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Dennis Michael
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Silly billy's new new book, "Seriously Silly" How to Entertain Ch......dy
is also an excellent book to understand how to entertain children.
Dennis Michael
Dennis Michael
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Some one PMed and ask how a posting can get on top. He was new to the Café and thought this thread was worthy of review.
Dennis Michael
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Profile of sspanks
Will somebody please post the best time of year to do certain shows for day care? I know February is Dental month but not sure about others except the obvious Holiday shows. I guess Child safety in the fall?


Dennis Michael
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A theme show strickly focuses on a specific topic for that weekly half-hour show. Themes can focus on holidays, educational messages, special occasions, etc.

The entertainment for the weekly show can focus on that theme.

Shows can focus on:

  • Jan: New Year's Day, January 1st.
  • Jan: Birthday of Martin Luther King, third Monday in January
  • Feb: Groundhog Day, February 2.
  • Feb: Lincoln's Birthday, February 12.
  • Feb: Valentine's Day, February 14.
  • Feb: President's Day
  • Feb: Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February
  • Mar: St. Patrick's Day, March 17.
  • Apr: April Fools's Day, April 1.
  • Apr: Easter
  • Apr: Earth Day, April 22
  • Apr: Arbor Day is often the last Friday in April
  • May: Mothers' Day, second Sunday in May
  • May: Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May.
  • May: Memorial Day, last Monday in May
  • Jun: Fathers' Day, third Sunday in June
  • Jun: Flag Day, June 14th.
  • Jul: USA Independence Day, July 4.
  • Jul: Parents' Day, fourth Sunday in July
  • Sep: Labor Day, first Monday in September.
  • Sep: Grandparents' Day, Sunday after Labor Day
  • Oct: Fire Safety, 1st week in October
  • Oct: Columbus Day, second Monday in October
  • Oct: United Nations Day, October 24.
  • Oct: Halloween, October 31.
  • Oct: National Magic Week, October 31 week.
  • Oct: Tribute to Houdini, October 31.
  • Nov: Veterans Day, November 11th
  • Nov: Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November.
  • Dec: Christmas Day, December 25th.
Dennis Michael
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Profile of MagicKev

Your posts on this subject have been invaluable.

As a former teacher of very various ages of children (toddler, preschool, elementary, middle school), I can tell that you possess great insights into how children think about and perceive magic.

During my long career as a teacher I was basically performing for children all day long. I discovered that the best way to hold childrens' attention was to first grasp hold of their minds by crafting stories that would draw them in to my lesson. Allowing the children to interact during the lesson, either with me or each other, was another effective teaching technique. It's very difficult for children (actually, for anyone) to learn if they are bored.

Performing magic effectively for children (and adults to some extent as well) relies on those very same principles. I've had the most success with the simplest effects that were presented as part of an engaging (funny, dramatic, silly, or scary - it doesn't matter) story. Adding appropriate music to a routine helps to draw the children in to the story, heightening the emotions of the routine. The music also allows you to stop talking at times without it actually being "quiet." (By the way, don;t be afraid to stop talking to the children. One of the things I learned while teaching was the power of silence over children.)

Here's an example. Accompanied by a version of the song "When You Wish Upon A Star" playing softly in the background, I asked the children if they knew about "baby stars." I explained that just like people have babies, stars can have babies too. Normally these baby stars spend their time circling around their mommy and daddy stars... but sometimes they sneak off to come down to earth to play. "Have you ever seen one of these baby stars? No? Of course not, they are invisible to us because the move so fast that our eyes can't see them (while moving my fingers quickly in front of my face in a blur. So they fly around amongst the trees and the animals and the people."

Dimming lights while I light a candle. No comments, just dim the lights and light the candle, but keep talking about the baby star.

"Well, ever since I learned about baby stars I've been determined to find one. Well, I discovered that I could use magic to not only see baby stars, but to actually grab hold of them (reaching out in front of me to "grab" a star between my fingers). The only problem is that baby stars are very hot. They burn red hot, so I can only hold one for a few seconds at a time before I have to let it go. Would you like to see one?"

"Well you're in luck, because last night I caught a baby star and brought it here today. Would you like to see it?"

At this point I either bring out a small clear glass lantern that resembles a glass and brass "cage," complete with a small door, covered with a large silk, or depending on the venue, I may have had it sitting in view but covered throughout the show. I dramatically remove the cloth and walk around with it allowing each child to see into the "cage" up close.

"Can you see it? Of course you can't, remember, they are invisible. But I can show you. Do you want me to let it out? I have to warn you that if I do it will fly all around the room...Okay."

At this point the music changes to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I don't comment on the music. But I do say, just as it starts, " By the way, every time a baby star comes down to earth a rainbow appears in the sky."

I slowly open the door to the "cage" (I never refer to it as a cage - too negative a word) and reach in and "grab" the star (with a red d'lite - you need two for this routine) and throw it into the air. I then walk around the room and grab it with both my left and right hands, being careful to conceal the one not in use in my back pocket - easy to do when the audience is looking at your other hand and you turn slightly to the side. This move also allows you to show your hands "clean." I then cup my hands together with the "star" inside and nearly visible between my fingers. I walk amongst the children letting them see the star in my hands blinking. I let it go in the room. I then approach the candle and tell them that sometimes baby stars hide in candlight. I pick up the candle, hold it directly in front of me and blow it out simultaneously "grabbing" the star from the wick just as it's blown out.

I end by telling the children that the baby star has to go home to it's parents in space and I capture it one more time and toss it towards a nearby window (or just up to the ceiling if you don't have a window.

Both halves of the routine, the intro and actual appearance of the star, are timed to coincide with the songs.

The entire routine lasts about 8-10 minutes and the kids are spellbound. Not a peep. Less than half of that time is spent performing "magic." However, the looks on the childrens' faces tell me that the true magic is in the story. They are hearing something that they've never heard before - before they see something that they've never seen before. Their imaginations make the magic happen before I do.

I've had parents tell me a year after I've performed this that their children still talk about "baby stars."

I apologize if I've gone on too long. I thought it was important to provide a complete example in order to effectively illustrate my point.

Den is right, let your imaginations take flight. Find a trick you can master and then just spend some time daydreaming about it. Inspiration can come from a favorite song as well. For example, I really wanted to use the song "Under the Sea" in a routine so I came up with a routine involving my pet fish named "Abracadabra" who keeps vanishing in his bowl because, you know, it's not easy having pets when you're a magician. You see, being around all of that magic all of the time in your house, pets tend to develop a few skills of their own... It took me two years to come up with an idea for the song, but just five minutes to create a ten minute routine that is now my finale!

Thanks again Den for inspiring me (as well as countless others who have read your posts) to continue to develop new routines.
Dennis Michael
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Your post MagicKev, is not to long. Your point is clearly understood by it.

Dennis Michael
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Profile of edwin
Nice posts all! I'd really like to read about more of your routines MagicKev--that one about the star is a jewel!
Potty the Pirate
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Thanks guys, for making this the best thread I ever read at Magic Café. This is what the site's all about, isn't it? Our "talents" are gifts, and if we share what we have, we will be given more in abundance.
Ethan the emazing
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Thank you so much for posting that.
Ethan The Great
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Could you tell me what a good street magic routine would consist of ?
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Dennis- I just wanted to thank you for sharing the great posts. They seem like an outline for a book (hint hint) Smile
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
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Nice posts everyone.
And, great outline you got there Ron.
Peace on the Magical Streets
~Nick V.~
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Profile of Krisgar
Sorry for this De-ja-vous moment, but I'm serious; Great Post DEN, I seriously enjoyed reading that as I have wondered about the outline of my own kids show and I'm pleased to say various bits matched.

A fully worthwhile post.
Krisgar Entertainments
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Wow!!! Great stuff from Dennis. Thanks!!! Will incorporate it in both magic show and Ventriloquist act Smile

Thanks again...

"The Old Path"

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WOW, this is one of the best post I have looked at so fair.
Dennis Michael
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On 2005-05-17 09:35, Police Magician wrote:
Den, I also have to congratulate you on some fine points for these type shows. A friend of mine wrote a book on those doing magic for daycares. Tom Boleware of Pine Belt Forum put it out earlier this year.

Since he owns a daycare, and is a magician, he has put some info that is much needed to know the trials and tribulations of doing shows at daycare. You can email Tom at TomBoleware@aol.com for further info on the book.

Glenn Hester

I didn't realized that I did not commet on this post.

Absolutely one of the best books on Daycare Magic is from af Daycare Director and Magician, Tom Boleware. It is a must read book if this is the field you want to get into. It is a good area, fun area, great audience, and can lead to more birthday parties as well as elementary school shows.

For more information on this book go to Tom's Forum and read about it and how to purchase it: Tom Boleware's Pine Belt Magic Forum
Dennis Michael
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Thank you for your posts. I am getting back into performing magic for birthday parties. These posts are perfect to make sure I am not missing something. Plus, it will help me to stay organized.

Thanks Again,

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Thank You for all the great info. I will be able to make sure I maintain a professional level with all your great posts. So many ideas all brilliant.

Hugs N Giggles
Doug Higley
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Good Grief!! I've been years on this Café and just now fell upon this terrific thread and EDUCATION from Dennis. My vote for the best thread and posts EVER. Thanks Dennis...as a creator, this is enough food for thought for a lifetime! (mine anyway.)

Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
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All I can say is WOW!
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