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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » An one year old party. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dynamike
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Do you perform at 1 year parties. If you do, is your act different any type of way? Smile
p.b.jones
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Hi,
For me, it depends, the youngest birthday parties I do are normaly 4 years, most of the children tend to be 3-4 1/2. But I do perform at Christenings, 1, 2, and 3 year old parties where the children at the show will be older. This is where asking the right questions on the phone comes in.

Often parents understand/know that 1&2 is too young to really comprehend a magic show, But really just want an excuse for a family party.

Regardless of the age of the birthday child I always enquire if the other children attending are likely to be of similar age.

Phillip
Dennis Michael
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One can perform at any age party, just as long as they know the ages that are there.

For the real young, (1-3) puppets, Noggin (Eyes clipped on hand) are age appropriate and can keep them busy for a long time and should be done one on one in a strolling fashion. A small show for the older 4-9 crowd can use the normal kid stuff. And, a nice illusion at the end for the whole family finishes the show.

Every October, I am asked to perform for the family picnic (Tradition) Ages: Newborn to the 80's. I get to try out new tricks and just plain have fun. Last year, I ended with the head chopper routine, that went over great until my Aunt said, "Say good-by to Granny" and her grand-daughter started crying. "Opps, wrong thing to say Aunt Betsy" We took a 30 second break while I ad-lib the moment, checked out the chopper and the grand-daughter was calmed down and removed to another location before we finished the show.

Afterwards, I made balloon swords so the boys could beat on each other and have fun, the adults could make some interesting remarks, and the girls got the fuzy-warm little doggie balloons.

Since it is a day affair I also come loaded with close-up magic and stroll (mingle) with family members. I do enjoy that day!

Bottom-line: If you know the ages, then bring the age appropriate comedy, puppets and tricks.
Dennis Michael
Vilago
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And whatever you do, make sure you get the birthday child involved! No, they can't participate like older kids, but a year-old can certainly grasp a magic wand and jerk it around...have the child "wave" it over some prop, and make sure the parents have a camera ready...

Everytime I've done this, and I mean EVERYTIME, the parents have gone nuts and thought it was the most wonderful thing they'd ever seen...and the picture makes a great memento

Smile
Billy Whizz
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If I received a call to do a party for a 1, 2, or 3 year old, I would say their waisting their money. If ALL the rest of the children were much older then I would do it. But as far as I'm concerned, I do this this for a living because I enjoy it and not just because it's a job. And a one year party is not something I would enjoy.

Parents that are watching would think I was rubbish, because I couldn't keep the childrens attention but it doesn't matter who you are, you can't honestly say you can keep a one year old sat and entertained for an hour.

All the best, Billy
Emazdad
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My first question when asked to do a party for the under 3's, is to ask how old the other children are going to be and whether there will any older children present.

My show is based around the children's participation, and if they are too young to understand what's happening they can't participate, and if they don't participate my show will be very, very short.

I don't do any tricks that involve me magicing at the children, All my tricks and routines involve an assistant who does all the magic, so If there are no older kids there to act as the assistant, I usually recommend to the booker that they wait until the child is old enough to enjoy the show and spend the money they would have paid me on a good toy.

Remember participation is not just coming up to help, it's the pointing, shouting of the magic word, laughing at the gags etc.

Before anyone chastises me for turning away work, I've had people who I've said this to thank me for my honesty and book me for an older childs birthday later in the year.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Andy Wonder
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I do parties for 1 year olds almost every weekend. Your 1st birthday is a major event in the Samoan community here in Auckland, like what we celebrate for a 21st.

These parties usually have at least 30 children of all ages. I find that even if the birthday child is asleep I still use their name a lot through the show. Just to give the illusion that they are some how involved. The 1 year old is also the first to get to touch the bunny rabbit afterwards.

One year olds usually love to touch the rabbit’s fur, and that make a good photo opportunity. They are also quite happy to watch you making balloons for a period if they are moving around a lot. Anything of bright colours that moves will be an eye catcher for them.

Just be careful when you are asked to make a balloon for a 1 year old. You should always give it direct to the parent and warm them not to let their child put in their mouth. I sometimes say something to the birthday child like, 'I know these look yummy, but they are not for eating okay?'

The 1 year old won't understand but parents know what I mean. You can also make a balloon hat for them. The adults will think it looks cute, and the child will be much less likely to put it in their mouth if they can't see it.

I have also had parents tell me that their toddlers looked up at my show and watched every time music came on.

I perform for play groups where all the children are 3. That is a difficult age but not impossible. It is very hard getting them to say a magic word on the count of three. Instead of chanting "1,2,3 Adacradabra." They will chant "1,2,3,4,?"
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Cheshire Cat
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We are brutally honest about it. "Sorry, we don't do BIRTHDAY parties of children under 3. You will get someone who will come and do it, but we must advise you, they may be doing it just for the money". (Pre-Schools yes, of course at Christmas).

Having said that, it would be nice to be able to start GIRLS birthdays at 3 as they are such incredibly confident, social creatures. But it would be a business nightmare trying to explain boys should start at 4 wouldn't it? Even though let's face it a lot of under-4 boys cling to their mothers, chew on a bit of old bed sheet (!!) and have a bottom lip like a bike inner tube!

The trouble is also with parents that say:
"there will be older children present" is that you simply cannot trust this and could arrive to chaos on the day!

Regarding 'visible' props. - well you can't get much more 'visual' than the three foot marionettes we do, - but there again seeing a walking, singing puppet the same size as you could cause panic! So apart from say, Andy, who 1 year olds parties are a social norm. in NZ, I would leave well alone - especially if you are a Clown entertainer, as you could find yourself having to leave after minutes due to the panic and screaming of tinies when they see you (this is no criticism of clowns, who are a lovely experience for say 4/5/6 year olds). Smile
Vilago
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Wow, I sure am glad you're not in my market making comments like that. Why do you feel the need to say something that potentially foolish? Why say anything at all? Seems a little self-serving to me. Does Andy do it for the money? I read his posts and it seems pretty apparent that a 1 year-old party in his area is cause for the entire family to celebrate.

On the few occasions I've done shows for under-3's (boys and girls, and I've seen some very bratty girls), there were always children older than five present. I've also made it very clear that there won't be a show if there's a mistake and no older kids are present.

A little common sense when booking the show will eliminate the very few parents who actually think a 1 or 2 or 3 year-old can actually enjoy a magic show.

Smile

Hey Ace Parties,

I see you mentioned Andy in your post, so ignore that part of my response...

I think in basic theory we agree, but in practice I've seen it (doing shows for toddlers when older kids are present) work well...
Peter Marucci
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Got to agree with aceparties here.
I don't do birthday parties for children under 3, even though the parent says there will be older children at the event. (Very often there aren't!)
I point out to them that, under the age of 3, everything adults do is "magical" to the youngsters anyway.
And, finally, I strongly point out that it would be a waste of money to hire a magician for children that age and I don't want them to waste their money!
I have had parents thank me afterwards for that bit of advice.
p.b.jones
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HI,
As I said in my previous post, my normal minimum age is 4 but I will do them younger where older children are present. I have never had anyone lie to me about what ages the children might be and I see no benifit in them doing so. Why on earth would someone mislead you? I have had people tell me that the party is for 5 year olds and later they have decided to let the 9 year old brother invite some friends and not tell me but that's a different thing and does not bother me anyway.
Phillip
Cheshire Cat
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Hey Vilago... you'd not be the first to not want us in their market, having lived solely on entertainment, until recently, for so many years, I guess we are pretty hard and self serving!

So if the parents did give incorrect info. and there were no older children, you'd walk away... you could afford to walk away... you'd risk them going to the local Press/their friends, telling them you'd walked away!

It would only take another party somewhere, or a Summer Fair or similar for all the promised "older children" to disappear in a flash and leave you with a room full of toddlers - in our case for 2 hours.

Yep, toddlers with older children works fine - been doing it since Jimmy Carter was your President (I think you've been going this long too?) - at Christmas Parties, Family Nights, etc... but this is an entirely different scenario than booking in a baby's birthday isn't it?

As always Den's thoroughly researched information on the subject is immaculate, but I guess going to such basics as using my hand as a puppet is not in my style! I rest my case and thank our wise friend from Ontario for bearing this out (and our very professional friend from Plymouth whom if ever moved to Cheshire we would be pleased to fraternise with!) Smile
Peter Marucci
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Phillip,
I didn't mean to imply that the parents lied about the ages of the children who would be at the party; it's just that sometimes they get it wrong -- some cancel; others are invited, unknown even to the parents; and still others are added to the list too late for me to do anything about it.
The parents are almost always as honest as they can be; sometimes, though, things are beyond their control.
Billy Whizz
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Hi Phillip, believe it or not, but parents do sometimes give out wrong information, sometimes intentionally. I took a booking just before Christmas for a three year old and she assured me that most of the children would be four year olds.

I turned up to find ONE four year old and about 8 or 9 three year olds. It was a nightmare, there is a huge difference between the ages of three and four. The mums had to try and create an atmosphere, it was the worst show I've ever had to do. So now, There is no way I would do a three year old party.

I can understand why Andy does one year old parties with it being a major event for the whole family. I will do christenings for one year olds because there is always older children there, but just not birthdays.

All the best, Billy

P.S.: Emazdad said you're going to the Blackpool convention, hopefully see you there. Anyone else from the UK going to Blackpool?
johnpert
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In my opininion, under 4 is a tough age group, especially if that is the majority. Here is why:
1. They have low attention spans.
2. They don't understand what is happening.


Face painting and games would be better for this group.

I recently did a show in which I was told there would be older kids. Five kids were of an age to enjoy my show. All others were very young. Prior to the show, I overheard a converstaion that said, "Wow, she is walking well for her age." Although it was the same show I'd normally do, I wasn't happy with the final product.
Emazdad
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I got to a playgroup at Christmas to find that all the older children (4 yr olds) had left to start school. I was stuck with a room full of 2 & 3 year olds, the mum's had to sit on the floor with the children on their laps, the mum's had to shout the magic word, ect... and do all the pointing and shouting. The kids just held on to mum, they didn't laugh at any of the funny bits, not even the funny wands, they didn't have a clue what was going on. Luckily the mum's played the game and enjoyed themselves, but I had to cut the show and resort to just making the kids balloons. I couldn't get any of the children to help with the show as they were all too shy. Add to that the ones who's mum's just let them run around, it was a nightmare.

I do a lot of weddings and christenings, and they usually have a lot of older relatives there, the booker often gets the number of children and ages wrong, either you end up with a room full of babies, or I did go to one where they said there would be 15-20 kids, there was only 4 on the day, I was booked for 2-hours and had to entertain a 4 yr old, a 7 yr old girl and boy, and a 12 year old who looked like he would rather be elsewhere. The 7 yr old girl and 12 yr old had been up since 4 am to travel down from London, and my show was from 7pm to 9pm. They were knackered. Sometimes I think people look on us as baby sitters not entertainers.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
p.b.jones
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In my opininion, under 4 is a tough age group, especially if that is the majority.

Here is why:

1. They have low attention spans.
2. They don't understand what is happening.

Hi,
I do not find four year olds a problem, but I only do 30 mins. I do not offer longer shows until they are 5. as of Jan, 1st. this year, I no longer offer a 1 hour show at all.
The longest I offer as a show, is 50 mins. (30 magic 20 mins Punch and Judy) although I can keep attention for an hour, I have found through testing that The feed back is always better on the 50 mins or less shows

I do offer 3 full party packages (2 hours) as well.

Phillip
Vilago
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Whoa there, Ace! Just because I don't agree with you, that means you won't grace me with the title of "wise" or "professional", like you did Peter and Billy? Smile

Well, for the first time I guess I disagree with the majority of the posters on a subject. No big deal, we all do different things.

Ace, when I said "no show", what I meant was no MAGIC show. There are other things that can be done. There's no way I would walk away and leave the parents in a lurch. That'd be pretty stupid, as you rightly point out.

Peter, you've been around a lot longer than me, and seen more, and so I really respect your opinion. I'm basing my opinion on the simple facts on (1) I've had the very good fortune to not have been left with a room full of 2 year-olds, and (2) over the past 20 years in different areas (Minnesota, Florida, England) I've been asked to do these kinds of shows maybe 6 times. So, although the original question was a good one, I think the frequency with which it happens causes me to not worry about it.

I would worry, however, about a fellow magician in my area telling prospective clients that my willingness to do the show was because I was "doing it for the money." That's backbiting, isn't it? And aren't all of the pro's on this list doing it for the money? Of course you are...otherwise you'd take enough just to pay expenses and donate the rest.

And now I rest MY case Smile

Phillip,

You make a great comment about time, that maybe some of us overlook. Any show for this age group should probably never go over 30 minutes...

Just in case anyone is misunderstanding my posts, let me just say very quickly that when I hear "birthday party for a 1 year-old", my mind instantly translates that into "party for a 1 year-old and several older children and relatives" ...if any of you have extensive and bad experiences of having to do a show for 10 1 year-olds, then certainly I bow to your ideas.

Not tryin' to start an argument Smile
Cheshire Cat
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Now what would you all do without me to stir you up and cause a really good argument? (don't reply to that one please!).

We never, ever, under any circumstances, mention names of other entertainers to callers or customers, so Vilago's personal preferences or willingness to do a show would never come into question if he were in our locality.

But, you know, as I have said somewhere in another thread, there are entertainers out there who will do ANYTHING to book a time slot in their diaries, and then go out and perform by the skin of their teeth without regard for customer satisfaction, - just for the money!

You know - the razor blades out of mouth magicians at pre-schools, the sexual innuendo magicians for 10 year olds. These are the guys I refer to, and boy I'll bite them either back or front! (I don't see anyone fitting this category on this board incidentally! although I am hardly likely to "grace" anyone who has called me self-serving and foolish).

We do get lots of calls for baby parties, and we feel it our duty to advise callers (although this advice is probably seldom taken) of the predatory attitude and unsuitability of some others in this respect and if they are going to proceed with entertainment to be extremely cautious. Smile
Vilago
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Ace,

As said before, your point is well-taken.

Your comment was called foolish and self-serving, not you personally.

Nothing left to see, everyone please move along now Smile
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