Belief in magic comes easily to children. A creative child, growing up on fairy tales, may even weave their own magic and cast their own spells as part of creative play without anyone ever teaching them the ‘ins and outs’ of magic. I suppose the first task for Pagan/Druid parents, who want to give their child a magical education, is to teach our kids the difference between movie magic (or performance magic) and what we consider ‘real’ magic (the use of symbolism, thought, energy, and creativity, to bring about change).
One way of teaching young children the basics of magic is with a story. The Children’s Handbook of Real Magic by Linda Waldron and Leroy Montana is a child’s introduction to magic, centering, shielding, positive energy, and color symbolism. It is told from the perspective of the “Butterfly Faerie”, who has been sent by the world of faeries to teach children about magic. Some Pagans will find this book a little too airy for their liking. However, one has to admire the scope of what is covered in such a short book. The explanations are simple, as they should be for a young audience, but there are places where a little more explanation would be helpful. For example, where the a child is taught to “put roots to the center of the earth like an old tree” but is not told that this is called grounding, nor why to do it.
The phrase “Great Good Love (or Power)” is used throughout the book. It is unclear to me whether the author is using this word as a new age synonym for a pantheistic deity, or as a term for universal magical energy, such as Prana, Od, or Chi. In any case, if your want to use the book, you could just substitute your own phrase for magical energy (or source of magic) when reading aloud. Also, at the end of the book, it is stated that if you use your magic for bad, you will lose it. I would amend this to say that the magic you send out also effects yourself, so make sure it’s always for the good of all. (You can never “lose” your magic, and I wouldn’t want a child to think that.) Another caveat of the book is that the only illustrations are stick figures.
So the highlights and shortcomings of the fore-mentioned book inspired me to come up with something a bit more simple, yet with more visuals. Below is a magic folding book that I made as a brief introduction to magic. To make one, enlarge to full size (landscape mode, not portrait) and print out. Cut away the margins and fold into a book; for folding instructions see my article magic one-sheet-of-paper mini book.
But let’s say you have an older child you want to introduce to magic. Even some of the most creative children may lose faith in magic around the time of early adolescence. This may be when it is time for a more substantial explanation. There are some Wiccan sources that are useful for teaching magical theory and few basics, much of which applies to non-Wiccan magical systems as well. One of the best explanations I’ve seen of Pagan magic theory is from the Correllian Wicca 1st Degree class, lesson 1. The energy work exercises of the 1st degree lessons are excellent as well. I don’t really recommend the rest of the course though, unless you’re Wiccan, and then, only if you can ignore all the pseudo-history.
After your kids learn the basic concepts, you’ll want to teach the magical folkways of your family and hearth culture. In addition to this, Scott Cunningham’s book Earth Power contains a wealth of simple nature magic, folk magic, and simple divination methods, much of which can be taught to children. The four elements format in parts of the book is easily translated into a (Druid/Celtic) three realms paradigm, with fire as a hallow.
See also All About Real Magic -Part 2