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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Childrens parties and balloon skills (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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rowdymagi5
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Virginia
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I am going to start performing for birthday parties soon. I noticed in some previous posts that some of you also do balloon animals.

I have no experience in balloon animals, and have not attempted to learn either.

Is this something that I really should learn, or is it really neccessary?
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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It is easy to do and adds a new dimension to you party show, and it increases your party fees by offering the client an option. It a matter of keeping up with the competition.

Do you HAVE to do balloons? NO, can you do balloons, YES!... you need only to learn a dozen or so. Once you start with the basic twists... a dozen animals can be made. It would probable take about about an hour to learn. I taught 60 people to do a quicky dog during a cub scout pack meeting. They loved it. It took them 10 minutes to learn that simple move. Learning balloons is a lot easier than learning a new routine for a trick!

If you decided to do balloons, pick up a balloon pump, it is so much easier. There is a lot that can be said here so I'll let others chime in.
Dennis Michael
rowdymagi5
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Virginia
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Thanks, Do you advise learning through books or video?

And can you recommend a good book or video so I can start learning? I was thinking that is was hard and time consuming to learn, sounds like I should incorporate it in my act.

Thanks again!
Frank Tougas
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Hey ho Rowdy,

I would advise learning a simple dog, a few easy twists and you have it. If you want to be a balloon artist it would take a good deal of work, and it is not necessary for kids. In fact as soon as you make something different eveyone who got the dog will come back asking for that as well.

I just do a simple dog, learn it from a book. For my show I have them premade to hand out by the parent host when the little ones are on their way home. It avoids arguments "he got a giraffe, I didn't", playing with the animals and breaking them and a whole host of other hidden problems.

Besides with a simple dog you can make the ears long and the body short voila a rabbit, make the neck long and presto a giraffe, make the body long and poof a weiner dawg aka dachund, er..dachound..well a weiner dog.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Den, invest in a baloon pump. Just the simple hand pump for starters and have a couple of extras, they sometimes break. This happened in the middle of a routine I do for the birthday child where I am unsuccessfully trying to make a balloon dog. The pump broke, I just tossed it into my table pulled out a new one and didn't miss a beat.

Blow one of those suckers up by mouth once and after the surgeon replaces your eyes back in their respective sockets, warns you of an impending brain aneurism and the hernia operation on your umbilical button is complete, you'll never be without one.

The kids will love it and you will have an additional feature to add to your show or walk-around venues.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
0pus
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I agree. Get a book. Much more bang (if you would excuse the expression) for the buck.

This is really something you learn by doing. Get a few gross of 260Qs, and Marvin Hardy's "Balloon Magic" book and start in. Keep to the simple figures -- you want to be able to produce good looking animals very quickly. After you have the simple figures down, learn a special one. I always liked the parrot sitting in a ring.

0pus
Mago Mai
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Venezuela
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The more I have to offer to entertain kids, the better I feel. Go for it.

Mago Mai
I invite all of you to share some of my magic on videos.Please, CLICK HERE
Andy Wonder
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Balloon animals look difficult to make but they are really easy. So why not make them? There are a lot of balloon making web sites you can research. One tip is I always carry a Sharpie to draw on eyes and a mouth. It makes a big difference.
The other fun thing with balloons is using a product from Qualatex called the Magic Pipe. It is a plastic pipe sealed at one end that contains a sharp pin. You can use it to quickly & easily insert small items like candy inside the balloons. I often use it with smaller children. I know they won't be upset when their balloon finally pops or goes down, because they will then get the candy inside.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
WR
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I can make a snake, a worm...I don't use them. It does not fit into my shows theme.
WR Smile
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
Ron Reid
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Hi RowdyMagi5:

There are many excellent videos out there - some quite advanced and time consuming. However, there is an excellent series for beginners (and advanced twisters too) by Joe Lefler. It's a three volume set, and you can buy the videos separately, for about 10 bucks apiece. They really are good, and you can buy them from just about any dealer...or try ebay - I see them there constantly.

I suggest Volume one to start. If you look for it, the video has Tricky the Clown on it (that's Joe's clown character).

As for books, I think most will agree the best beginners book is "Captain Visual's Book of Balloons" or something like that. I'm sure you can get it at http://www.tmyers.com

Hope this helps you.

Ron Reid
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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The balloon pump by hand is a great starter. An electric one can be made by purchasing a $24 duel horn with pump from Pep-Boys, a $5.00 small plastic Igloo ice chest from Wal-Mart, a Amflo 1/4 inch Hose Repair kit (nozzle)($5.00) from Home Depot, A $3.00 single push on momentary push button switch from Home Depot and a $25/$35 gel encased battery from a battery store (small Motorcycle battery), some wire and you have an electrical pump to put together. Real easy to put together and saves you over $100. You will probably need to buy a battery charger.

Check out TMyers for all your Balloon Stuff.
TMyers Balloon Menu Cards Which will give you a great selection for the kids to pick from. All you need is to learn these few! Many of these pictures can be found on a TMyers T-Shirt

Check out all the free education on jokes and how to make easy balloons animals as well as real fancy balloons scultures. These are at; Balloon HQ.Com After reading this linked section you will know if you want to get into the balloon business. One word of caution...DO NOT LET ALL THOSE REAL FANCY BALLOONS SCARE YOU AWAY.
Dennis Michael
phill
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Connecticut
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The posts here are right on. http://www.tmyers.com is a great place to get what you need to get you on your way. I believe he even has some package sets just right for getting started.
I would also suggest videos over books. Although much pricier than books they tell the story much better, imho. I like Norm Barnharts videos for incorporating magic with balloons.
Also expect to break ALOT of balloons at first, but don't give up, keep at it.

phill
Scripture, Sculptures & Surprises!
RiffClown
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You also might want to look up a twister in your area and ask for pointers. It couldn't hurt.
Rob "Riff, the Magical Clown" Eubank aka RiffClown
<BR>http://www.riffclown.com
<BR>Magic is not the method, but the presentation.
Peter Marucci
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Rowdy,
Nowhere is it "written in stone" that you have to do balloons at kids' parties.

You may want to, and the client may want you to, but you don't HAVE to!

Many don't (I do -- but that's my choice)for the same reasons they might not include Punch and Judy shows, juggling, or a dozen other things that would (but don't have to) fit.

If you want to do balloons, though, the T. Myers references are the best; I've been dealing with Tom for years now and can highly recommend him.

Learning is not hard; there are zillions of books on animals, hats, etc.
The hardest thing is blowing up the balloons!
That's why so many use a pump -- manual or powered.
I don't -- I still do them by mouth.
(That way, the kids will ask for another balloon, saying something like, "Get another one! I think the old geezer gonna croak!)
Fast Eddie P.
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I would second the balloon pump idea. Hand pumps are cheap. As a matter of fact I learned the hard way to always have a spare pump just in case the first one breaks. I don't do them often enough to have great lung power and by the end of that show I was spent. Smile
Frank Tougas
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T. Meyers is the single best source for balloon information, books, etc.

Other bits of business: keep unused portions of your balloon packages in the fridge, they will last a long time.

If you do needle through balloon, which I discourage you from doing at a kids show...never, and I mean never hold the balloon always hold the needle. A small defect in the balloon and in a single pop, you have a 12 inch sharpened steel projectile flying unpredictably into a crowd of kids. I see magicians do this all the time and it give me the creeps.

Finally, and this is really off-the-wall, In my other life I am a psychologist and work with kids. I have had two sets of parents come to me because of an irrational fear their child had of balloons. It never hurts to check.

Happy twisting! Smile
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Try http://www.balloonhq.com

Balloon modeling at children's parties isn't compulsory, there are a few posts discussing this. But it is a sure winner with the kids and parents.
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.
Dennis Michael
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I used to blow them by mouth, it is great for your ab-muscles, and it is a skill that can be learned. Nowadays, I get dizzy if I do it and I am concerned about popping a vessel somewhere.

In addition, with today's germs, it is easy to pass a cold. See if you get a job in areas with the SARS going around. Not to many want a "death" balloon.

Also, think about all of the other germs being spread. People seem to be sanitary conscience these days. A pump is not that expensive.

When they give me cash I put on a pair of rubber gloves... Just kidding Smile
Dennis Michael
rowdymagi5
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Virginia
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Thanks to all who responded for all of the great tips! Much appreciated and a great help!
MAGICBYTIM
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Louisiana
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I would go for the balloons. I started doing balloons about two years after I started doing kid shows and I could see the difference in the amount of shows I booked. I only charge ten to twenty dollars more. This is mainly to pay for the balloons. Since I do this as an extra at cost the parents feel like they are getting a deal.

I have been burned a few times since I make the balloons for the child right in front of them. This takes a little longer and there have been a few times that there have been way more kids at the party than the parent originally said. I do not say anything because I hope to pick up a few shows from those extra kids but I end up making balloons for hours.

I also do not bring all the balloons out while I am making the balloons. Sometimes parents or kids see you with all those extra balloons and they want you to make more. If they see that I only have a limited number of balloons this is normally kept to a minimum.

Tim
Peter Marucci
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Tim raises a very good point -- how do you stop, when the kids and parents see that you have all those balloons?

One of the best ideas I've come across is to keep the balloons in a change bag; that way, when you want to stop, simply open the "other" side of the bag, show the balloons are gone, and take your break (or leave).

As for storing balloons in a fridge, I know many experts recommend this and, for years, I did just that. Then I stopped (I forget why, now) and have found that, even after a year or more, balloons are just fine when stored at room temperature.
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