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Firstly, I admit this isn’t a really magic trick – but it certainly has a wow factor that makes it looks like magic. When I asked EC if he wanted to do the activity I told him it was a magic trick and that once he learnt how to do it he could put on a magic show for everyone. The best thing about this trick is you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it.

You will need:

  • A glass
  • Water
  • Pieces of paper
  • Pens
  • Wipe board pen
  • Wipe board or ceramic bowl (with a glaze)

Trick 1

To begin with, draw your designs onto your pieces of paper. You will need to draw something that has the “ability to switch sides”. So drawing an arrow, a winking face, or two coloured lines next to each other would work really well.

EC doing his magic show.

Place the piece of paper behind the glass and fill it with water.

Adjust the paper until the graphics are clearly seen.

The designs should have “magically” switched sides. If you take the paper out from behind the glass, it should have returned to normal.

After EC’s show he made me drink the water to prove it was just water!

Let’s just say his sister now thinks he is the greatest magician around.

The science behind it:

As I said in the beginning, this isn’t magic, it’s just science. This is an example of refraction. Refraction is the bending of light. Simply put: the light travels through the air, through the front of the glass, through the water and back through the glass,  then through the air (again) before hitting the picture. As the light passes through all these objects it bends because it travels at different speeds. It’s quite a hard concept for a small child to understand (I remember struggling with this during my GCSEs!), so it will appear to be like magic.

Trick 2

This trick is now my favourite, but it sometimes takes a few tries to get it right.

Draw a stickman or hearts onto a wipe board or the bottom of a ceramic bowl, like the ones used in cooking.

Wait for it to dry. This can be between a few seconds or a minute depending on your ink.

Then very carefully cover your drawing with some warm water.

If it has worked properly then the drawing will have come lose and will start floating in the water.

When EC did this he made the girls draw the picture to prove that it was actually on the bottom of the bowl.

They were all suitably impressed with this one.

Pin for later:

About The Author

Nanny Anita
Norland Nanny

Nanny Anita is our resident Super Nanny. Having trained at the famous Norland College, in Bath, she has over 12 years experience, working all over the world with children from 2 months to 17 years old. Nanny Anita is an expert when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained and writes a column with Leonora called 'Get Crafty' for Little London magazine. Nanny Anita has been on hand to answer our reader questions, and she provides weekly arts, crafts and activities for families to do with their children at home. She really is a modern day Mary Poppins!

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