Performing Magic For Children

If you’re a magician it’s not a big deal to pull a quarter or a sponge ball out of a kids ears or nose and make a big impression. Actually kids are a great audience. They haven’t lived long enough to be inundated with all the TV and street magicians or even magic shows, although many day cares and camps include programs with magicians. But its a big leap from vanishing a coin for a kid and doing a birthday party for a bunch of kids.

I once mentioned that I don’t worry about what I’m going to write about each week, because sometimes when I have nothing in mind, a blog walks into the shop. Last week a dad came in  and said he wanted to do a show for his child’s birthday party. Fine. Except he had never done magic before. When is the show? Tomorrow. I cringed. “That doesn’t give you much time to prepare.”  “Oh, it’s okay. I’ll manage”

I asked him how old the kids were, and with that in mind, I showed him the simplest of tricks that I know work well with 5 year olds. But he didn’t want those. He wanted card tricks. He ended up buying some of what I suggested but mostly what he wanted. On his way out he crossed paths with David Acer who was walking in. I mentioned to David that the guy came in to get some magic tricks for his kid’s birthday party. David said something like, “That’s nice, he came to get some new effects.” I said he never did magic before and the show is tomorrow. David’s face dropped. “Oh, no.” I told him I tried, at least, to steer him in the right direction, but he wasn’t much interested. David felt terrible, as I did.

There is a lot to consider when performing for children. The age, the patter, the material, how to get them excited, how to keep them in control, picking the right volonteer, how long the show show be, and above all, the children. You should not be worrying you are going to mess up the trick, which can happen to the best of us, and how do you handle that. If you’ve done your homework,  read the books, watched the DVD’s and had experience you will manage. It’s called “Outs”. But if you’ve never done magic and you screw up it could be devastating, probably more to you than the audience. You will be ruminating over that one for a long time. The audience will just say, They had a magician. He was lousy.” So as the motto of the Boy Scouts goes “Be Prepared”. Speaking of Boy Scouts, did you know there is a Magic book on the market “Blue and Gold” written specifically for magicians who want to perform for the Boy Scouts, how to get into that market, etc. It’s worth looking into.

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2 responses to “Performing Magic For Children

  1. Oh boy, I remember my last “bad show” for kids. I had been performing for adults for years and few kids shows. I had not done a children show in some time and I figured it to be a walk in the park. I had the standards; coloring book, production box, thumb tip, chick-pan, and like the man you mentioned, I had no issues thinking I would wing it. No. Just, no. They didn’t pay much attention. I didn’t understand why the standard “hey kids, watch me pull a rabbit from my hat” didn’t work. What was I doing wrong? So I did my research.

    I watched Dora the explorer, Yo gabba gabba and everything else my then 4 year old daughter loved. They all had one thing in common. An interactive story linking every step together! I sat down with pen and paper and proceeded to write. I had come up with a 45 min journey a rabbit takes, through magic land, on the hunt for carrots. Mixed in with the online catalog from a local magic shop (I forget the name, perfect….something) I weaved in effects and other animal friends that would help “Hoppy” find his carrots.

    A few weeks of rehearsal and timing and I was ready for my next show. It went off beautifully. Large group of laughing kids Paying attention and joining in, VERY happy parents, and a solid show that has served me well going on 3 years. I would wish that parent good luck, but he will need a LOT more than that (from my experience anyway)…he may actually need a little magic.

    Liked by 1 person

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