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Topic: Close Up Magic for Kids
Message: Posted by: noland (Oct 3, 2019 03:36PM)
Something that's always puzzled me is how few reference materials--books and videos--exist that contain and teach close-up magic for kids. Dozens if not hundreds of close-up tricks with adult presentations hit the market every year, on top of the thousands that are already out there, but very few routines are released for children. As a result, many magicians, especially hobbyists, are stumped when it comes to performing close-up material appropriate for children, and flounder when they attempt to. By contrast, there are dozens of videos now on performing for kids at larger events such as birthday parties, school assemblies, libraries, etc., venues where magicians use large props not suitable for a strolling or close-up situation. I can only think of two videos that teach close-up for kids--one released by Bill Abbott, and one by Practical Magic. So I'm starting this thread to ask the question: are there other published materials available on this subject matter? And, what are your go-to tricks for children when you perform close-up? Mine are sponge balls, mouse finger puppet, and a one cup-one ball routine plus a close-up miser's dream. I recognize, of course, simply providing a list of tricks doesn't get to the heart of how to perform close-up for kids--these same props can be, and are used, for adults presentations, too. But it's a starting point for discussion.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Oct 3, 2019 10:56PM)
Https://www.facebook.com/moxiandsass/videos/402283130351339/ I never thought of D'Lites as close-up magic for kids. I was wrong.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 4, 2019 07:16AM)
KIS MIF! (Keep It Simple Make It Fun!)

Example" "Two in the hand, one in the pocket".
Message: Posted by: noland (Oct 4, 2019 07:53AM)
[quote]On Oct 3, 2019, jimgerrish wrote:
Https://www.facebook.com/moxiandsass/videos/402283130351339/ I never thought of D'Lites as close-up magic for kids. I was wrong. [/quote]

I love it!
Message: Posted by: noland (Oct 4, 2019 07:56AM)
[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
KIS MIF! (Keep It Simple Make It Fun!)

Example" "Two in the hand, one in the pocket". [/quote]

I haven't thought about this one in a while. It definitely has potential. If you don't mind my asking, what objects do you do it with?
Message: Posted by: David French (Oct 4, 2019 09:29AM)
I know this does not answer your question directly, but my experience is that you can do most any close up trick for kids. You just have to relate to them on their level. I have done all the classics for ages 4 and up for years. Coins across, sponge balls, sponge bunnies, card to ceiling etc. They all work. My point is that even if a routine is not "specifically labeled" as a kids close up routine, it can be done.
Message: Posted by: noland (Oct 4, 2019 10:58AM)
[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, David French wrote:
I know this does not answer your question directly, but my experience is that you can do most any close up trick for kids. You just have to relate to them on their level. I have done all the classics for ages 4 and up for years. Coins across, sponge balls, sponge bunnies, card to ceiling etc. They all work. My point is that even if a routine is not "specifically labeled" as a kids close up routine, it can be done. [/quote]

I agree with your comments. But it takes experience as a children's performer to adapt close-up tricks for entertaining children, especially younger children. I don't doubt that you have developed your presentations to work for kids. Which brings me to my other earlier question--do you know of published presentations geared toward entertaining kids other than the two videos I mentioned (Bill Abbott's and Practical Magic)?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 4, 2019 02:36PM)
1[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, noland wrote:
[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
KIS MIF! (Keep It Simple Make It Fun!)

Example" "Two in the hand, one in the pocket". [/quote]

I haven't thought about this one in a while. It definitely has potential. If you don't mind my asking, what objects do you do it with? [/quote]

--Darn near ANYTHING, that you can find four of!!! Oops...I did a "Charlie Miller"! (I used a preposition to end a sentence with). At a Pow Wow on the Navajo Reservation, about 35 years ago, I picked up four small, somewhat matching, pebbles, and had 7 or 8 children laughing their heads off for ten minutes!

Four crumpled corners torn from a paper napkin, four "balled up" bits torn off a dinner roll, four small sponge balls, four coins, four marbles ETC.!

It isn't the PROP, it's the EFFECT.
Message: Posted by: noland (Oct 4, 2019 02:58PM)
[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
1[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, noland wrote:
[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
KIS MIF! (Keep It Simple Make It Fun!)

Example" "Two in the hand, one in the pocket". [/quote]

I haven't thought about this one in a while. It definitely has potential. If you don't mind my asking, what objects do you do it with? [/quote]

--Darn near ANYTHING, that you can find four of!!! Oops...I did a "Charlie Miller"! (I used a preposition to end a sentence with). At a Pow Wow on the Navajo Reservation, about 35 years ago, I picked up four small, somewhat matching, pebbles, and had 7 or 8 children laughing their heads off for ten minutes!

Four crumpled corners torn from a paper napkin, four "balled up" bits torn off a dinner roll, four small sponge balls, four coins, four marbles ETC.!

It isn't the PROP, it's the EFFECT. [/quote]

I agree that this effect can be done with a wide range of materials. I was wondering whether you actually use this specific trick in your close-up repertoire for kids, and if so, what you do it with. Coins? Bills? Paper balls? Marbles? Other? My follow-up question would be do you make a thematic tie-in with the items used. For example, if you use bills or coins, does your presentation relate to money (other than the fact you're using money)? Ultimately, I would be curious to know how you relate the trick to kids and engage them with it. I've seen lots of magicians do fantastic sleight of hand effects with coins, cards or whatever that thrills the adults and leaves the kids indifferent and bored.
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Oct 5, 2019 06:19PM)
Kids are smarter than you think. I do the sponge rabbits, ring on the chain, and a TT silk vanish (Bunny or Houdini silk). They like to be involved in the magic. They like the little scarecrow that rises in your hand. I also make them a little poodle using beads. Once they're 8 years old or so, it's a different story.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Oct 5, 2019 07:09PM)
To go back to the OP question... Though many close up tricks can be done for kids; and while I have seen some books that will add a kids routine for a close up trick, I have never seen a whole book devoted to close up for kids.
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Oct 6, 2019 08:48AM)
There are various resources for close-up for kids, but I can't remember them offhand. Some stuff works for any age of kids, like sponge bunnies, some stuff you would mainly do just for older kids, such as invisible deck - unless you you remake the trick - such as an invisible deck with letters or numbers or whatever. Some tricks don't have to be changed, just an adapted presentation of it, which may take trial and error to you figure it out. For example, I do a borrowed coin to impossible location (Nest of Wallets) but with my presentation so far I only get good responses once in a while, I need to keep changing my presentation till it works well.
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Oct 6, 2019 09:46AM)
Last night I did close up for kids at a special event. Most kids were 7 to 10 years old.
I did, ABC cards Svenglali routine, Froots deck chicago opener, sponge balls, anniversary waltz (doc Eason), TT trick with a couple of silks, colour changing silks (whit hadyn), tiny plunger, plus Any Card (richard sands). All of them went over very well and all gathered great reactions. I like using the ABC cards, as kids can follow along very well, just like the froots deck, it's easy for them to remember. The Tiny Plunger gets fantastic reactions as well. I do a simplified version with about 5 phases, and skip any complicated stuff.
I don't usually do close up for kids, but I've been having lots of fun with it lately.
I should add that I use my small table when I work like this, and not out of the hands and pockets like in an adult walk around setting. I also wear a buskers pouch that I got from Theambitiouscard.com site.
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Oct 6, 2019 11:02AM)
Yeah, I also use a buskers pouch from theAmbitiouscard when I do strolling and shows. They work out great, I can carry more stuff than I can in pockets, and I don't wear a sport coat, and I don't wear a vest half the time cause I get hot. I often combine close-up with balloons, and sometimes I even do strolling ventriloquism mixed in, I'll be doing that today at my 2hr strolling gig. I know a guy who mixes in oragami sometimes.
Message: Posted by: noland (Oct 6, 2019 11:20AM)
It's clear from the above responses that working magicians have developed their own solutions and routines for performing close-up for kids. As I mentioned at the onset of this discussion, however, there are relatively few published materials--books or DVD's--that feature routines for kids. I can only name two. There's definitely room for more. I hope there's an ambitious working magician out there who will seize the opportunity to release some of his/her material--I bet there's a market for it!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 6, 2019 02:03PM)
Little kids (primary school age) have learned a bit of basic arithmetic, and are very willing to show their knowledge. For casual work, not my regular act, I tend to adlib with them about their basic skills. So, 'we' count 2 in the left hand, and one in the pocket, Then I snap my fingers and show the three in my hand. Repeat it several times, and for a finish, all of the objects disappear.

My regular act is designed to play for Kindergartners thru high school!!!!! (and, adults, too.) I would be on the road all over the country, and, could not carry 3 or 4 different sets of props. I used no 'kiddie' props. It was mostly GENERIC props (rope. silks. cards. coins, balloons, etc. I did use an egg bag, and 3 linking rings. Presentation was different for different age groups. In small rural schools, the group was often K -- 12. I've worked a primary school group of about 1200, and once a group of 7! I've had 2000 high school kids. and 500+ college 'kids'!

In 50 years, I was never at liberty. I got my share of encores, and standing ovations. I even remember a standing "o" in an elementary school!l I've written a book about my life in magic, History, anecdotes, which are educational. Many pages of the things that 'happen', and, how I handled them. I also wrote up most of the tricks and routines used. I have a dvd with several programs with elementary kids. I never had a magic friend visit with a camera in high schools.
Message: Posted by: noland (Oct 6, 2019 02:45PM)
[quote]On Oct 6, 2019, Dick Oslund wrote:
Little kids (primary school age) have learned a bit of basic arithmetic, and are very willing to show their knowledge. For casual work, not my regular act, I tend to adlib with them about their basic skills. So, 'we' count 2 in the left hand, and one in the pocket, Then I snap my fingers and show the three in my hand. Repeat it several times, and for a finish, all of the objects disappear.

My regular act is designed to play for Kindergartners thru high school!!!!! (and, adults, too.) I would be on the road all over the country, and, could not carry 3 or 4 different sets of props. I used no 'kiddie' props. It was mostly GENERIC props (rope. silks. cards. coins, balloons, etc. I did use an egg bag, and 3 linking rings. Presentation was different for different age groups. In small rural schools, the group was often K -- 12. I've worked a primary school group of about 1200, and once a group of 7! I've had 2000 high school kids. and 500+ college 'kids'!

In 50 years, I was never at liberty. I got my share of encores, and standing ovations. I even remember a standing "o" in an elementary school!l I've written a book about my life in magic, History, anecdotes, which are educational. Many pages of the things that 'happen', and, how I handled them. I also wrote up most of the tricks and routines used. I have a dvd with several programs with elementary kids. I never had a magic friend visit with a camera in high schools. [/quote]

I've read your book, Dick, viewed your live performance DVD and had the good fortune to catch your lecture at Denny & Lee's several years ago. I recommend everyone study your materials. Now you should consider writing a book detailing some of your children's close-up material.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Oct 14, 2019 11:26AM)
[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, noland wrote:
[quote]On Oct 4, 2019, David French wrote:
I know this does not answer your question directly, but my experience is that you can do most any close up trick for kids. You just have to relate to them on their level. I have done all the classics for ages 4 and up for years. Coins across, sponge balls, sponge bunnies, card to ceiling etc. They all work. My point is that even if a routine is not "specifically labeled" as a kids close up routine, it can be done. [/quote]

I agree with your comments. But it takes experience as a children's performer to adapt close-up tricks for entertaining children, especially younger children. I don't doubt that you have developed your presentations to work for kids. Which brings me to my other earlier question--do you know of published presentations geared toward entertaining kids other than the two videos I mentioned (Bill Abbott's and Practical Magic)? [/quote]


Not specifically close-up but look to find performances by:
Chris Capehart
David Williamson
Avner the Eccentric
Charlie Frye

That will give you an idea about how to relate in a way that is fun for kids but at the same time, great for adults.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 14, 2019 01:24PM)
I understand that Dick Oslund wrote a book that has all kinds of anecdotes that are educational. He worked schools, MANY of which were PRIMARY SCHOOLS.

He toured coast to coast, and border to border, for 50 years, and was never at liberty. (Managers would call HIM to ask for his open time.

He wrote up the tricks and routines which he used, in detail, with patter, and presentations. Most of the routines used generic props, like rope, silks, golf balls, coins (Misers Dream--which was the closer, especially for elementary schools. Tricks and routines were classics, but "updated". His version of T. Francis Fritz's 20th Century Silks, was especially surprising. The Mutilated Parasol (courtesy of his friend,the late Don Lawton, got tremendous show stop LAUGHS and enthusiastic APPLAUSE.

He has played primary school groups of 1300 kids, and, seven kids in a rural one room school in Montana!

MANY of his bookings were repeat dates. Managers would send him in to "square the beef" when a previous performer had not "delivered".

His book is selling in Australia. Asia, North America, and Europe.

He also has a dvd of several school shows.

The props weigh about 25 lbs, travel in a 13" x 20" x 8" "fat" attache case, which sits on a waiters tray stand. The 45 minute program, which is designed to play for almost anyone, almost any where, uses no KIDDIE PROPS and, can be set up in 3 minutes. and, he can leave 3 minutes after it's over. He gets encores, and standing ovations. He has played two national magicians conventions, innumerable regional conventions, and twice at the Magic Castle.
Oh! he has played colleges, senior living homes, phone show (Promotions)ETC.

He sold AVNER THE ECCENTRIC. his firat thump tip!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 15, 2019 03:47AM)
I forgot to mention,,,
Nost of the GENERIC PROPS, in his show, can be done close up, for small groups,

Examples: Color changing silk (dye tube) 1-2-1 rope, golf ball routine, Ovette repeat knots, Hunter's shoelace knot, Chefalo knot, his Yoyo juggling rope, "Slydini' Knots, needle--balloon penetration, Nightmare ropes, egg bag, 3 ring routine, fancy card shuffles, 20th Century silks, Misers Dream, Dante's "Lazy Magician" paper hat, boomerang sticks, T&R napkin, Coin Go, C&R rope, etc.

He has lectured for hundreds of rings/assemblies. --also regional conventions, several national conventions, and, the Magic Castle. He has worked side shows, managed a side show, Boy Scout National Jamboree ("trade show" for Boys Life magazine). He was producing clown for Franzen Bros. CIRCUS, and, worked close up for regional conventions, and for Abbott's GTG.
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Oct 15, 2019 05:11AM)
Unless you haven't already done it, I have an idea.
Copy and paste the two above posts and when you get any hint whatsoever that anybody might be interested in buying your book about your life, you can copy and paste them into the thread. It's just on the odd chance that those of us who frequent the Café haven't read the same messages a few hundred times already. (All in jest and sarcasm intended) :coolspot: :coolspot: :spoon: :spoon:
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Oct 15, 2019 10:44AM)
Why am I thinking of Harry Lorayne right now :D
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 15, 2019 07:07PM)
Well, I've seen Chris, David, Avner, and Charlie, too. They are fine professional performers.

I'm retired, but, I suggest that you read Sandy Marshall's book. Jay and I worked dates together, often. After one, Jay told me, "From now on, I will open, and you close."

School show performers don't get seen by too many magicians, but we must do a good job, or managers won't book us. I have "finished the tours of a lot of "magicians", who couldn't do "it". I sat on the audition committee for bureaus for years.

I was never "at liberty"!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Oct 15, 2019 07:16PM)
12![quote]On Oct 15, 2019, Al Kazam the Magic Man wrote:
Unless you haven't already done it, I have an idea.
Copy and paste the two above posts and when you get any hint whatsoever that anybody might be interested in buying your book about your life, you can copy and paste them into the thread. It's just on the odd chance that those of us who frequent the Café haven't read the same messages a few hundred times already. (All in jest and sarcasm intended) :coolspot: :coolspot: :spoon: :spoon: [/quote]

Hi Al...

I don't know how to copy and paste! I was born too soon. I do know how to do a good show, consistently.