Party Tricks and a Present For You (Giveaway)

by Deb on September 24, 2010

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My big girl is turning 5!  Not until next week, but her birthday is during the holidays so she is having a party tomorrow.  This post is about some fun tricks you probably did as a kid that I’m going to do with the little guests, plus to celebrate I’m giving away a fantastic floor puzzle.  I desparately want to keep it, but practicality insists we don’t have enough clear floor to do it so you get it instead.

1st Trick – Paralyse Your Hand

  1. Get the subject to squeeze their hand shut as hard as they can for at least 30 seconds.  Little kids may understand better if you give them something like a bead to squeeze.
  2. Relax the hand and open the fingers a tiny bit while you gently stroke all over the hand and wrist.
  3. Tell them to open their hand – it will feel really difficult!

2nd Trick – Make Magnets Out of Beads

You can use anything small for this, such as beads, gumnuts or rocks. It’s best if they aren’t metallic, that will make it even stranger when they act like magnets.

  1. If you have a couple of magnets, play with them and show how holding them the right way they will pull together.  Let them try for themselves and show that the beads you are using do not pull together and are definitely not magnets.
  2. Have your subject hold them one in each hand and push them together as hard as they can for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Pull them apart a little and they will pull back together as if they were magnets!

3rd Trick – Floating Arms

This one is a bit hard for little kids to understand, they tend to bend their elbows or pull their arms up.  But it is the most obvious and strange, it makes a brilliant demonstration if they can’t do it themselves.

  1. The subject stands with their arms hanging at their sides.  Either have someone else hold their arms in, or if they are big enough stand in a doorway.
  2. Keeping their arms straight try to lift them straight up to the sides, either working against the second person or with the back of their wrists against the doorframe.  Hold it for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Relax and let go, their arms will float up by themselves.


All three of these tricks depend on the same thing – your body gets used to what it is doing.  When you walk inside after being in bright sunshine and can’t see, it is because your brain has adjusted to the bright light coming into your eyes and takes a little while to reset to dimmer light.  Something similar is happening here.  Muscles come in sets that oppose each other, for example there are muscles on one side of your arm that bend your elbow and on the other side they straighten your elbow.  Generally movement is quite complicated seeing there are three dimensions plus twists, turns and gravity to take into account, and it’s a balancing act between different muscles making minute adjustments.  When you are working one set of muscles really hard and being opposed for a while it resets the balance in your brain, just like being in bright sun, and takes a little while to go back to normal.  It’s a really cool reminder of how amazing our bodies are to be able to do the things we take for granted all the time, even something as simple as standing.

This post is part of the We Play linkup at Childhood 101.  Check it out for lots of great play ideas.  Good luck, and have fun playing with those tricks 😀  (And I will post some party pics on Wednesday).

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle September 24, 2010 at 7:48 am

I remember doing the floating arms one when I was a kid – I loved that trick! I also used to do a “magic” trick that your daughter might like. You get someone to hold one arm up and one down while you’re not looking at them. Then they put their hands next to each other and you “magically” tell them which hand they were holding up. The hand being held up will be paler than the other one.

As for times, I’ll guess at 3:36am… same as my son.


Marita September 24, 2010 at 7:49 am

Oh this is a fun competition. I’m going to guess at 7pm because that is around the time both my girls were born.
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Aussie Mum September 24, 2010 at 8:52 am

My boys would love this. I guess 8.13am. fingers crossed.
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Donnah Francome September 24, 2010 at 9:01 am

Very cool party ideas! I will guess 1.02am. Good luck with that cake!


Missy Boo September 24, 2010 at 10:28 am

My little girl is nearly 5, too. I’m going to try the tricks with her shortly. I’m going to guess your big girl was born at 5.30 am???


Shelley September 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Have just come across your site here…love it. I have 2 boys and a girl that would love some of your activities…

I’m going to say that your big girl was born at 11:45pm!

Off to check out some more activities


Kristie September 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

My guess is your DD was born at 4.05pm 🙂
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Carey B September 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I’ll guess 3:15pm 🙂


Helen Duyster September 25, 2010 at 9:34 am


I came across your site via the nappy hunt and Im glad I did. Im a “retired” scientist myself and enjoy reading your tricks and tips.

Im going to guess your big little girl was born at 6.12pm (or close to it) like my big little boy lol. He was born on 18/12 at 18.12


Michelle September 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Hi Deb,

Are the notifications for follow-up comments working? I was fairly sure I had it ticked, both on this and on the post about numbers but I don’t seem to get any emails (this time I definitely have it ticked, so lets see…


Deb September 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

The notifications are only for direct replies to your comment, so you should get this. I had a different plugin but had problems with it, thanks for reminding me to look for another one 🙂


Lauren B September 26, 2010 at 1:30 am

Have bookmarked your website and now following on facebook – love it!! I remember the floating arms trick too… but we stopped doing it cos mum told us it was bad for us….??? I wonder if we were actually damaging the doors or something 😛

As for my guess, I’m going for a 10:37am guess 🙂 …. just because I feel like it 😀

*toddles off to try to remember to do other stuff than just reading this site*


Tanya September 26, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I’ve been following via RSS and email. My guess is 9.29am. 🙂


Annie September 27, 2010 at 6:08 am

Its my big girl’s birthday this week too, though she is turning 6. Suddenly seeming very grown up…
I’m guessing 5:47am

Love those party tricks, will try them with the kids today.
I like one also (not quite the same principle, more about balance I think) where someone lies on the floor with arms out above their head, eyes closed, and someone lifts their arms up so the body is pulled up off the floor – then slowly lowers them back down, eyes still closed. It feels like it takes too long to get to the floor and even that you are going down through the floor – very freaky feeling.


Miss Carly September 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I subscribed a while ago. I think its RSS 🙂

Ooh I want that mat. I am going to guess the time I was born..


Happy birthday for your big one. December seems like its a busy month to fall pregnant! hehe. The boyfriend turned 25 on Sunday.
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amandab September 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Um …. I’ll let her share Princess’ birth time of 1.13pm, only because my brain is half functioning.

And as for those tricks, I may need supervision as my body never responds as it is supposed to, too many damaged nerves and ligaments I think 🙁


kelli September 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Love the party tricks. I can’t wait to try them with my kidlets tomorrow. And since I have commented I may as well add a time too. ummmmmmmmm 9.12pm
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Ingrid Wilson September 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

I’m guessing she was born at 0430am! Happy Birthday Big Girl hope you have a great day!


Christie - Childhood 101 October 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm

What great party tricks! You have the best ideas 🙂
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