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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » What to do while making balloon animals? (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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kippteacher1
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Does anyone have suggestions about what the rest of the audience does while the entertainer is making balloon animals for each child? If there are 20-30 5-year-olds waiting for a balloon animal, what do the children do while waiting their turn for a balloon animal? It seems that there is a potential management problem with all of the kids getting restless. The problem is easily solved if balloons can be made while the kids are eating pizza and cake after the show, but what if the balloon animals need to be made before the kids sit down and eat?

Thanks!
rossmacrae
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That's why I quit doing it at birthdays - they run riot from boredom.

My favorite alternative is to start a line, and anyone who doesn't want to stand in it is not forced to sit idly - of course then you get mommys whining "but my child didn't get one," as you're leaving, and of course that's the kid who took off for the play area first and never came back.
MagicSanta
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Joke with the kids, entertain 'em. Often standing in line is more fun for them than the balloon. It is amazing how kids react to balloons, tis a good thing.
derrick
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While twisting, you might think about playing some upbeat music that the kids will recognize and enjoy such as Crazy Frog, or music from the Shrek Soundtrack. The kids love it. It has things like Donkey singing
"Disco Inferno" and Shrek singing "That's What I Like About You" and Captian Hook singing "I'm Hooked on a Feeling". The kids dance in line while they wait. Add to that, the usual one liners and you have a second show. One of my favorite one liners are when kids asks for a giraffe. I say, "Do you know why giraffes have such big long necks? The kid says no or some nonsense about reaching leaves in the tops of trees. Whatever their answer, I say "No! It's becuase they have really stinky feet!" I tell them that that is the kind of information they won't get in school. It's funny stuff. Just have fun.
wardini
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I have a double strategy.

Firstly I have written a little story about a dog, and a parrot and a crocodile plus an assortment of other animals. As I tell the story I model the 'characters' from the story. Now, depending on the audience, I either give out the animals and tell the child they need to hold the animal up every time I say their name. Or I keep the animals with me and use them a bit like puppets myself. (If the children are quite young or over excitable I tend to hang on to the balloons otherwise they get too distracted.)

Secondly, I bring a couple of bin bags of pre-made balloons so I can dish them out at the end of the story.

This seems to work as the children, and parents, get to see some balloon modelling but it's not an overly long affair with the children getting bored.
kimmo
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I very rarely do balloon animals for everyone these days. If I'm paid extra to do it, I don't give any of them out myself, because ás soon as you've passed one out to a child, they are back in line for a repair or a replacement. I twist several during my show and keep them safe until the end behind my table. The rest are made at home and taken in bags to be distributed by the parents after I've left.
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MikeRaffone
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I tried making them ahead one time and by the time the balloons got there, half of them were coming apart, popped, messed up or tangled with the others.

Mike
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Jonathanmc
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I agree with almost everything said here. When I go out to do a magic show with balloons or just ballons I always organize a line for the balloons. I have these rules in my head and will happily tell anyone that needs to know.
1. You have to be in line to get a balloon for you. Not your best friend, sister etc
2. You can ask for a balloon of your choice. I have been know to forget how to do certain balloons when the line is too long.
3. Everybody gets one balloon before repairs or seconds are handed out.
4. When it is getting time to leave I let the last person in line know they are last and usually give them a balloon that says the same thing. I also watch and let any newcomers know that I am finishing at my designated person.
5. A repair is basically a new balloon and follows all the other rules.

While this is happening I tell jokes, sing, talk to the kids whatever. I find that most of them enjoy watching the balloons get made.

The only thing I don't agree with is making balloons up ahead of time. I know that solves a lot of problems. But I think that half the joy of having a balloon creature is that it was made for you on the spot. It is a kind of magic for a kid to say "I'd like an octopus" and three minutes later they are holding one.
MagicSanta
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I agree with you Jonathan...I think the kids enjoy watching the balloons being made.
Stevethomas
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I would love to be able to twist balloons for all 30-50 kids at my birthday parties, but if you have time to do that AFTER a 35-45 minute magic show, you have too much time on you hands. If the kids want to see me MAKE 'em, they'll bring mom and dad and come to one of the Pizza Hut locations I work on kid's nights. Otherwise, they get to watch me make one for the birthday person, and (for the oohs and aaahs) one for him/her to give to the mom with a thank you hug for having the magician at the party. I bring my balloons pre-made to the party in a large, clear bag (they're special HEAVY DUTY bags we use at FedEx), with express instructions for the host to give them out AS THE KIDS LEAVE TO GO HOME! Otherwise, as previously mentioned, half the kids pop or destroy theirs, and want another one...and, since I'm gone, somebody would leave without a balloon, and we can't have that! I call them party favors, and the moms love that. If you have 3 parties in a day, and you spend an extra 30-40 minutes twisting balloons at each party...there goes your day!

Steve
derrick
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I up-sell the balloons as more or less a second show. Which it is. So it doesn't bother me to stay and make balloons after the birthday party. This is for a normal size birthday party with 15 to 25 kids...or at least what I think is normal.

I quite frankly try and talk parents out of balloons when they are expecting 30-50 kids but that size birthday party is rare for me.
MagicSanta
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I consider an average party around 15 to 20 ish kids. If there were 50 of 'em then I wouldn't offer that part of the package or I'd charge a balloon maker rate. Heck, 50 kids is a lot of kids.
keeblem
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Taught to me by Billy Wiz, the "Intergalactic Flying Turtle" is a great little balloon animal that you can easily make up before hand (they take just a few seconds) and you can hand them out (or get someone else to do it for you) while you get to work on the "queue". Of course, this means that everyone will get 2 balloons. Hopefully that won't break the budget.

The flying turtle is simply a flying mouse with a couple of extra bubbles. Dead simple.

Mark
Dynamike
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At times I play music. I tell the kids to dance to the music. Sometimes I have them dance in a contest.
Magic Mike Japan
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Guess I'm a lucky guy. My lovely wife handles the balloons while I pack-up and we play kid's songs while they wait impatiently. I do help her with keeping the line in order when called for.
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Danny Diamond
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I upsell the balloon animals and end with them at 95% of my birthday parties. My standard procedure is a single line, single-animal balloons only, and first in line is always the birthday child, followed by the little ladies, then the little gentlemen (parents seem to like when I announce this lineup, but the little gentlemen don't always like it!).

I think the key is not to be a balloon-making machine, but rather be a person. Being a funny person helps too. Talk with the kids, interact. Snap a balloon as you stretch it out and pretend you hurt your finger. As you start to twist a teddy bear, show them a strand of 7-8 sausage links (the balloon before you twist the head and do the ear twists, etc.) and ask if it looks like a teddy bear yet (it obviously looks nothing like a teddy bear at this point). Make the act of twisting the balloons, a fun thing for them to observe.

Another thing I always do, is to interview my audience as they wait in line. As I am twisting one kids balloon, I may say something like this, to the next few kids waiting in the line: "thanks for waiting, did you guys have a good time at the show? You did? Cool - what was your favorite part?". It opens up dialogue, breaks their boredom, and gets you feedback as to what the kids enjoyed the most.
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demente42
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I've always used the line approach myself. I produce candy at the end of my show so the kids waiting in line are usually good as they are not only waiting for a balloon but also for a small piece of candy. I also always upsell with balloons and charge accordingly for the time if there are to be a lot of kids. Chating with the kids toward the front of the line and using the usually balloon gags here and there seems to keep them entertained while waiting. Like Jonathanmc
I tell the kids with repairs/replacements that they have to wait for everyone else to get one before they get thiers. Most of the time they wait and sometimes they decide it just isn't worth the wait and go off to play with the other kids. I've never gotten any complaints with this approach. I will give any replacements to the parents and tell the child that their mom/dad will keep it safe so it doesn't pop again.
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zappyjingles
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G'day
Thank You for all the great ideas. I have taken many onboard. I was always worried the balloon would burst but as long as you make it funny it doesn't matter. I have a few balloon books that are really good.

Hugs N Giggles
Dennis Michael
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I didn't read all this but on Ballon HQ there are lots of balloon jokes.
Dennis Michael
KC Cameron
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I only do balloons for the birthday child unless the parents add-on balloons. I do really good balloons, but my magic is better (and more fun for me), and so I prefer not doing balloons.

When I do, I do it differently than others. I hate being turned into a “balloon making machine”. I do magic because I enjoy it, and I don’t get into a long line of demanding kids – especially if they are getting bored waiting.

I do not take requests. I make a balloon and the kids have to guess what it is. I give a lot of mis-leading clues -such as it has 8 legs, when it is a kangaroo with a Joey, or it makes a loud roar when it is a motorcycle. Whoever guesses what it is has to give the balloon to someone shorter than they are that doesn't have a balloon. This accomplishes sever things:
1) It teaches sharing (parent's like that!)
2) The youngest (and most impatient) get their balloons first
3) Unlike normally, when a child gets a balloon he is "done", everyone is always involved because they are giving the balloons to someone else.
4) I can showcase my better balloons for future parties
5) I am not doomed to making sword after sword or dog after dog - I make what I want.
6) I do not have to look for a requested color - I pick the color.
7) By having the child that guesses the balloon give the balloon away it takes a little heat off me while I am blowing up and shaping the next balloon.

I also do a lot of clowning while making them to keep the kids interest. For each balloon I make, I have a funny clown bit that keeps everyone amused.

Hope this helps.
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