David Kay, in the Sept issue, had a big article on some historical aspects of performing for children. He laid out the case that performing for kids as a speciality grew from Gospel magic, and it did so around the turn of the century.
The Brookly Public Library has an online, searchable, full text file of the Brooklyn Eagle from 1841 to 1902. It only took a little while to find reference to performing for kids in a non-Gospel setting.
6/11/00 "Children's Day"
"The teachers and pupils of the [Lynbrook, Long Island] High School were the guests of Hamilton King Saturday afternoon. The members of the school assembled in the school grounds and marched to the residence of Mr. King, wehre they were entertained by a band of Japanese jugglers, five in number. The children were highly amused by the clever tricks of the magicians."
There were also numerous references to church-sponsored magic shows, but never any reference (that I found) to using magic to advance the message.
I think Kaye did some excellent research on the origins of Gospel magic. I'm not sure he proved that it was the first magic for children.