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Inner circle
Los Angeles
3400 Posts

Profile of JamesinLA
I think I'll go for it next time it comes in. I will put together a "show" that fits them. Probably with a few games mixed in. Squeaker gags, etc. As Pete Biro would say, "Stay tooned."

Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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Eternal Order
High Desert
11989 Posts

Profile of Decomposed
I just posted a real headache promotional free show I did today and the children were all 4 yrs old and younger (others in school). Having it just that age group made it worse with all the loudness, wondering people etc.

I attempted Fraidy Cat Rabbit and it bombed. What worked was the rabbit in hat puppet, square circle at end (long streamers), silk vanish and rabbit production (but not as well as older kids).

If I had to do it over, I wouldnt have brought half the stuff I brought. Puppets, puppets, puppets! Did I say puppets? I left my Human Hand Reggie at home suffocating in his huge zip lock plastic and my purple bird.

Oh well, free show, lessons learned but I did learn something. Since it was so very loud at the indoor play ground and the kids could not be heard, I thought of something quickly:

I told the 6 or 7 kids there to help me do the next trick. I would count to three and on three, they were to scream as loud as they possibly could. I did this several times and adults then looked (paid no attention to me before then). I did this several times and at the end of the show, the owner of the place came up to me and said he heard the kids screaming. I didn't tell him what I did but at least something postive came out of this experience. The show was a vendor promotion for the business, I got paid nothing and really don't expect to get any business out of it. Just rack it up to lessons learned in this business.

Thanks for listening.

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Regular user
Toronto, Ontario
131 Posts

Profile of Allan-F
On 2005-01-22 19:57, todd75 wrote:
You need to come up with a starting point for your services.

I think that's exactly right... and that cut-off point will be different for different performers.

But I strongly suspect that it is not possible to do magic, per se, for two-year olds. It may be possible to do activities you and the parents/teachers think are magical, and to perform in such a way as to entertain the kids successfully, but I suspect you will not really be doing magic, whatever you decide to call it.

I will tell you about an interesting experience I had doing a summer-camp magic club and a science club at the same school at the same time. I had several groups, according to age, including a group of mostly 4-5 year olds. Most of the kids were in both the science and the magic club. I had done this sort of thing before, but always with 6-7 being around the minimum age. What I found is that most of the 4-year olds could not in any way distinguish between the two clubs! Both involved fun activities with lots of amazing, unexpected things happening. Both involved an adult showing them some amazing things, and then getting them to do some amazing things of their own. They just could not distinguish.

Magic is, by definition, the violation of natural law by an act of will. At a certain age, children are still figuring out what "natural law" is. They may have tentative ideas about it, but they are still finding that their conceptions are routinely violated, and subject to constant revision, so "magic" is not really a category for them yet. They may use the word as a category of some sort, but they are associating it with incidentals... with certain costuming, animals, props and so on.

I have not worked with 2 year olds, but if most (or at least many) 4 year olds don't have magic as a category, I'd guess there are very very few, if any, 2 year olds who do. The brighter 4 year olds do get it, however, so it really does depend on the individual child. I'd guess the "age of magic onset" to vary between 3 to 6, depending on the child (just my guess).

On the other hand, if I worked with 2-4 year-olds more, I might find that they all have magic as a category, and it is just a matter of finding the right effects... but even if this is so, the process of finding the right magic effects would not at all be the same as finding those that are most entertaining.

It just seems to me, that when many magicians do magic for pre-schoolers, they make it work by focussing on what is entertaining to the kids in general, and allowing the magic to drift to the sidelines. That is fine, in so far as it works, but at a certain point, one wonders, why keep any "magic" at all? Why not just have a puppet and comedy act, and be done with it. Why the pretense that it is a "magic" show?

Just some thoughts,


"What can be thought of or spoken of necessarily IS, since it is possible for it to be, while it is not possible for NOTHING to be." -- Parmenides
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