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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Any advice? (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

cskibinsky
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Hey guys, I am looking into doing magic for children, especially at the hospital. Most of what I do has been for adults, any advice on dealing with children? I like Silly Billy, he says the kids like the funny bits more than the magic part.

Cheers,
Clay
Mindpro
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I'm curious as to why you are posting the same post in several different forums here on several different topics? You are also saying you are into mentalism and asking the same. Seems odd and a bit confusing. Also an odd pairing kid magic and mentalism.
Dick Oslund
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I think so, too!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
ku7uk3
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I discuss hospital shows in my book "Marketing Magic" (http://www.amazingstephen.co.uk/shop-marketing-material.html#Marketing_Magic) and have done them myself. However I will admit I did not enjoy them personally, the kids were fine. I'm just very paranoid about catching anything as getting ill is a phobia of mine.

Few tips. No hairy puppets. Most hospitals don't allow fur or similar materials as they spread diseases.

Some hospitals do not allow balloons due to latex allergies. So check with them first if you were planning on doing balloon animals. If you do, always use a pump. Never blow them up with your mouth for hygiene etc.

Tricks to look into: Stiff Rope, Coloring Book, silk vanish in TT, Axtell Drawing Board, Silver Septre, Appearing ten foot pole, silk through mirror.

Note that children's ages will vary and some will just want to sleep. If your doing bed visits, don't force yourself to perform. Ask them first if they want to see a trick, or let them sleep. Ive seen several people in full clown costumes deliver their unwanted entertainment on a child, who literally was scared stiff of clowns. They will never forget that experience.
If your doing a full cabaret show, aim for 25-30 minutes if your just starting. So 5 or 6 tricks / routines depending on how much millage you get from them.

Best advice I can offer if your just starting. Buy a kids joke book, go through it with a highlighter and mark the ones you think are funny. Then memorize them. Make a crib sheet if you need to, and try and pick jokes that relate to a trick you are already doing if possible. You will need to test the jokes as not all children will get the punchlines that you get, and so you will learn which to reuse, and which to forget. But learning a bunch of jokes can really help fill-in downtime in a cabaret show.
Futureal
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Avoid Stephen’s stuff, his performing abilities speak for themselves. Look him up on YouTube.
ku7uk3
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I have no idea who you are Futureal, since your hiding begind a pseudonym with no useful links. But your timing with this post is suspicious after I was defending another entertainer on FB. Regardless, please feel free anyone that wishes to, look me up on YouTube. I am very proud of all my videos, as are those that comment on them. Your post reminds me why I havent posted on here in a while. All I did was help a fellow performer by answering his question, and you make a personal attack against me.

This thread is about helping a magician entertain children who are sick in hospital. I believe that is an important subject and should be treated with respect.
Mr. Woolery
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Can't say I've seen Stephen on YT, but I will say his advice here is excellent.

The journey is more important than the destination. Since you are just starting with kids' magic, look at some videos on the old 'Tube and see what you like and what you don't. My advice is to take notes of all the performances that you felt fell flat. Some will be too long, some too short. It is possible to make a simple silk vanish take 8 minutes and be loads of fun or take 20 seconds and be sort of pathetic. Or take 8 minutes and be terribly boring or 20 seconds and be an instant miracle. Presentation makes the difference.

Stories, characters, silly situations all work well for kids. I used to do a rope routine in which I talked about how my mother taught me to tie a knot. It is a story and seemed to hit second graders the best. I remember a little boy laughing so hard he was crying. Why? Because I was hamming up being in tears myself because I couldn't understand what my mom was doing. The blubbering grown-up had the whole classroom in stitches, but one boy in particular was over the top. By 5th grade, they just want to bust you. The story is still good, but they are looking for the method.

My card through handkerchief gives a personality to the cloth. It is amusing, though nothing fantastic. Thing is, the personality of the prop is what makes this fun for kids.

What props would be improved with googly eyes? That's a start, right there. If you do cups and balls, try putting eyes on them and giving each a personality. Is one cup playing tricks on you?

Cut spongeballs in half and use leather dye to turn them into ladybugs. Give them names. Your routine tells a story about your ladybug friends.

Even a simple trick like using a french drop to vanish a small ball can be funny. Don't do it as a vanish. Take the ball, smack it into your forehead, make faces as you rub it in, then snort it out your nose. Offer to let them keep the ball. (Super balls are available very cheaply on sites like Oriental Trading.)

Whenever possible, give the kids a souvenir. I like balloon animals for cheap gifts, but as Stephen said, that might not be a good thing in a hospital. A signed card is obvious. Do a card trick that involves a card they sign or otherwise mark, then when you give it to them, write a personal message on the back and sign it. "I was glad to meet you!" Or "Get well soon!" Or whatever else you like, but remember that even a very simple gift will make a kid feel special. If you do rubber band tricks, and the kids are not allergic to latex, give the kid the bands so the magic is remembered later. You can get a lot of bands for very little money and it is nice to make the kids feel they got something.

Above all, you need to be having fun. The kids will enjoy it ever so much more if you are having a great time.

And I love both mentalism and kids magic, myself.

-Patrick
bobinsdakota
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Plus 1 for the Axtell Magic Drawing board....kids and adults love it. I've yet to see a child not smile or laugh out loud when it "comes alive".
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