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chrisM
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219 Posts

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I have tried performing some effects for children and they just dont get it or appreciate it, i would like someointers on how to choose material that would be suitable for kids.
Dennis Michael
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What is it that you tried?

Manipulation, Card Tricks, Coin Sleights? These generally flop because they are pure skill and offer no fun, comic attachment, or interaction with the kids. (Not Miser's Dream which is a coin trick with mild skill and audience/assistant participation)

You didn't mention age. 2-4 like puppets more than magic because everything around them is taken for granted and magicial (TV, Stove, Phone, Computers, Games, etc.) It's a little more complex than this. Kids 5-8 love to figure out (They know it all) on how the trick is done and love to reveal the "secret" verbally showing their knowledge level to their peers even if they are wrong. A skilled magicians uses this fact to his advantage and build routines and comic routines around magic.

Above 8 they begin to understand social skills and like the cool tricks, rabbit productions, head choppers, clowning around, etc. The teens are not mature fully and try to act cool, this were the standard stage tricks and illusions appeal to them, more adult magic than kids magic.

With any group, presentation to the group, age appropriate, makes or breaks the magician. There are exceptions to these brief statements. Books on kids entertainment are required reading for the kids entertainer.

Pointers: Watch TV, Who does Barney appeal to? Who Does Mr. Rogers Appeal to? Who does Blues Clues appeal to? Who does Sesame Street Appeal to? How about Sponge Bob Square Pants? Super Friends? Scooby-Do? Each show has a following and focal point to an age group. Magic tricks and their presentation is no different. Some tricks cross all age barriers, such as Animal "Box Tricks", 20th Century Silks, and Miser's Dream to name a few.

One difference between an adult and a kid is that the adult learned to keep their mouth shut, however, they are thinking the same thing the kids are verbalizing so you can draw them into your act.

Try some of David Ginn's Routines word for word until you get a feel for what is you and make the adjustments. It may sound and feel silly at first but it is this stuff that works. You must make the break from being mature to becoming a kid again. (With restraint, of course.) It's tough learning to shed the adult social skills and goof off at the kids level. You really feel stupid at first, but it grows on you after awhile.

Kids want fun and laughter and enjoy it when an adult becomes a kid, or makes a mistake. Why is "Silly Billy" so famous? Because David Kaye is SILLY, and loves being SILLY! He truly understands kids and what they want, not what a adult magician wants.

Watch as many kids shows as you can and take notes. View kids magician videos. What did the magician do and why? What audience reaction occurred? David Ginn, BJHickman, and others are showing you what works. You must make the connection on why it works.
Dennis Michael
danryb
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I do kid shows with just about any trick. In fact I love being able to do some magic tricks that are being sold as stage/adult items. That is the challenge for me - I know I will have to suit and perfect the patter and explain for instance the impossability of passing solid through solid etc. Lots of kids at any age have seen magicians perform with sponge balls, silks, colorfull boxes etc. (all very good and visual). No doubt about it though - you couldn't have kids of any age adding up a set of numbers to offer them a pre made prediction because their math has not yet been developed enough. But mind reading is great with all ages - the 4 - 8 year olds especialy because you can explain to them what it is talk about mental telepathy which some kids might have naturaly encountered I usualy go into a rising card trick drawn on a pad or board with the aid of the kid helping me send his thoughts across to the audience and then the audience sending those thoughts back to the board.
Nearly anything (nothing scary or dangerous) can be used with kids as long as you supply a short and funny explanation. Parents in the audience will love you too because one: you are amusing their kids and 2: you are teaching them.
I could go on and on here and would be happy to give more practical advice if you'd like.
bye for now.
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