green ball. The red ball seems to have a mind of its own and can hop around even within a plastic tube. The kicker is when the ball is placed inside a small box and somehow vanishes and materializes back in the tube!
This effect is one of my favorites of all time. It’s got a great built-in storyline that can be used to describe obedience, Jesus’ crucifixion, J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, You) and a myriad of other concepts.
The clown on the box is a little freaky. You can paint over it or switch it out for a change bag or devil’s handkerchief for the same effect.
2. Change Bag
It seems like a regular, empty offering bag, but somehow, when you place a small object into it, that object magically changes into another one or vanishes completely.
The typical built-in effect involves placing four different colored silks into the bag and then reaching in and pulling out one silk made up of all four colors.
This effect is great for demonstrating what it’s like to be connected to God or His family. You could also drop a few Bible verse pieces into it and pull it out completely restored.
This is a great, multi-purpose, indispensible utility device to communicate God’s Word.
3. Devils Handkerchief
Don’t be thrown off by the name, the devil’s handkerchief is a classic magic device used by CPs everywhere.
You pulled up the four corners of the handkerchief into a makeshift bag and drop a small item into it. When you spread the handkerchief back out, that item is completely gone.
God’s love makes a lot of things vanish. Pain, fear, vanish. Write any of those onto a sheet of paper, tear it up and place it into the handkerchief bag. Open up the bag and see that the word is gone.
4. Candy Factory
Jesus changes things. He changes people, situations, attitudes, etc. This handy device communicates that fact in a way that is engaging, awe-inspiring and delicious!
A cup full of sugar is placed inside a small tube. When that tube is removed, the sugar has transformed into a cup full of MMs (or other small candy.)
I used this effect to demonstrate the way that God can change difficult situations in our lives into situations that help us and make us better. It was a tough message that went down much more easily with a..ahemcup full of sugar.
5. Dove Pan
You’ve seen this one plenty of times. A magician places a burning strip of paper into a pan, closes it and then removes the lid and reveals a live dove.
This routine is so popular that it gave this magic device its name. But the dove pan can produce much more than just live doves. Over the years, many sponge-based accessories have been produced that work extremely well with this device.
I was talking about the power of our words and, with a few ingredients, produced a giant sponge cake. I’ve also placed paper fish into the pan and produced an overflowing bowl of goldfish crackers to illustrate Jesus’ multiplying of the loaves and fish.
All of these devices belong in any kids pastor’s repertoire of object lessons. If you have any interest at all in using magic in your kids church, start with these devices and you will be well on your way to a mystifying and engaging form of communication to kids.