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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Adding tricks to kid show programs (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicmiketurner
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Central Georgia
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Hello,

I am a newcomer to the magic Café and so glad to be here. I am a amateur magician of 23 years but have gotten to the point in my life where I can do some more shows. Basically my programs need a bit of a overhauling. The tricks that I do are great tricks but I feel like they are pretty much the norm. Maybe it's just I'm tired of them. Either way I'd like some opinions from fellow magicians. Tricks I use include mouthcoils after a vanish of a silk streamer, blooming bouquet, coloring book, needle through balloon, shrinkling gloves, milk picture with variation of David Kaye's routine, Stanley the Skunk spring animal, production from crystal cylinder etc...I would be grateful if you might could comment on what I have and suggest some things that I might add. I do not have a lot of time to practice so most of my tricks are self working. Thanks in advance for your help.

magicmiketurner
tbaer
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Inner circle
Pennsylvania
1965 Posts

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Here are some I use. Could cost you some money though.

Dove pan
Flower box
Genii tube
Peanut butter and jelly
Slush powder tricks
Soft soap
Square circle
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22842 Posts

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Coloring Book with Color Changing Streamer.
Hippity Hop Rabbits or Fraidy Cat Rabbit
Cut and restored rope
Egg Bag
Matthew W
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Inner circle
New York
2456 Posts

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The tricks you do don't matter for kids. It's how you present them. You already have the basis for a good show. Get some comedy wands and other funny props and a book or two on routining and comedy. Make the tricks more than what they are.
-Matt
magicmiketurner
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Central Georgia
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I have a dove pan that I use. I also have hippity hop rabbits but have never used them. Do any of you ever use linking rings in a kids show. I have a set that I've had for years but have never used them. If so could you point me in the direction of a good routine for them. I have added a couple of comedy wands i.e. Silly Wand by David Kaye, and a set of multiplying wands. Thanks for your input. Keep it coming.
Doug Follett
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For the linking rings, Whit Haydn's 4-Ring comedy routine, available on DVD is a great one. As far as wands, I still enjoy a simple break away wand. It always gets laughs, but I never make the child feel as if it's their fault. I always take the blame. Also, I use Barry Mitchell's can-o-wands, as a "last resort" in case the magic just isn't working correctly. It's a lot of fun.

Doug
Matthew W
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Inner circle
New York
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Chris Capehart has a DVD on the linking rings for kids I believe.

Hippity Hop Rabbits is a great kids trick that is easy to put a good routine together. I don't use linking rings in my kids shows.

The breakaway wand, nesting wands, spring wand, snake wand, etc are all good. And don't just limit yourself to one or two comedy wands. Once you get the kids used to the wands doing something funny, they anticipate it each time you take out a wand. You can even use the same one several times in a row. The breakaway wand gets funnier when you do it again, and again.

Also don't limit yourself to aparatus. I don't know how much you get out of your mouth coils, but I do a 5 minute routine with one and some comedy wands.

The main thing to remember, is you aren't looking to fool kids. You are there to make them laugh and shout and have fun. The more complex the trick is, the less they will understand.
-Matt
dearwiseone
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Inner circle
Portland, OR
1143 Posts

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Magicmiketurner,
Some great advice so far. It's not the props you use so much as the way you use them. Sit down and come up with original routines for the effects you already have. It's harder to do it this way, but you'll love the routines more, and so will the kids.

Alternatively, come up with some magic routines on your own. Just ask yourself what would be funny to a kid? Kids don't need amazing magic, they just need to have fun. For example, I thought it would be funny to sit down to eat lunch in the middle of my show and have funny things happen as I try to eat my lunch. I built a few simple props and paid a visit to my local magic shop. Then, I thought of what magic tricks I could incorporate. Slowly, I added those to the routine. Now, after several years, I have a polished routine that's funny and filled with several magic effects.

Commenting on what you have...you have plenty! You've practically got a great show for younger kids! You might consider adding a running gag or two, or maybe funny wands, as was mentioned.

As Matt mentioned, don't limit yourself to what you have. Look around the house. Visit the dollar store. Look for ordinary things that you can incorporate into your magic.

Best wishes!
Kevin
magicmiketurner
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Central Georgia
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Thanks to all of you !! Great advice and instructions. I absolutely love the using magic wands...of course the kids love them as well. I also enjoy incorporation of large gags such as plastic scissors, comb and tooth brush. I have a large pencil and am looking for a large crayon that I might use in my coloring book routine but have only found the inflatables ones. I agree with all of you about routining and getting laughs. The sillier the better. It is laughs that I am after. Quoting a verse from the bible which is so true "Laughter is medicine for the soul" And...its not just the kids laughter which benefits them but it benefits me as well. I've had some issues with shoulder and back and for about a hour this morning...I felt no pain while doing a program for about 25 four year olds. What a blast ! Blessings to all of you !

magicmiketurner
danfreed
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Inner circle
West Chester PA
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Mainly go for laughs, regardless of what you do. For example, the coloring book isn't funny automatically, but mixed into a routine/gags it can be great. Use lots of audience participation and volunteers. You can sprinkle in a few "wow" tricks that are not funny, but keep it moving. Sometimes you can make the wow tricks funny also. Your approach also depends on the age of the kids. For kids who are a bit older, say 8 or 10, then you might want a bigger mix of wow vs funny, but that's up to you. Just make sure the client knows your approach when they book you so they know what they would get. Sometimes I do a gig for kids who are mostly 8 or 10 and if I do mostly silly magic (without enough wow factor)then it seems like (maybe its just my imagination - they don't say anything)they are a bit disappointed even if the show was really entertaining. Also, often the mix (age range) of kids is different than what you were told it would be, so you need lots of stuff so you are ready to do what seems appropriate. Try Cardtoon 1 and 2, it's great.
iwillfoolu
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Upstate NY, USA
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Svengali Deck...seriously.
Magician and Balloon Twister
New York Magicians
Magician New York
magicmiketurner
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Central Georgia
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Eugene mentioned something that has been a problem for me of late. I recently done a show for a pre-school. I thought the ages were going to be 3-5. However when I arrived I found out that the local public schools were out that week and that the audience was going to be age 3-12. OMG....the kids age 10-12 wanted to steal the show, talked excessively etc....the younger kids enjoyed the show but I left feelings as though I had failed.
MagiCol
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Dargaville, New Zealand
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The tricks you do don't matter for kids. It's how you present them. You already have the basis for a good show. Get some comedy wands and other funny props and a book or two on routining and comedy. Make the tricks more than what they are.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-Matt

My favourite book in this category is Silly Billy's "Seriously Silly". Seriously!
The presentation makes the magic.
Ed_Millis
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Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
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Quote:
On 2011-09-24 06:24, magicmiketurner wrote:
Eugene mentioned something that has been a problem for me of late. I recently done a show for a pre-school. I thought the ages were going to be 3-5. However when I arrived I found out that the local public schools were out that week and that the audience was going to be age 3-12. OMG....the kids age 10-12 wanted to steal the show, talked excessively etc....the younger kids enjoyed the show but I left feelings as though I had failed.


Something that you can try here is to talk directly to the older kids at the start of the show. You appreciate that they came to see some magic, and you do have some that is just for them. You're hoping they will be patient through the rest of the show, though, because there are some younger kids here who don't understand "their" kind of magic, so you'll be performing some stuff that's just for them. Then you let teh whole group know that if if the older kids will be polite for the younger, then the youger kids will be polite for the older ones. And get everyone to agree. That gives you a "handle" when things start edging towards out of control.

Crucial, though, will be your opener. If you can find or craft an opening trick that grabs everyone in the first 30-60 seconds and makes them pay attention because they don't know what's coming next, they'll be with you initially. Then all you have to do is keep the attention they've given you. Participation is the key here, rather than passively watching - but participation means different things at different ages.

Ed
Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
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Okay, I need to comment on one part of your original post. "I do not have a lot of time to practice so most of my tricks are self working."

Self working tricks have only one drawback in my mind. Other people do the same trick. Because it is self-working and they don't want to practice either. But this is really the wrong way to look at it.

Take for example the C&R rope. It takes practice, yeah. But it isn't hard to learn. Now, the way to make this good magic is to make it engaging. For kids, this usually means funny (well, for adults, too), but it can also be engaging without being funny. They need to be emotionally invested in the magic in order to get the impact of what you are doing. Make sense? There is a self-working version (Patrick Page's gimmick version), but if your only presentation is "look, here's a rope, now I cut it, now it is back together" you don't have a trick worth doing. On the other hand, check out Whit Haydn's Mongolian Pop Knot. It isn't self-working, but there isn't that much "magic" in the routine. Three cuts and restores, one Professor's Nightmare move. And he manages to fill 9 minutes without it feeling padded at all. The real magic isn't the moves, here. The real magic is the presentation.

Now, how in the world do you expect to get the kids engaged in what you are doing if you don't have time to practice? I bet most professionals spend loads more time practicing the patter than they do the moves. In this case, I'm lumping funny gestures and faces in with patter, but moves are the actual working of the tricks. Just because you can make the trick work without having to learn new sleights or difficult manipulation does not mean you don't need just as much practice. If anything you need more! There's an inherent weakness to self-working tricks that can be overcome with good presentation, but you have to practice that presentation.

On another thread, I think it was Frank Starsini who talked about the "Rock Trick." Take an ordinary rock and see how long you can entertain kids with that rock. I bet that outside of the puzzle factor, any trick is only as entertaining as you can make it through presentation.

If you don't have time to practice, you don't have time to perform.

-Patrick
magicmiketurner
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Central Georgia
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Patrick,

I take exception to your attitude and your last sentence in your post. I do not have a lot of time to practice because I pastor a church, work 50 hours a week at another job, and do magic whenever I can. I do practice whenever I get the time. Not all of my tricks are self-working but many of them are. I have spent 36 years in the ministry of which approximately 30 years of them have been spent working with youth and children. I may not be the professional as you seem to be but I am confident that I know much more about relating to children, and working with children as you do. I don't know much about you just like you don't know much about me. Perhaps you should take the time to know a little more about people before you start speaking down to them with such comments as "If you don't have time to practice, you don't have time to perform" That doesn't help anyone but perhaps it makes you feel good
dearwiseone
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Portland, OR
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Magicmiketurner,
Don't be offended by a suggestion to practice. If you're only working 50 hours a week, that's nothing. I've worked two full-time jobs and still had time to practice! Also, remember, when magicians talk about practicing, they're not only talking about practicing actual sleights, but patter, routines, transitions, production effects, etc.

Personally, I wish more magicians would practice before they performed! Do yourself a favor and practice a little. If you are practicing, practice a little more. Even if you've been around youth for 30 years that doesn't mean you don't need to practice the patter you'll use, the routines you'll come up with. If you don't practice, please don't perform. It may not be much, it may not be the hours you wish you had, but do practice a little. Your routines will be better, your performance will be better, and you'll be more confident about overhauling your shows. To accomplish things you've never accomplished, you'll need to do things you've never done, which often means practicing, especially for a beginner.

I hope and assume Mr. Woolery didn't mean to offend you by suggesting you shouldn't be performing if you don't have time to practice, but practice is one of the best recommendations I could offer to a beginner such as yourself.

Don't take offense at his comments (or if you do, address him privately in a PM). Instead, take what he said and do what you can with it.

Best Wishes!
magicmiketurner
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Central Georgia
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Ok maybe I should clarify my opening post. Before any show I practice my routines even those that I've been doing for years. Even a self working trick takes practice in order to know the working of it. My opening post was about suggestions for new tricks that I could add to my programs. I said that most of the tricks that I did were self working just to indicate what most of my tricks are. It is not that I do not wish to practice but I am limited in my time to do so. Believe me I wish that I had more time to practice. I would love to be able to do the kind of magic that you professionals do on here. As far as taking exception to what was said....I did and still do. Sounds to me like a few people might think that I just acquire a few tricks throw them in a bag and go book a show. That's not it at all. I pastor a church which requires a lot of time, I work a second job to help provide for my family and I do magic programs every chance I get mostly because I love kids. There is nothing in this world as sweet as a smile on the face of a child or the sound of their laughter. I love magic. I love children and though I am a amateur I take great pride in the programs that I do and prepare beforehand for them. I'm done and want comment on this any further. I have a great respect for other magicians, their opinions, and suggestions. However I don't have a lot of respect for those who want to cut others down. Thanks to all the recommendations and positive words said. I do appreciate them.
magicbymiketurner
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