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Topic: Kids Magic Show
Message: Posted by: Lukas (Jan 14, 2005 07:55AM)
In April I am doing my first kids magic show. I would like some help from people who have performed for children. What type of tricks should I use? How to control the kids, and are there any good web sites that will show you how to make balloon models? At the moment I have got five tricks that I will perform . They are:

vanishing silk with the TT
Hippity Hop Rabbits
Colour changing ball to jumbo square
NO Tear Kidz Banner
Colouring book

If anyone has got a good kids routine with the change bag and would like to share it with me, then send me a PM. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Handydandymagic (Jan 14, 2005 08:18AM)
If you would like some good ideas on kid show magic and routines, go to the kidabra.org. They have a lot of great ideas and routines.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 14, 2005 09:23AM)
Be sure to poke around in [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewforum.php?forum=17&24641]The little darlings[/url] for other possible ideas and advice.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jan 14, 2005 01:46PM)
Kids magic does not need to be silly magic. From my experience...

They love the cups and balls.
They love sponge balls.
They love Slydini Silks especially when you use an adult and a child together.
They love Linking Rings.
They love a good rope routine.
They love paper Balls Over the Head, etc.

I try to make kids shows family shows, and encourage as many adults to participate as possible. I might do things a little differently. I might focus on different
things. I let kids come up after the show and paw the cups and fruit
as it is a good diversion while you put everything else away.

I've been told many times by parents that they've appreciated that I not do "silly kid stuff", like they were expecting. I wonder why they were expecting silly kid stuff?

If you have a good show, kids will like it and so will the adults. You DO, however, need to be more vigilant and be more controlling of the situations. With fewer pauses to keep the little darlings' attention focused. And have the ability to re-focus them quickly if necessary.

Even if you do the same effects you would for an adult show, it IS a
different show and needs to be thought about as such.

So I don't look for "kids effects". I look for effects that I love and make it work for kids. Do what you love, and use your imagination.

I need to go back and practice the Misers' Dream now. I'll be adding that one as well.

Or should I add the hippty-hop-snot-on-a-silk trick, because it's a sure way to get laughs?

Message: Posted by: David French (Jan 14, 2005 03:03PM)

I feel the same way you do. Depending on the age of the kids, 8 and up, I will do a formal sit-down close-up show. I will ask the host or hostess to use the kitchen or dining room table, and we all gather around for a Don Alan type show. It plays very well as the kids love to feel "grown up", and I am not doing the "silly kid" stuff.

However, this does not work for the younger kids; they just don't sit still that long, so I WILL do a silly stand-up show for them.

What ages do you gear your shows to?


Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jan 14, 2005 03:52PM)
My shows work for 8 and over? Younger than that...send in the clowns, baby!

I'm sure I'm offending all the great kids magicians, but I just do what I feel is right for me.
Message: Posted by: gandalf (Jan 14, 2005 04:09PM)
Some free instructions for some balloon modeling can be found at:

I find that modeling SWORDS can sometimes cause problems, as the kids start fighting one another! I like doing the dogs, parrots on perches and flowers.

I have done some PENETRATION tricks with one of "those" pens. Pens through bank notes, etc. They love that!
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Jan 14, 2005 04:35PM)
When planning a kids' show, the first thing to consider is the age of the kids. This will determine their attention span and affect the types of effects that you can perform. Generally, with younger kids (i.e., 5-8 years old) their attention spans are very short.

So, you need to focus on fairly straight forward, visual effect. With that age category, it is not necessary to put too much "meaning" into your patter. Instead, the patter must relate to things they understand, and it must keep them actively involved as much as possible. Lots of audience participation and volunteers is key. Here is a routine that I have used to great effect:

1. Silk to appearing cane (Audience Participation - Magic Word Intro)
2. Coloring Book (Audience Participation)
3. Silk Vanish and reproduction via Crystal Casket - Chameleon Silks - Change Bag
to Jumbo Silk (Volunteer)
4. Jumbo Silk to Oranges via Crystal Silk Cylinder
5. Needle Through Balloon (Volunteer)
6. Die Box or Hip Hop Rabbits (Audience Participation)
7. Milk Pitcher (Volunteer)
8. Dove Pan production of candies (Volunteer)

Depending on your presentation style and audience involvement, this type of show will run anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. The Dove Pan at the end will distract the kids enough to allow you time to pack up. Hope that helps.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jan 15, 2005 12:34AM)
Problem is sometimes the shows will be for K thru 12-year olds. Granted, one can turn the show down, but I'm not in the position to do so. Some will feel left out or bored.
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 15, 2005 01:38AM)
Guys, this is another one of those guys who not only knows nothing about entertaining kids but has taken a paying kids job without an act. I'm ashamed to say he actually lives in Plymouth. (No, I don't know him personally.)
Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Jan 15, 2005 05:40AM)
It's Billy, Clive. He's got another alias now he's so busy. lol.

Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Jan 15, 2005 06:54AM)
Hi Lukas:

The five effects/routines you listed can all play very well for kids; I think you've selected good, visual magic. Concerning the coloring book, there are a number of routines out there, but I like the routine I read in Mark Strivings' book. Essentially, you bring a child up and have him/her hypnotise the audience (via waving his fingers, etc.) into thinking they're seeing colored pictures, then blank pages, etc. That's the bare bones of the routine, but I think you get the idea.

There are quite a few good books and videos on performing for children - but I would say this forum and the Kidabra forum and the best sources of information via the internet. Go to the very first topic in this "Little Darlings" section and you'll see that Brian Lehr has indexed all the different topics (and has provided links). This will be very helpful to you.

Try going to http://www.balloonhq.com for balloon twisting information. There is a nice video/DVD by Joe Lefler you can buy for about $10.00 (US dollars) that's excellent for someone beginning to work with balloons. There is also the Captain Visual book which is superb - again, just fine for a someone starting out.

I hope this helps you. Good luck in April.

Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 15, 2005 10:05AM)
On 2005-01-15 01:34, Candini wrote:
Problem is sometimes the shows will be for K thru 12 year olds. Granted, one can turn the show down but I'm not in the position to do so. Some will feel left out or bored.

Although I do put together slightly different shows for different age groups, this is where another great tool for magicians can be a lifesaver... learn to layer your shows. In other words, design routines that have elements that appeal to many levels of intellect.

While the younger kids have more fun with silly situations, the older kids have a greater appreciation for magic on a cerebral level. With proper thought put into it, you can even have a routine that hooks them all, but on different levels.

I do the same thing with parties that have young kids and parents in the back. Because I don't want the parents left to their own devices (they can get unthinkingly loud and distracting), I throw them an occasional bone to keep them involved as part of the audience.

With various ages of kids all mixed together, often I will even "notice" that fact, and make the comment that because of this, "I will make sure to include something for everyone.", as if this is the first time I have ever done this. Of course, it's the same show I have planned for this event... a family show. It keeps them watching because even if I'm at a part of the show that directs to one specific group, the rest know that something will be coming their way in a second. I stay vigilant so as not to ignore any group for long. Call it that over-worked buzz word: multi-tasking.
Message: Posted by: Chrystal (Jan 15, 2005 07:29PM)
Hi Lukas,

You've received some really good advice, and the items you've said you have already should work out fine. You just need now to make it a show and not just a series of "tricks". You could depending on what persona you are going to pursue entertain the kids with a bit of comedy (jokes or silly props) and develop patter which kids would find entertaining with each effect you do. As many have stated previously, this really depends on the ages of the kids.

Go through it in your mind and again. Once you know what persona you are trying to achieve then you can gear your patter to that effect. You've got a couple months to work this out and feel free to ask our opinions on something you've come up with.

For myself, I only keep the balloon modeling to three different ones. I pre-blow up my balloons too and give them a choice of which animal they would like - bunny, dog or parrot on a swing. It's different at festivals where I can do a lot of different ones but find at kids parties you'll be there forever and kids can't seem to make up their mind as to which one to choose.

I pull out the balloons and make the three animals in front of the kids (now they have a visual), and then say which would you like? I then make that animal for the child. As I limit it to only three choices and the balloons are pre-blown (you can do this if you know ahead of time which animals you are doing), the kids still have a choice as to which one they liked. As a bit of customer service I always leave a few extra balloons with the host/hostess in case someone pops after I have left.

The really fancy balloon sculptures take a bit of time, so I also do that ahead of time and make a special one for the birthday child. It is kept with the pre-blown balloons which I ask the hostess to put away temporarily while I'm doing the show.

Good Luck and let us know how it's going.

Message: Posted by: NJJ (Jan 15, 2005 07:58PM)
On 2005-01-14 16:52, Frank Starsini wrote:
My shows work for 8 and over? Younger than that... Send in the clowns, baby!!!

I'm sure I'm offending all the great kids magicians but I just do what I feel is right for me.


I'm offended. :mad:

Just kidding.

I prefer 5-8 as my key demographic.
Message: Posted by: Tom Stevens (Jan 26, 2005 12:46AM)
On 2005-01-14 08:55, Lukas wrote:

vanishing silk with the TT
Hippity Hop Rabbits
Colour changing ball to jumbo square
NO Tear Kidz Banner
colouring book


Interesting to see yet another person wanting to do the colouring book. I've seen it a number of times and never felt like adding it to my show.
Message: Posted by: Jonty the Magician (Jan 27, 2005 03:26PM)
Tom, I felt the same way about the colouring book until I saw Dan Harlan's "Pack Small Plays Big - Kids' Birthday Show" DVD. Now I do it in every show - goes down a treat!

On 2005-01-15 02:38, Emazdad wrote:
Guy's this is another one of those guy's who not only knows nothing about entertaining kids, but has taken a paying kids job without an act. I ashamed to say he actually lives in Plymouth. (no I don't know him personally)

Everyone has to start somewhere, you know...
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 27, 2005 06:19PM)
Yes, Jonty, by getting an act and working it up before they go out charging for it.

Not going of half cocked and doing a rubbish job which:-

1, will knock their confidence something rotten,

2, may put the booker off ever hiring an entertainer again, which would effect all the other entertainers in the area.

You wouldn't want the punters when asked by their friends if they know any good entertainers saying, 'I hired a guy once; he was rubbish. I'd never hire another one, total waste of money,' would you?
Message: Posted by: Jonty the Magician (Jan 27, 2005 06:26PM)
True, true, I just thought you could've said it a wee bit more tactfully! ;)After all, we are all here to encourage! :bg:
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jan 27, 2005 06:35PM)
Adults are amused by tricks that make them think. Kids are amused by visual tricks. Kids take everything you say literally, so keep it simple.

With adults, you try to paint a picture with your words; with kids you must ask lots of audience response questions, like "Who's ready to have a good time?" They have a very short attention span, so you must work fast, and at the end of every trick take a bow to let them know it's time to clap.

Just my experiences.

Al Angello
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 28, 2005 01:47AM)
Hi jonty,

I used to be more tactful, but if you stay in the Café long enough you'll realise just how often you get these total beginniners who've not even got their toes wet in the performing water come along thinking they can go out and earn money. To exagerate a tiny bit it's almost like this.

I got a magic trick in my christmas cracker my friends thought it was great, I saw a guy do a magic show for some kids and now I want to do kids parties, I've got one booked next week can you tell me how to do it.

Two things wind me up, 1, the stupidity of the question, and 2, the number of people who think it's OK and start giving them advice on how to do it, rather than doing what the more professional members do, which is tell them it's wrong and point them on the proper path you should take before you get to the point of being able to sell your show.

I got fed up repeating the "Get a show, do some freebies" line over and over, so now I just go straight for tactless.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jan 28, 2005 12:14PM)
I must say Emazdad is absolutely right. You must have a show, and know it well before you charge peolpe to see it. My previous advise is based on years of experience which can only be learned after years of practice.
Al Angello
Message: Posted by: Jonty the Magician (Jan 28, 2005 12:57PM)
I think I'd better point out that I, too, entirely agree with Emazdad's sentiments. It's just that, in this particular case, do we know whether or not Lukas already has magic performing experience but just not with kids? If so, then there's nothing at all wrong with giving him the advice he needs to add another 'string to his magic bow'. If not, then fair comment. Emazdad, do you personally know this guy? If not, don't you think it would be more prudent to find out something about him before passing judgement?

Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jan 28, 2005 01:01PM)
I've chatted with him via PM since then Jonty, and hopefully he will be coming along to the Plymouth circle, his previous performing experience is very very limited, basically a tiny bit of street magic in Torpoint, his dad stitched him up with the show.
Message: Posted by: Jonty the Magician (Jan 28, 2005 01:18PM)
Now THAT I think is great Emazdad! What better way to encourage him than to get him involved with a circle. I think you'll find that he goes on to become a valued member in Plymouth and will be someone who's proud of his art. If we don't encourage these kind of folk, then what will happen to the future of magic!

Message: Posted by: fredpaulbailey (Jan 28, 2005 01:22PM)
I don't mean to sound stupid but at the topof this post the poster wrote:
vanishing silk with the TT
What does the TT mean? Iv'e been doing magic for 34 years and I've seen it other places in the Café' and I can't figure out what it means!
Please help!

Message: Posted by: mrj (Jan 28, 2005 01:27PM)

TT refers to a thumb tip.
Message: Posted by: fredpaulbailey (Jan 28, 2005 02:34PM)
Oh. Now I really do feel stupid! Thank you Mr. J.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 28, 2005 02:56PM)
I don't think you should feel stupid at all, but ...

... it might be useful to have some kind of a "terminology" thread set up somewhere. Is there a way to do this and still keep a modicum of secrecy where needed?
Message: Posted by: Tom Stevens (Jan 29, 2005 11:15PM)
I had to figure out a few things too: TT, IT, C&B, and ****, and ***, and *****.

(I still haven't figured out the last one)
Message: Posted by: Joe Mauro (Jan 29, 2005 11:58PM)
Pick effects yu enjoy performing, but remember, you are the magic. Docc Hilford has a nice video called "20 minutes with a balloon" where he uses balloons to entertain. Your personality carries more weight than the effects, I think.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jan 30, 2005 12:43AM)
Interesting to see yet another person wanting to do the colouring book. I've seen it a number of times and never felt like adding it to my show.

How true....last time I used it I heard "we already saw that" too many times.
Message: Posted by: ChrisJ (Jan 30, 2005 09:47AM)
The coloring book is a fun filled trick, however the problem I see is that it can now be bought at any novelty shop or and Gags and gifts store, where they are just laying out for people to flip through anyway. I imagine in the right setting with a routine not based on the coloring book as its center it can be strong, maybe tying in crayon appearence/disapearence etc.
Message: Posted by: silapmata (Jan 31, 2005 04:49AM)
Normally Kids are noisy & like to grab things when perform surrounding so I do not know whether you perform surrounding or on stage. If on Stage you hv no problem cos you can manage your props and kids will not be able to disturb your props.But if you perform surrounding, it is better to plan as minimum prop as possible, for me I normally use egg bag, changing bag, sponge balls, couple of rope tricks & escape tricks (Chilren luv to tie magician).Normally I wiil not do show more than 1 hr with children surrounding.
Message: Posted by: Tom Stevens (Jan 31, 2005 05:59AM)
When I'm looking for things to add to my show it's got to be something that the kids can look at from every angle, won't know the secret if they grab it, and of course can be used in a funny way.

No balducci levitation. Kids will drop down on their tummy to get a better view. Palming has to be timed meticulously and those angles are tricky when kids will get anywhere without notice.
Message: Posted by: silapmata (Feb 1, 2005 05:07AM)
For every angle, I recommend egg bag e.g you pretend to put the egg in your arm pit & let them scream where is the egg? U will point to all the wrong place where you put the egg then on the last moment they will scream to their lung.. it is in your armpit then you open & it is empty..It will be hillarous. Another is mobius strip it is definitely a kids hit.
Message: Posted by: Allan Olive (Feb 1, 2005 12:18PM)
Earlier some had mentioned performing for different age groups. Silly Billy gave a lecture on this very subject at the SCAM convention in South Carolina this year. He brought kids up from three different age groups and demonstrated how he approached each level differently. He had those kids wrapped around his fingers. It was a very practical and informative lecture. If you get the chance to see him lecture on this topic or if he has notes available, it may help clear up some of the issues presented here.

I just found the lecture notes availiable on his site: http://sillymagic.com/lectures.html

The lecture he gave was called:
The Psychology of Performing Magic For Children

I highly recommend it and I think you will enjoy it.

Message: Posted by: Tom Stevens (Feb 21, 2005 06:20AM)
Some things of course are used briefly and will not get examined, like appearing canes and such.