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Topic: Street magic for kids: what works and doesn't
Message: Posted by: Magicman01462 (Jul 22, 2002 05:51AM)
I've found in performing magic for many different age groups, that kids, are both the easiest and the hardest to please. Here is what I've found.

Mentalism is a bad choice when dealing with kids on the street, they already believe in things like this.

Quick things are better than long, drawn out sleights. I have found that the simplest things to perform are the most effective for children of all ages.

More to come. I hope this helps someone.

Message: Posted by: cardshark101 (Aug 20, 2002 05:35AM)
I think visable card changes are good. I use them all the time when with kids. :banana:
Message: Posted by: davidpaul$ (Aug 21, 2002 11:16PM)
My greatest responses with kids are definitely the Nerf Balls (Sponge balls), Miser's Dream-type effects. For some reason they are fascinated with coins, IMO.
I know we are talking street magic here, but obviously if the magic happens in their hands or is involving them, it's a winner....
David Paul
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Aug 22, 2002 02:14AM)
Street magic for kids that work......

Linking Rings
Unequal ropes
Misers Dream
Pom Pon Stick
Cut and restored rope
Flip stick

These work for adults too with slightly different presentations, so why increase the weight and size of your bags?
Message: Posted by: Logan (Aug 23, 2002 07:16AM)
Basically what works with kids are effects that seem impossible to the common sense...they are kids by the way. So like restoring a torn card or a transposition would seem impossible and thus sink in as an effect to kids.

This is the reason why colour changes works well with kids...it seems impossible.
Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Aug 31, 2002 02:15AM)
I recently suggested the kids coloring book to a fellow magician and he said he didn't want to do it cause it's overused. Well I've been using it at every oppertunity and have never had a bad reaction. This is perhaps the most valuable (and cheap at the same time!) trick. Its EASY to do, no re-loading needed, work great for kids AND adults! It's no doubt a "kids trick" but I get bigger laughs and smile out of adults. After all, we were all kids once right? I use it on the street and at kids parties.

20th Century Silks is also a must. Easy enough to make at home and killer with kids. Let hem hold it in their hand and open on 3...1...2....3 WOW!

Make yourself a 20th Century Bra for the older crowds. Even bigger hot on the street!!!

Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (Sep 1, 2002 07:49AM)
My nephew's 5 and he's absolutely amazed when I do a card (color) change. It's great. I have him blowing on it, and rubbing it on his arms. Also, sponge balls are great for the kiddies! :bg:
Message: Posted by: Dr. Jakks (Sep 1, 2002 08:48AM)
I like to do Lubor Fielder's Daydreams for kids that are really small. :rotf: And then their parents kill me. On the serious topic, I do the clown coloring book. It is really visual for them.

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Sep 1, 2002 12:13PM)
It's almost impossible to say what works and what doesn't until you try it, not only with kids but with anybody.
Different crowds, different venues, different weather even -- they are all variable factors that can change the reception of any given trick. (Although P.B. Jones gives a pretty sure-fire list above.)

And don't reject something because some other magician says it's "overused". Maybe to other magicians it is -- but they aren't paying you, are they? Most audiences have never seen a live magician before and, therefore, EVERYTHING is new to them.
Message: Posted by: Magicman01462 (Sep 1, 2002 05:10PM)
Thats very true Peter, most people have never seen live magic before. And one thing that does work well, I have to agree with spiffnikHopkins on the 20th century silk... but the routine I use is horrible. Does anyone know of a good one?
Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Sep 3, 2002 02:45PM)
Here's what I do with the 20th Cent Silks...
I'm the first to admit this doesn't sound like a killer routine but its the best I have and it always does better then I think it deserves to do.

I disappear the first silk (mine is yellow) using one of those hats that changes compartments. I have the kid or adult feel around and ask them if it's empty. I tell them to MAKE SURE it's empty and that it has no secret compartments or anything like that. They always go right to the bottom of the bag and miss the secret compartment which is well hidden.

Then they put the silk in the little hat thingy (I don't know what it's really called sorry!) and vanish it having them do the magical gesture/pass. Then I ask them to pull it out and wait for them to reach into the now seemingly empty bag. If they don't turn it inside out I then do that.

"My goodness! We've lost my silk! Well, that's ok. I lose things all the time being a magician and all and I've had to come up with some pretty interesting ways of getting them back".

I then start showing the 2 red silks as I tie them together. "You see if I tie these 2 red silks together like so...(as I fumble with the tie for a sec) See kids just like you guys tie your shoes (they can relate to that), and now if you could hold your hand out palm up for me...good just like that. Now I'm going to put this in your hand and you make a tight fist around it...Ok good. I'm going to count to 3 and when I do open your hand...1..2..3 ta-da. Now we have our yellow silk back!"

I then have them put that into the hat and proceed to lose the red ones and find just the (original) yellow silk in the hat. Works like a charm. Then you can move on to another trick or work with the fact that you now need to recover 2 red silks..

Hope this helps. Let me know if you think of any improvements!

Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Sep 4, 2002 11:44PM)
On 2002-08-31 03:15, SpiffnikHopkins wrote:
I recently suggested the kids coloring book to a fellow magician and he said he didn't want to do it because it's overused. Well I've been using it at every opportunity and have never had a bad reaction. This is perhaps the most valuable (and cheap at the same time!) trick. It's EASY to do, no re-loading needed, works great for kids AND adults!

I went to NY, and pulled out the coloring book and EVERY KID I did it for had seen it before! Oh boy. But they would not let me go without doing it, Kids love repetition (Barney anyone?) and did not even try to guess how it was done. I did have one kid get REAL close to guessing but I fast-talked him. I have never had problems with anyone over 12 guessing how it is done. The grown ups love it!
Message: Posted by: Squishy-Squishy (Sep 6, 2002 03:16PM)
Bunnies, people, bunnies. I forget the name of the trick but it uses foam rabbits. It's easier than trying to carry a live one with you (P.E.T.A would be all over you :wow:). Kids love bunnies! :bunny2:
Message: Posted by: Magicman01462 (Sep 8, 2002 03:01PM)
Yeah, I use 3d multiplying rabbits by Goshamn magic. They are pretty durable and they look good. Kids love them, as well as everyone else. And about the color changes, I like doing them for kids, but adults seem to have a greater appreciation for card magic. Just a thought..
Message: Posted by: TOBIAS (Sep 9, 2002 03:15PM)
I do kid shows and the easiest thing is to do magic for like hmmm... 10 min.s and tie a ballon for the kids. Or even better for time, teach how to make a dog the most basic twist. If you don't like to blow them up then use a pump. It will save time, breath, and it will make the money. I didn't like to do them but it is way to easy to make money doing kids shows. Every perent spends money on thier kids. Why not just be that person...
Yeah Yeah sponge ball, rope tricks, paper balls over ect...
Message: Posted by: COINAMGIC (Sep 9, 2002 06:24PM)
Yes, they like coins I have noticed that, and they like tricks where you mess up then fix yourself.
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Sep 10, 2002 05:44AM)
Nuf said
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Sep 10, 2002 05:58AM)
Tobias hits the target, in my opinion, both with the length of a street show and with balloons.
In doing a birthday party, for example, a half an hour is about the attention span of kids.
In doing street work, 10 minutes is about the attention span (if you're lucky) in that venue.
Most working street performers do three to four shows an hour.
I do about a 10-minute show, ending with Needle Thru the Balloon, which seques into balloon hats and animals for the kids, leaving adults waiting -- and with time to put cash in the hat. It works!
Once the kids all have balloons, and I have about all I figure I'm going to get out of that crowd, I take a short break.
Then back and repeat the cycle.
It works for me, but it may not work for everybody -- or even anybody else! :confused:
Message: Posted by: TOBIAS (Sep 10, 2002 01:00PM)
Oh quick point!!!

Just because you twist ballons doesn't mean you are a clown...
No ofence to clowns, A clown is a clown and a magician is a magician. Well at least that's how it's suppost to go.

I do corparate gigs very often now. Not just little ones either. Big one! The worst thing is for the owner or just one of the big wigs to come up to and ask you if you would do a trick for thier child...
What are you suppost to do? HMMMM???? If you can't keep the kids attention for a second what makes you think he will remember you.
Twist a ballon for him/her. Bang like a gun the child is your best friend. If you think I am playing try it just once and see.
Oh by the way if you work for tips. Look for that family with that loud kid and walk up give them a ballon if they will be good for mommy & daddy. Bamm they will fill your pockets.
Remember you don't have to know more then like 3 or 4 ballon animals. You are not going to give them a choice, you are just going to fire on.


Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Sep 10, 2002 03:59PM)
Remember you don't have to know more then like 3 or 4 ballon animals. You are not going to give them a choice, you are just going to fire on.



IMHO, for most twisters, 3 or 4 ballon animals is like a card guy doing only the 21 card trick. It's just not enough. If you're going to do balloons, at least respect the art enough to be proficient, offer a choice and develop a repertoire.

I do a hand full of magic in my show, I never do a trick that wont stand buy itself as a good trick, and thay are added to the show when the show is to go longer, not to lessen the amount of the show.
Balloons are fun, as a street performer I hate them as too many street huslers blackmail the parents with them and then call them selves street performers, now that I know how to twist I shut the hacks down, I can now do better than 200 different balloons, This is without trying too hard!
So I just set up and start twisting, :comply: when the kids stop asking for doggie, sword, hat, and start asking for daffy, the old lady, Patric from spong bob, ect, :devilish:
I even had one said hustler try to have me arrested. When all was said and done I have pic's somewhere of a cop in one of my hats and you know who (the hack) got to spend the night compliments of philli's finest!

Balloons are a great ADDITION to your act, but remember it is still part of your act, treat it as such, It's your reputation on the line after all!
Message: Posted by: TOBIAS (Sep 12, 2002 02:25PM)
Listen it comes down to this...
If you are on the street you are not getting paid by the hour. You are working for tips. This means you have to fire on. BANG! BANG! BANG! If someone want to take an hour twisting a ballon for a couple bucks by all means. Although you could make a kid just as happy with a TEN TWIST DOG! This way it only takes you about 20-30 seconds. Now you can make 10 times as many kids happy.
My earlier post about 3-4 different types of animals was if you were thinking of getting into ballon twisting. I know more than I would ever need 30-40. Another point is if someone was to make an animal with more than one ballon and it pops the kid has to wait even longer... BANG! BANG! BANG! Fire on, keep the people in the line going, not the people watching. You will have to fill the time you are twisting with little sticks like, Do you know what makes a ballon long and skinny? Blow the air in the face of a child. EVERYONE WILL LAUGH!!!
The kid will get the biggest kick out of it. And that is who is important at that moment. Doing the little sticks will keep the crowd watching until you get back to the magic.
I do magic as an true art form, BUT remember this you still have to pay the bills.

Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Sep 12, 2002 10:47PM)
My apologies to Tobias, as this was not meant to be an attack on him. :)

Yes, to start you can get away with a hand full of different twists. I bet Tobias knows more than that.

My point was, do your best to not "just get by" and I guess that goes for balloons, magic, juggling, or any other form of performing.

Oh by the way, they are a great way to hand out cards! Put your card in the paws of a teddy bear or the handle bars of a motorcycle, etc.

Again, sorry if my statments were taken the wrong way, but there are many bad twisters out there, and I guess it hit a sore spot.
Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Sep 13, 2002 03:21PM)
Twisting is killer. My magic is great and my twisting not too shabby but try as I might to focus on magic with the kids, it doesn't compete with the twisting. I myself know probably 30-40 things I can twist but when I have a long line I don't offer them all. You can offer a great deal and still keep the line moving with basic animals. Dog, Cat, Sword, Bunny rabbit, garaffe, hat, and mouse can all be done really, really fast. For variety I generally offer a monkey and a squirrel as well. It is, after all, your rep on the line and adults will appreciate how cool those look.

Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Sep 13, 2002 03:56PM)
Snails :snail: Kids love them, as it's Garry from sponge bob, and the parents say wow it's not a doggie, it only takes one balloon (ok I use two, one for it and one for the eye stalks) and it really takes no longer than a doggie. I try to avoid
"doggie" look-a-likes whenever I can.
The kids love getting "stuff", and that can be anything, but, you get the parents to pay attention with the less cliche' stuff and the parents are the ones paying you.
My show is for the whole party not just the kids, I am not a babysitter or a TV set, when you get the parents asking for a balloon for themselves, you've got them!!
Message: Posted by: Magicman01462 (Sep 15, 2002 07:23AM)
How do you make a snail?
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Sep 15, 2002 11:10PM)
Leave about a 1" or so uninflated a 6" bubble
2 2" bubbles and twist them together, make a loop about 6 or 8" roll the rest up to make the shell and stick it in the loop.

I use a second balloon with about a 2" bubble in the middle of it, twist that in half and twist it to the head, (a 1" bubble added to the first bubble.) the eye stalks are the selling point, as it makes every thing move as they bounce all over! :crazydude:

And there you have it. :snail:

I fixed my earlier post, as the snails name is Gary not Patric, oops me bad. :blush:

I would normally not have posted this as there are other sights for balloon stuff, but this one is easy. If more people would like to trade balloon ideas here, I don't mind, (I would love it) but I think we should start a new topic.

If not, balloonhq.com is a cool sight to check out!
Message: Posted by: Magicman01462 (Sep 16, 2002 05:07AM)
Thanks a lot!

Message: Posted by: flooglestreet (Dec 4, 2002 01:10PM)
For kids I like a big impossibility. Cut and restored rope. Also I like to have the kids "do a trick". I do reverso, have every kid pick a card, look and return to the deck EVERY kid (except the shy ones, don't press it) They tell me what magic word they know and I have them all adress the deck saying the magic word. Usually "Hocus Pocus" , occasionally "please". Make sure they know they have returned the card correctly and then show how they have done the magic. REMEMBER, small kids don't tip, thier parents do. They just saw thier kids being adorable.
Message: Posted by: PZFdude (Dec 5, 2002 10:25AM)
A good idea for kids is to perform the Miser's Dream with those gold-foil covered chocolate coins that you can buy at candy shops. They are the perfect size, and at the end of the trick, you can hand them out to the kids! :spinningcoin:
Message: Posted by: Merlin! (Dec 7, 2002 12:00AM)
I think, with kids that is, the most important thing you need is good patter, either humour, or some patter which will make them truly belive you are something special (if you convince them of this, everything will be alot easier, and smoother). The most difficult, I find, are children 8-11, they are old enough to not fall for basic sleights, watch everything very carefully, and tend to blurt out when they think they know how a trick is done. They also tend to be at the stage when they think any tricks they can figure out are not worth watching, this is only general of course, there are many exceptions.
Message: Posted by: zantium2999 (Dec 7, 2002 09:28AM)
P.b. jones the problem with doing the linking ring trick with kids is that kids always always always want to ply with the rings (i know from experience)
the best is tricks that reqiure no gimmics unless it is something like the coin bite where there is some sleight of hand so they can investigate the coin :firedevil:

now that I think of it the post (3 or 4 posts back)
the chocolate coin idea is great do some sleight of hand and turn a loonie into one or two chocolate coins :firedevil: