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Topic: How young can kids enjoy magic?
Message: Posted by: Ellen Kotzin (Jan 9, 2003 01:24PM)
Just wondering what is the youngest audience you've played for...what is the best age to perform for? Are pre-schoolers too young too enjoy magic? (3/4yr olds)

New Orleans 2003!
Message: Posted by: Vilago (Jan 9, 2003 02:18PM)
I'm not touchin' this question with a 10-foot pole...

:) :) :) :) :) :)


Maybe some of your questions will be answered here:

Message: Posted by: Cheshire Cat (Jan 9, 2003 04:11PM)
I'll briefly dare to touch it with a 15ft person of eastern European origin!! (don't worry if you don't know what Vilago and I are talking about). Ellen, as a complete group of the same age I would say that 3s going on 4s is an acceptable age to start them. They certainly respond well to magic painting routines, or tricks like Dippy Duck (the duck/cat/egg in house routine). I think the secret is to keep it not too fast, audible etc. and to be understanding and accommodating to all eventualities - i.e. there is someone in our location who Christmas 2001 responded rudely to pre-school staff for taking kids to the toilet during his show! Now we all know that if little ones need to go they either go or pee on the floor! I did the same function last month and they booked on the very same day for Dec. 2003. They also respond very well to puppetry and balloon modelling. Below this age we personally decline. What is the BEST age? This is a personal preference thing Ellen - we like 4s/5s/6s very much. :) :) :) :)
Message: Posted by: victorkent (Jan 9, 2003 05:33PM)
Colorful stuff. Action. Silliness. SLap Stick. Funny voices. Being able to relate. Be willing to go with the flow and shift gears as they guide your show sometimes. :baby2:
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 9, 2003 06:01PM)
Keep it simple, funny and start of gently, then when they get used to you you may be able to move up a gear.

<<<<<Now we all know that if little ones need to go they either go or pee on the floor! >>>>>>

I was told that you know you've made it when the children get up at the end of the show and there is a puddle on the floor:)
Message: Posted by: Ellen Kotzin (Jan 9, 2003 07:10PM)

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Jan 9, 2003 07:42PM)
Samuel Patrick Smith has a book, [b]Kiddie Patter & Little Feats, Entertaining Pre-Schoolers with Magic and Funny Stuff.[/b]

[b](One/Two Year olds)[/b]
For this age group, everything is magic, TV, Blenders, Soap, Water turned on, cartoon characters are real, and an unlimited number of other things including pooping and peeing.

Tricks that would appeal are story tricks, things that they can relate to, A puppet in a hat making a knot appear on a rope is more powerful than 20th century silks. Bunny tricks work, they don't care about the trick, only that there is a bunny. Candy Tricks, Coloring Book Tricks.

There is "really nothing" for a one year old, other then food in the mouth. (Children this age are just learning to walk-the greatest magic in the world to them)

[b](Two-Four Year Olds)[/b]
Trixie Bond's PopsyTopsy Wand, or Sponge Turtle to Rabbit, Things with Color and Shapes (Strat-o-sphere: Balls of color). They have a very short attention span. Nothing complex, they can't think beyond surface visual stuff. Put something behind a table, to them it vanished. They don't care or seek out how or why it disappeared.

[b](Four-Five Year Olds)[/b]
Now they are just learning the things in the world. Let the Preschool Teachers be your guide. Things with stuff they just learned builds the sense of accomplishment. Tricks with stories, color, shapes, animal pictures, letters appeal to this crowd.

Putting my finger in my mouth and making a popping sound thrills a one year old, getting it stuck in my nose is funny to a four/five year old. Seperating my index finger using my thumb is magic to this young group. Grabbing their nose and showing your thumb is frighting to some.

Stop by the age specific section of a "Toy-R-Us" store and see what there is that thrills this age specific group and use that in some simple production. Be creative, the work has be done by the big toy companies and their high paying child psychologists.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Jan 10, 2003 02:54AM)
Yes talking of Kids needing the toilet,
I can often tell if my helper up front needs to go (they tend to keep doing a Michael Jackson and touching certain parts) even when assisting I will switch off my mic (if using one) and ask if they need the lav. often they will say yes and I let them go there and then even if it breaks my routine pattern. I was performing once at a party in a club (about 30 kids) and a little girl just started to wet herself while helping me all of a sudden her mother rushed up and grabbed the girl lifting her up in haste and running her to the toilet. However, because of the way she grabbed her daughter she was swinging in the air and the little girl was still Pi*****g spraying over all of my audience!
Message: Posted by: Vilago (Jan 10, 2003 09:58AM)
On 2003-01-10 03:54, p.b.jones wrote:
However, because of the way she grabbed her daughter she was swinging in the air and the little girl was still Pi*****g spraying all of my audience!

Ah, the joys of performing for the little ones!

:rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 10, 2003 04:10PM)
I was performing Ron Gilberts Ribbon of fun, we were 1/2 way through the routine, (the ribbon had been put down the back of his shirt) the boy decided he wanted to go to the loo, off he went, returning 5 minutes later trailing 30' of red ribbon behind him. I pretended he must have done the magic in the toilet, they were all only 5 so I got away with it, and finished the trick as normal.

I was lucky, if he had done a No2 who knows where the ribbon would have gone.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Jan 11, 2003 02:40AM)
I use my own version of Ribbon fun with a tear apart bag, comedy glasses,break away fan. I always dress the helper in a bag to costume and use the pocket for the ribbon. I sometime found it difficult (particualrly now it is fashion to wear shirts untucked) to find a suitable helper otherwise.
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 11, 2003 03:06AM)
I had to change the routine for the same reason, I introduced a little bag which I put the ribbon in and they held
Message: Posted by: kreme (Mar 1, 2003 11:46AM)
I do not perform for children younger than 4.
Message: Posted by: Chrystal (Mar 2, 2003 01:04PM)
Hi Ellen,

Three- and four-year-olds enjoy watching magic, especially if the show includes audience participation. Bright visual colors attract the kids...silks..balls and the coloring book are perfect for this age group. Try switching back and forth from magic to perhaps a sing along or music. Keeps their interest. (I used to teach pre-school.)

Puppets also fascinate children at this age. Something as simple as having a cow puppet bark will send them into hysterics as they love being helpful at this age. Felt board stories, if kept simple, eg "Three Little Monkeys," which is a universal song amongst preschoolers. All this can be mixed into the show as it doesn't all have to be magic.

Another thought is having all the children place something in a change bag. They say the magic words...poof it disappears.

We have one huge ethnic community that throws parties for children when they reach 1 yr of age (they rent a hall and invite between 300-500 people). While they hire me to entertain for everyone, old and young alike, it's nice to at least get a smile from the baby. I always bring along a giant muppet and play peekaboo with the baby. At this developmental stage 1 is perfect for peekaboo or music also attracts their attention. Good luck with your show, Ellen.

Oh sheesh, I kinda went off topic as your original question was: "What's the youngest audience you've ever performed for?"
Hmmm, well, I once performed for a group of pregnant ladies... :lol:
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Mar 4, 2003 01:20AM)
It all depends on the magician's interest and character. If the magician will feel comfortable, the kids will be comfortable.

I do a lot of kids shows because I am a kids person. I get repeat calls to day care centers.

If you need a teacher, call Den. As you can see, he knows everything. :lol:
Message: Posted by: ClodAppleleft (Mar 4, 2003 07:32AM)
My daughter, at 2 years old, loves magic. I'll vanish a silk in to my hand and she'll look at me and say, "Where it go?" And then when I reproduce it, she'll try to vanish it into her hand. She also LOVES Cups and Balls. She'll watch me practice for about an hour, and then I'll give her the cups and she'll try to imitate what I did. She has so much fun with it that I've given her her own set of cups and balls.

You're never too young to enjoy magic.
Message: Posted by: Tim Zager (Mar 4, 2003 09:59AM)
I like to use music, dancing, and games for the 2-4 yr olds in addition to VERY simple, colorful magic props. Silly dance contests, freeze when music stops, etc. I've been known to roll around on the ground with the little ones and have as much fun as they do!

Message: Posted by: keeblem (Mar 4, 2003 04:20PM)
I think there is quite a difference between 3 and 4 year olds. Most of my shows fall between the 4 - 7 year old group. I will do shows for 3 year olds but only 20 minutes worth of magic.
Mark Leveridge thinks two is too young. Funnily enough, I did a show last week (with one day's notice!) for a two-year-old's party. I told the dad straight away I didn't entertain children that young. He then told me the only 2 year old at the party was the birthday girl, everyone else was 4 and older. I agreed to do the party and luckily everything went well, but I'm not sure how much the birthday girl got out of the show.
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Mar 4, 2003 05:37PM)
The first question I ask when someone phones me for a 3 yrs or under birthday party is how old will the other children present be. If they are all under 3yrs I recommend the booker uses the money they would pay me to go and buy the kid a toy that they will really appreciate. If the other kids are older then I'll go and do the party.

I do a lot of 2-Hour parties for 4 year olds and the format and games are the same as the party I do for older kids, just performed in a more gentle manner. Even if I'm there just for the magic show, it's a 1-Hour show and the kids sit and enjoy every minute.

There is one Playgroup in Plymouth where a mum got me to go there during the day and do a 2-Hour birthday party for her daughter and 20 playgroup friends who were all 3-4 yrs old. Since then I've been back 6-7 times in the last 3 months as all the other kids wanted a birthday party by me at the playgroup.

One important thing to remember if you are booked for a young party is to make sure any toys are put away before the show. Some mums put toys out in case any of the young kids don't want to watch the show and they think it will keep the kids quite. It has the opposite effect and can cause a huge distraction. If one kid decides to play with the toys (which will have the same magnetic effect on the kids as a box of chocolates has on my wife), it has a falling domino effect and you'll lose the kids one by one as they'll all want to play.
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Mar 4, 2003 07:27PM)
haa haa Emazdad, that is a good point about the toys and very well put. I always tell parents to hide toys away before the show. I don't like having to begin my show by confiscating toys, especially with shy preschool age children.

I went to one party recently where all the kids were armed with plastic swords and toy guns. They ambushed me as soon as I walked in the room.
Message: Posted by: Jerry Hornak (Mar 5, 2003 10:16PM)
I had to laugh, Andy, that happened to me once!

I'll do a show for three year olds any day! You have to start off gentle, then keep it moving, keep it funny, and make the magic more "surprise magic" where something unexpected happens.

Out of all the ages I do shows for, I'd have to say the four-year-olds are actually my favorite group! While they won't get the magic the sixes and sevens understand, their laughter is so heartfelt that they are a joy to work for. And their laughter makes the adults crack up. A bonus!

Once, years ago, a daycare pulled a switch on me and gave me an audience of all twos! I simplified a few helper tricks, shortened the show, and spent more time petting the dove and bunny. It worked out well but wasn't as much fun for me since they wouldn't get my jokes! :D