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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Building a Children's Routine (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Eric Lott
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I'm reluctant to start a new thread because I'm sure the answer is buried in here if I dig long enough. I'm a high school teacher so most of the stuff I perform is for that age group. I'm also involved with younger kids at church and church camp (K-6th grade). There have been several ocassions when something has gone wrong and I've volunteered to fill-in with magic. The only problem is that I don't have a children's routine. I've adjusted things I already do and tried to relate it to them. I'm looking to build a generic children's routine and just have it in my closet. That way, if something comes up last minute, I grab my case, modify it quickly for the audience or event, and am ready to go.

I don't have much children's material, but here's what I do have that I think is age appropriate:

Sponge balls
Professor's nightmare
TT
D'lites

Here's what I've decided I must have based on the threads I've read:

Magic coloring book
Silks
Some kind of humorous magic wand routine

I guess my questions for you guys are:

1. What are some good resources for this audience?
2. Which effects or routines do I really need to have on my list?
3. I'm pretty comfortable and confident in front of this age group, but what are some tips I should keep in mind?
4. Is there anything I'm overlooking?

I really appreciate your help! Looking forward to what you have to offer.

Eric
Smoke & Mirrors
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Eric,

Check out the recent Laughs Per Minute Thread (LPM) for some GREAT ideas and resources from Dennis. It's still on the first page of threads as of this evening.

How much time do you have before the show date? Do you have a magic shop close or do you internet shop? The Axtell Board is HOT with kid's performers right now, (www.axtell.com), books by David Ginn or Mark Wilson would be great, an effect called Peanut Butter & Jelly is a huge hit although it may becoming slightly saturated in the kid's market.

I always like to make sure I do one from EACH of these catagories:
Make something appear
Make something vanish
Make something grow in size
Make something shrink
Make something Float
Make something Change Colors
Make something Switch Places with something else
Make something happen that they see, but you never see it

Answer to #4. Whenever possible, use a kid for the magic, interact with them, make this personal, learn their names, get down on the floor with them sometimes, laugh with them not at them, have fun at your own expense and never stop learning.

Spend about a week reading old & new threads here and you will pick up a TON of information!

Good luck.
aaron
Bob Sanders
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Aaron,

I like your approach!

Bob Sanders
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Scott O.
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Eric,

You're right. This topic has been covered many times on this forum. However, here's my quick go at your questions.

1. What are some good resources for this audience?

There are so many good resources available these days. I couldn't name them all. But here are a few names to check out. David Ginn, Samuel Patrick Smith, Steve Taylor, Barry Mitchel, David Kaye (Silly Billy). Each of these people have a website.

2. Which effects or routines do I really need to have on my list?

That really depends on your personality and performing style. Get some books and videos by the above gentlemen, and you will see plenty of material to choose from. Keep in mind that a simple prop can make a dynamite kid show routine. . . or it can bore them half to death. Check out David Kaye's book Seriously Silly for more on that. Since you mentioned the coloring book, he has a great routine with that prop that will have the kids screaming (and I mean that literally).

3. I'm pretty comfortable and confident in front of this age group, but what are some tips I should keep in mind?

Relax and have fun.
Aaron had some great tips regarding this question. Use lots of audience participation, and even bring your body down to their level at times.

Remember that fooling your audience is only part of your job. Kids may enjoy the bits with the funny wand, or your 'look don't see' portion of the trick more than the big magical ending.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
flourish dude
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David Ginn's Crash Course on Kids shows is a great book on how to build a show. Super information!
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
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The Mighty Fool
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I'll second David Kaye's books....especialy "Seriously Silly".

The magic coloring book is 99% performance, so make sure you have a good routine for it.

The ballerina-hank is a NEVER-fail laugh-getter, and if you use a green hank, it ties in nicely with a crystal tube routine. (pm me if you want details)

Get the breakaway wand, and a set of nesting-wands. That's MY prefernce, but if you want a REALLY big selection of joke-wand effects, check out Hocus-Pocus!

Change-bag. Probably one of the most ultra-useful props in the kidbiz. Can be used to facilitate dozens of color changes, place changes, appearances & vanishes.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
danryb
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You're going to have to "think children" and psychologicaly learn what makes them laughhappyentertained.
I once read that laughter comes about from a scare of some sort.
I tried this by telling the kids a story and building up suspense by speaking very very quietly for about a minute and then I turn my head towards the audience and "BOO" - they jump and start laughing as if I just told the funniest thing.

Also, funny things like pretending to break a plastic egg on your head or tying a balloon to your fingers or misnaming the colors of 3 handkerchiefs or calling yourself a little girl or have one of your juggling balls come crashing down on your head or pretend that some creature is in your magic box and bites the tip of your finger or pretend to fall asleep and snore standing up in the middle of your act.

of course there are some wonderful props available - make sure they are big and visible, colorful and well built because once you start performing for kids you wont want to ever stop and you want this stuff to look good for a long time.
Silks can be ironed and sponge balls are great in the hands of kids.

Patter is a magicians term for thinking up and writing lines that go well together with props.
Actualy good patter and good props = a routine.
7 to 10 three to five minute routines = a childrens show.
You can have a set order for these routines or just perform them as you want. The idea is to collect and create as many routines as possible and then make your own selection of the best and funniest ones according to the fun and entertaining and even educational effect they have on the children.

You can entertain and educate at the same time although I would seperate the two if you intend entertaining.
If you intend educating, then that is fine - you can add as much entertainment as you want.

Just give it some thought and plan your routines carefully.

Hope this helps,
I could probably go on for pages here but I am sure others will also have their tips to offer.
Just like your selected routines - you want to take the best of what you read in this post and write them down and study them, understand them and imagine how they would fit your style and then try to use them in a live performance.

Enjoy,
feel free to pm if you want some more tips,
Dani
rikbrooks
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One of my friends, Eddie Gardner, runs a magic store up here and he does a lot of children's parties. He sold me mis-made flag. You wouldn't believe how it KILLED.

I use it with a change bag. It's wonderful. I got a good 15 minutes from it because the kids just wouldn't stop laughing. Well, if they liked it so much - that's what I'm there for.
Eric Lott
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Michigan
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Thanks for all of the advice. I really appreciate it! I feel like I have some direction now. I'll look into some of the resources all of you posted and let you know how things go. Thanks again!

Eric
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