The Force Is With You
My nephews, ages 4 and 5, are really into Star Wars, so I combined a little myth of Jedi visitation and some magic to blow their minds with this "Jedi Mind Trick."
- Tell your child that Luke Skywalker crash-landed at your house last night. Before he fixed his X-wing fighter and took off back into outer space, he had time to teach you one Jedi trick. (Note: If your kid isn't a big fan of the series, substitute a visit from Harry Potter or a magical fairy for the Jedi).
- Ask your kid to choose a crayon from his art supplies, then put it on a table.
- What you're going to do is make the crayon roll across the table using nothing but "The Force." Explain that since you're not a powerful Jedi yourself, you'll need your kid's help.
- Tell him to concentrate as hard as he can on the crayon. Participating makes your child feel empowered and also focuses his attention away from you so that you can pull off the trick.
- Put your finger on the table two to three inches behind the crayon and point as if you're going to use invisible energy to push the crayon.
- If your child is properly focused on the crayon, he won't be looking at your mouth (which is where the magic happens). You're going to blow the crayon down the table.
- Puff air behind the crayon, and it will start rolling. As it does, move your finger forward so it stays the same distance away from the crayon as if you are pushing it with "The Force." When done right, this one will astound and amuse your child. All kids love believing they have some kind of super power, and moving things with their mind definitely tops the list of the coolest special abilities.
Originally published in the September 2010 issue of Parents magazine.