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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The tricks are on me! » » This was a wonderful day at the Children's Hospital (31 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Aug 29, 2014, lilpixie wrote:
Reading this thread brought tears to my eyes. You all are doing amazing work. Not to get off
topic but I try to touch lives every day by a simple smile. Each day I increase that number, such as today I smiled at 38 strangers. I pick out the people my heart tells me they need a smile. 7 out of 10 I get a smile back. I don't worry about the ones who don't smile back because I know I gave them mine. Keep up the amazing
work.... Smile


When you meet someone without a smile, give him/her one of yours! --A smile is worth a million dollars, and doesn't cost a cent!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
RookieMage
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Hey Theo, Great Work, and keep it up! Volunteer work like this pays off in many ways, and helping sick children is such a Good Thing that your rewards should be substantial. When I do service/volunteer work, I try to find the balance between my work life, home life and volunteer life. And I (selfishly) try to keep the volume of volunteer work at a level where I can go into it feeling excited/not burned out. I pick that level of commitment so that my work will remain enthusiastic and meaningful and to avoid volunteer burnout.
pklett
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I have been a pediatric nurse for 22 years, I first started dabbling with magic when I started nursing, I put together a small tackle box with a few good effects and used to bring it to the hospital all the time. Tricks are fun for the kids and also a great form of distraction. The case got put away years back, and I'm not really sure why, other distractions and interests I suppose, however my son is now 9 years old and the tackle box came back out and got dusted off and with his increased interest in the art it has now become a trunk and we have fun performing and practicing together. I work at a childrens hospital and hope to polish our act to the point where we can vistit the kids and perform. I guess it would be good practice as well as kids are sharp. thanks for hearing my 3 cents.
Be Well
,peter
zoescout
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This is a great thread! I am in the medical field and I use magic in hospitals and it is such a great way to bring a smile to someone who desperately needs it. It is a great form of distraction and I have used simple routines right before a procedure and it is amazing how it relaxes both kids and adults...If you can volunteer in a hospital setting you will make a difference (in both the patients and your life)! Kudos to all!!!
JayLugh
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This is a really inspiring thread. I've been trying to figure out what sort of first audience to aim for (outside of friends and family) just to give myself a sort of frame to work within, and this thread makes me really want to work out a show for my local Children's Hospital, once I get to a place where I can perform. It might take a while, but having a goal in mind will help motivate.
MAV
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I just received approval this week to be a volunteer "walk-around" magician on the Pediatric Ward of our local hospital. Big, big excitement!! I am essentially retired this year and will be achieving my long-time goal of volunteering in this fashion. So, between now and the end of January I will be literally "getting my act together."

My thoughts are to put together tricks that achieve three objectives, 1)Quick, 2)Colorful, and 3)Humorous. The ages range from 2 to 17 and the average stay is 3 days. I would like to go once a week, thus there will always be fresh faces and I don't have to be concerned about repeats. I will be going room-to-room and will have access to one of their mobile tray tables. Therefore I can use my mat and will have room to set up some small parlour items.

I am looking for ideas from my fellow Magi on this thread for tricks, effects and even patter that works well in this kind of setting. Thanks Bunches for your input!!!!
Theodore Lawton
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Hi MAV!

I'm not around here much lately, so forgive me if I don't get back here too soon and if you've already been asked this question; but what is your skill level? It's hard to suggest things without knowing much about you.

But...

There's a lot I can share with you. Forgive me for putting it out as I think of it and not in any real order.

If you're going room to room I would suggest figuring out pocket management similar to doing party strolling. You want little to no reset and you want stuff that packs small and plays big. You can quickly reset out in the hall before your next room, but you don't want to be doing a complicated reset after every room. I would forget the parlor stuff if it involves big props. It would just depend on the parlor tricks you want to do. Rope tricks are parlor and work well in the hospital.

You're really going to be doing close up because the kids are often in their beds.

You can't be letting kids handle props unless you can easily clean them immediately after. No sponges, they are germ carriers.

The tray table may work for you. I invested in a wooden folding table that worked well for me. Just keep in mind that you don't want to be getting in people's way, hospital rooms can be crowded with wires, nurses, family, etc. Dragging a rolling tray table room to room might be a pain in the neck. Just a thought.

Things you can do completely in your hands work well.

Contrary to what many seem to believe, kids like card tricks.

Colorful costumes work well with the kids and staff!

Try to inject humor into it if that's who you are. Kids love to laugh and have fun, but so do the parents. Parents with kids in the hospital need relief too! They will appreciate you if you can tell jokes and make them and their children laugh.

I have no idea what your skill set is or what you like to do "magically," but here is a list of props and tricks I found to work for me:

Mini Chop Cup- I actually bought Bunny Hop from Bob Solari, replaced the balls that came with the hat and bought some little rabbits from Oriental Trading to use as giveaways.

Coin Funnel- works great on a little table, fits in pockets, battery finale, is great for parents and kids.

ACR to wallet- all the kids loved taking their cards home.

C/S/B

For the younger kids I would carry a hot rod or two, or three...

A TT and silk

Rope and a small pair of scissors

ID

You get the idea. It was all either fun, colorful, interactive or all of the above.

I only spent about 15 minutes per room. You get to do a little show and move on. Before you know it you've been there 2-3 hours.

Summary: Keep it simple, make it fun- like my buddy Dick would say.

Theodore-
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
Dick Oslund
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Hey Theodore!

Good to see you here again!!!

PM me if you have a free minute!

--And, as always>>>>>>>>>>>>> K I S M I F! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<< {MAV! See Theodore's "summary", above!}
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
MAV
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Thanks Theodore for the advice, well received!!

As for my experience and skill level, I used to perform a few kid's magic shows over 15 years ago. Since then I have used packet tricks and some parlor in sales presentations throughout my sales career. I am totally comfortable in meeting and being in front of people. I just need to put together my "walk-around" routines, practice, practice, practice and gain confidence in my magic. Then take a deep breath and go see the kids.

I understand the issue about possibly passing along germs in a hospital setting. The only thing I am considering right now that would involve kids touching props would be to cut cards. I will certainly get the head nurse to sign off on this first.

The hospital does have the movable trays and thought I would use these for my mat. This would be good for cards, matrix and some coins.

As for attire, the sport coat I used to use has been hanging in the closet for 10 years and it has shrunk!!! About two sizes!! Cheap material, Ha!! So I am shopping to re-invent my previous character as kind of a river boat gambler look.

I am currently organizing my routines into segments, 3 tricks per segment. I am working on allocating 15 minutes total time per appearance. I do want to always ask permission from the child and/or parent as I enter the room and of course engage in conversation with both prior to any performance.

The items I have on my list to practice are:

Ropes: Professor's Nightmare and add some of Daryl's routines, and do a ring on a string/rope
Silks: 20th Century, TT production and another color changing silk I have had for years
Coins: I am studying Tarbell coin magic routines
Cards: One of Ammar's predictions, 4 aces and mixed up cards
Packets: Dot's Impossible, Melt, Hot Rod, Jumping Gems

I definetly will look up the ones you suggested for inclusion Theodore!!

The biggest challenge I have right now is trying to find some humorous patter. Any advice and resource you have there would be helpful too. Thanks Bunches!!
Theodore Lawton
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Humorous patter will naturally come if you're witty. Practice what you're going to say out loud when you practice at home. You'll be surprised how lines will just come sometimes! And then you will also improv lines in the trenches that will be keepers.

And- just being nice goes a long way in itself. Let's say you're not funny, no big deal- just be nice, smile and be a friendly entertainer. That works much better than canned patter that isn't "you." People might smile politely if you use cheesy jokes and humor but aren't truly funny, but that's all they're doing, being polite and suffering through your unfunny set.

What I mean is, just be a great version of you and you'll do fine. If humor is the result then great, if not just be nice and friendly; the kids will love you for being genuine.

Let us know how it goes.

Also- be prepared for the down side. It can be rough in the children's ward. It can be exhausting, for one thing, being on your feet and "on your game" for a few hours at a time. But you will also experience heartbreaking things like children dying of cancer, mothers sobbing uncontrollably, etc. It would be remiss of me to not give you this warning. You will see and experience some very sad things.

Theodore-
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.

............................................

God bless you and have a magical day
MAV
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I have been writing scripts for each routine and refining it as I practice. I want to try the humorous type of patter for not only the kids but also for the parents who are pretty stressed out with their child being in the hospital. I ran across some YouTube videos of Michael Davis, Comedy Juggler. There are a number of lines he uses which I am incorporating into the scripts I am writing. I also belong to a tremendous local magic club and they are being very helpful as well.

As for my eventual style, it will certainly be a work in progress and ever evolving. Great fun! Thanks again Theodore.
Doc Willie
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Great conversation here. My major motive for taking up magic was to have some way to connect and give people something less dismal to do in Red Cross shelters during disasters. Doing magic there is as challenging as any other setting since one has no control over circumstances. But as those above have indicated, doing this kind of work has rewards that money can't buy.

No-one says on their deathbed, "I wish I had spent less time making other people happy."
Click Clark
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My favorite thing is using magic to illustrate the Gospel. I used to get the chance to work in our church's JR. Church, but now I can also get opportunities to go to our local Detention center for troubled teens. A simple cut & restored rope, or ropes through body, when properly paired with solid teaching, go a very long way toward helping them see the truth. They love seeing me come, and I love doing it. Also, the audience is always changing; they serve their time or they "age out". So tricks I used last year, I can use again this year, and it's new and fresh again. I do want to look into doing hospital work, though. Click
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