an easy to do coin trick, info on parent well-being, a party game in a box and more...

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February 2014
It's me again, Mike Maione, the Silly Magician. Enjoy this month's newsletter. 

Please share it with friends you think might find it interesting. 

Finally, A Book About Parent Well-being


There's no shortage of books about how parents affect their children's lives, but what about vice versa? That's what New York Magazine contributing editor and mother Jennifer Senior sets out to investigate in All Joy and No Fun, a book about parental well-being.


"We assume that children will improve our happiness," Senior tells NPR's Melissa Block. "That's why babies are called bundles of joy. But what's so interesting is that one of the most robust findings in the social sciences - and it's been this way for about 50 years - is that children do not improve their parents' happiness." The NPR story.


Latkes and Laughs
February 22, I'll be performing with comedians 
Les Bayer and Eric Tartaglione at Ben's in Bayside. It's sure to be a fun night. Leave the kids home and come have a great meal followed by some hilarious stand-up comedy and magic. The fun starts at 7PM. Dinner and show only $40. Ben's is located at 211-37 26th Ave. Reservations a must (718-229-2367).
A Fun Birthday Party Game

Birthday party games are one of the most important parts of the party. While cake, ice cream, and presents are loads of fun; if you don't have a way to entertain the guests the party can quickly turn into a yawn-fest. Even worse would be ensuing chaos when a group of children are left to their own devices for entertainment. Click here for Battle at Sea.

Magic You Can Do - Vanishing Quarter
Here's a trick you can do or teach anyone young or old. It's easy to do even for youngsters. Click on the video link to see it performed and to learn the secret. 
Just A Minute
Something Fun to Watch

Battle at Sea (Perfect for ages 4-7)


parentThings you'll need:

  • Two really big cardboard boxes, they need to hold several party guests at once (Try the local appliance store, refrigerator boxes work best.)
  • 25-30 small soft balls (ping pong balls, or foam balls would work well... the party store sells foam balls)
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Paint, markers for decorating the boxes

Before the guests arrive:

  1. Make two ships out of the boxes, by cutting off one of the long, wide sides.
  2. Decorate the box to look like a ship. Let the guest of honor help decorate before the party. This is a great way to connect with your child and involve him in the planning.

When the guests arrive:

  1. Put the boxes about 10'-15' apart; older kids farther apart, younger kids closer.
  2. Split the guests into two even crews.  Make four crews if your boxes aren't big enough to hold half the party guests and have the winners of the first rounds play in a playoff. Have the crews get into their ships.
  3. Important: Battles start one crew at a time. Give the "missiles" (the balls) to one crew, so they can attack the other ship.
  4. When you yell 'FIRE!' the crew with the missiles starts hurling them at the other guests.  They get a hit if a ball lands inside the other crew's ship.  The crew that is being pelted can try and deflect the balls or catch them and toss them aside, but they can't remove balls that have landed in their ship and throw them back out.
  5. When the crew doing the attacking is out of missiles, tally up the number that made it into the opposing teams ship.
  6. Switch roles.  When the second team runs out of missiles, tally up the number again.  The team that scored the most hits wins.
The Vanishing Quarter




  • Quarter
  • Pen, Pencil or crayon 


  • Display the quarter in your left hand. Hold the pen in your right hand. 
  • Tell spectator that you will vanish the quarter.
  • Position yourself so that no one can see your right ear.
  • Count ONE, and hit the coin with the pen.
  • Bring your hand and the pen up next to your right ear to prepare yourself to count and strike TWO.
  • Count TWO, and hit the coin with a pen.
  • Bring your hand and pen up next to your right ear as if to prepare yourself to count and strike THREE but deposit the pen behind your right ear.
  • Bring your hand down as if pen is still in your hand to strike the coin and count THREE.
  • Realize the pen is missing.
  • Notice and point out the pen behind your ear.
  • Turn slightly to the left as you retrieve the pen. At the same time deposit the quarter into your left pants pocket.
  • Bring your now empty left hand back to starting position but this time in a closed fist.
  • Pretending your hand is holding the coin, wave the pen over your empty fist.
  • Open hand to show the coin has vanished.

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