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JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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Just got a call for a two year old girl's birthday party. There's going to be about 20 other "toddlers" there as well. A few somewhat older kids.

Money is money but what do you guys think? Short show, balloons and puppets and dancing games and what else?

Thanks.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
what
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Lehi, UT, USA
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Personally, I wouldn't do it, but I am a hobbyist and can take or leave any show.
Many (probably most) two-year olds will be afraid of any stranger. You will have to be assured that there will be plenty of adult supervision.

If I were to experiment with a show like this, I would perform to the older kids and let the two-year olds share in the excitement. The activities you mentioned would be great, although if there was a majority of under 4s, I would skip the dancing games as it would be near impossible to get a group together.

Good Luck,

Mike
Magic is fun!!!
todd75
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Dear James In LA:

I am a full-time performer and work with two-year olds in daycare centers all the time. However, I don't work with just two-year olds because you can't. #1 they have no attention span and #2 they are scared of just about everything and anyone they don't know.

This is a very delicate age, and one that I strongly suggest you stay away from unless you know 100% for sure that there are going to be some older children there who are four and older, otherwise you are setting yourself for disaster. It's not that you would do a poor job, it's that young kids 2-3 years old don't get it and in the end the parents are going to judge you as a bad performer.

Just my opinion for what it is worth!
JamesinLA
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Todd,

Thanks. Better safe than sorry. However, I know they don't get "magic," but they do get puppets, I'm pretty sure. I do vent routine with my rabbit in the hat and some games, etc.

What do you think in that case? It wouldn't really be "magic show" per se.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
itsmagic
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middle earth
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Go for it...they are smarter than we think.

To this day, the two year old I did a show for still remembers me and asks his mom about the "magic man."

Of course, other adults/parents should be present with some 3-4 year olds too if possible.

Good luck.
TomBoleware
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Nope, it wouldn’t be a magic show without magic.

No, they may not understand magic, but what’s wrong with being their first magician? The puppets and stuff will be fine, but if you call it a magic show, you need to do some magic. (I take it they called you because you're a magician)

Keep the magic routines short, use the puppets, etc., and everything will be fine. They do understand more than most think, and they’re very good at learning. The two's will follow along with the others.

Good Luck with it.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

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chuckg
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If you were to take the show (and speaking from many years of experience it could be a bigger headache than you'd expect), then you'd do well to do very very visual easy-to-follow effects. Most important of all be animated, very, very animated.

Expect to put a whole lot of energy into the show because kids at that age have the attention span of a gnat; involve them a whole lot and do effects that include them such as Miser's Dream, Run, Dino, Run, Peanut Butter and Jelly(even that might be a little involved for them to follow).

Whatever you decide good luck and keep us posted on how it went.
Emazdad
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I'd turn it down. You are going to be very frustrated trying to do your show with toddlers wandering around everywhere, parents talking, etc., etc., etc. You'll feel like you're entertaining the wall.

<<<< Money is money but what do you guys think?>>>

Look in the long term. It may be money on the day, but every show is an advertisement for your services. If the kids are not watching, because they are too young, the parents will think you're rubbish because the kids are not sitting and watching you. They will tell their friends, thus you won't get any re-bookings from the show and your reputation will take a dent, all for a few dollars.

It's not worth the hassle. Another show will come in for that day.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Chrystal
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Hi James,

Keeping it very visual is good advice, and I'd also recommend lots of music which perhaps have very simple tunes for the little ones. Music soothes the savage beast they say, and it works great for toddlers too! Ha Ha!

Please be very careful with the balloons, as The World Clown Association and Clowns of America International have given out very strict warnings over the years regarding animal balloons. With round balloons the little guys can't quite get their mouths around them. It's different with 260's, as they are thin enough to be placed in a child's mouth. Balloons are the number one item (of non-food items) which have caused choking deaths in children under two in North America. I would highly recommend you not give out balloons to any child under that age and explain to the moms the reason why. The little ones immediately mouth the objects. If the children are two and over I would still inform the moms and ask that all broken pieces be picked up so as the toddlers do not pick them up and place them in their mouths.

I know I sound like a worry wart but better safe than sorry! :O) Okay, that's it for my public service announcement. :O)

Kids at approximately two love puppets, and you can entertain them with silly voices or sounds. You can even have the puppet being the one responsible for doing the magic. Just remember at this age everything is magical to them, so performing for this group will be different than older children. They love squeaky noises, sounds of bells, stuffed animals and music.

Good luck, James, and if you decide to do the show you can PM me with ideas you are working on, and I'll try to help.

Chrystal
Creative Coach
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As a daycare/preschool performer for years, I'll side with Clive as the show will not be what you expect. Having made this mistake in my performing past let me tell you what you'll encounter. Mom and Dad having a party with their pals, and you being a 30-minute babysitter. They say older kids...rarely happens. Older kids don't want to be dragged to a two-year old party.

Are you good at herding cats? Nailing jello to the wall? Do you have LOTS of experience working toddlers? Decline nicely and walk away. The headaches aren't worth it!

John
TomBoleware
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C’mon John, you know those two’s are terrific. LOL

I’ve owned a daycare for many years and have seen first hand that the “Terrible Two’s” are the worst age group. It is very hard to find teachers for the two-year-old group. Most can’t handle it. There’s more turn over with two-year-old teachers than any other age group.

But as for a birthday party, I would never just hang up the phone as soon as they said two-year-old. Find out exactly what ages are going to be there. Make it clear that you are not to be left alone with such young age group, and there must be plenty of parents there to help. Explain to the parent when they call that two-year-olds are not ideal, for a magic show can solve most problems.

James, if I can help let me know, and do let us know what happens.

(And if we don’t hear from you, we will know what happened. LOL)

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Cheshire Cat
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Jim, that one year between two and three sees vast changes in children. Girls at three will take part in, and have confidence for anything. Boys just take that little bit longer.

John's first paragraph describes the situation to perfection.

I'll even throw a question at Eric and Muriel here over entertaining babies. If it had not just been after the War, and money was scarce; and if it had not been the Jewish party circuits in Swansea, which as we all know, you need to 'get in there' as early as possible to capture Jewish families - who then subsequently recommend you and stay with you for all time - would you have deliberately aimed at babies and toddlers?

Tony.
JamesinLA
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Thanks for all the advice, guys. I really appreciate it.

Crystal, great advice about the balloons. I actually just read in Ficus' book that it's actually illegal to give a kid that age a balloon! You have to give them to the parents instead.

So here's how far my thinking went: I thought I would open Miser's Dream (which is what I open with anyway). Then some color silk work. Then I could do the rabbit puppet for sure and produce it along with all the other funny stuff I produce from my square circle.

I didn't think the two-year olds would be impressed by the production--they're too young to know the difference--but at least it would seem to the parents that they got their money's worth, magic wise. Once the puppet was produced, then spend a lot of time with the rabbit doing gags and tricks. I would work some games in there with music. Hats and costumes maybe. And end with the dove pan producing cookies.

But after thinking it over, I decided to chicken out. I called the mother back. She was very appreciative to hear back from me. I told her to use a friend of mine who is a friendly clown-type character who does preschoolers all the time. She was very happy, and I ended by saying I hope she thinks of me in a year when her daughter turns three, which, I said, is the right age for their first magic show.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
TomBoleware
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You chicken. LOL

You did the right thing. Unless you're sure it really is best not to do them. Working with the young is not for everyone. Nice of you giving the show to someone else. I'm sure the parent appreciated you being honest with them.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
todd75
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I think you did the right thing by saying "no"...lol!

You need to come up with a starting point for your services. For me, I market my show as great for ages 4-11 and fun loving adults. It's OK if younger ones are there, but I will not do a show for just the 2 & 3 year olds. Like Emazdad said, you'll be entertaining the wall if you do. Nothing will make you suck more than doing a show that the kids don't understand and the parents will view you as a bad performer. It will take your reputation down very quickly!
BIlly James
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Quote:
On 2005-01-22 09:27, Creative Coach wrote:

Are you good at herding cats? Nailing jello to the wall?
John


These sound like a couple of great routines for the daycare market.
Where are they available?

;)
chuckg
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los angeles
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You did the right thing, James. At that age it would have been more frantic than fun, and although "money is money" it would have cost more to replace the hair you'd have pulled out of your own head than anything the mom could have paid.
Tom Stevens
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I got booked for 7 shows at a playgroup (0 to 3 yr olds) in one week.

I brought my guitar, sang some songs and then told some stories with colorful props. I did some magic tricks but had to make it very simple. And I didn't dress as a clown either. Since it was December I used an Elf costume. Entertainment is entertainment.

The parents loved it, and I even got some referrals.
ericsharp
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See 'Entertaining The Two Year Olds.' Eric and Muriel Sharp
Michael_MacDonald
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I guess I have to be the outsider here, I perform for many daycares and some are 3 and under.
I do a lot of magic for the "2 year" crowd and it always goes over really well.

I will say it takes a different style. Bright colors, lots of participation, I use the color by numbers show as I sell it.

The props and routines I use: misers dream, square circle, sponge balls, comedy wand productions, just to name a few. The way to go about it, at least for me is thus:
have them count with you, scream the magic words, name the colors of silks you produce, make the jokes on you. For example with the square circle I have them count then scream the magic words, then produce the first silk ignoring the fact that the second one has come out to, turn my back to it saying "look you made a red one. They scream about there being another one, this produce and ignore goes on till the load is done acting more suprised and flusterd with each producton makes them giggle at you. It gives the party/event and air of excitment, and the parents/teachers feel they have gotten their money's worth as they see how well you react to the children.

I do believe that 2 year olds are hard to handle for most magicians as they spend more time doing older more suffisticated ages, but some of us love and prefer the smaller tikes.

It"s all in the presentation rather than the prop. Ok now I'll brace for the onslaught that will follow.

Michael
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