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Michael Peterson
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I need some advice on putting together a show for kids. None of the stuff I do is geared towards children, I don't think they would appreciate the stuff I do. I know I can adapt some of it, but I'm kind of at a loss.

Many kids cry at the site of me(yes, I feel special). I do love children, I just never gave much thought to performing for them.

I have a dove pan, spring snakes, a change bag & other kid show type stuff that I never use.

Any advice on routines or books would be appreciated.


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Peter Marucci
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What's the occasion? How long a show? And what age are the kids?
You've got the right equipment, it seems, but other info would be helpful in offering any advice.
BTW, don't worry about kids crying when they see you; they LAUGH when they see me! Smile
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Margarette
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Kids love stuff that is very animated and colorful. That's one reason why 75% of my show for kids involve silks. They also love to see stuff disappear and change into something else, or disappear and reappear some other place. The big thing to remember with performing for children is that it's not the destination, it's the journey that will capture their attention. Also, the best thing I have learned is to become very familiar with what is "in" with the children. I don't know how many I surprised with my knowledge of the 150 original Pokemon characters and their evolutions. It scares me that I know this!!! Smile

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Brian Sanders
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Hereford
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I do mainly Kids B/day parties .principally as a Punch and Judy Show. This is followed by some simple magic.My best trick at the moment is "Magic Marksman",marketed by Practical Magic, in the UK . I believe that it is important to keep things simple for children. Smile
Sir T
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As you did not give an age range that makes things a bit more difficult because, it really depends on the age group, you are wishing to perform for.

If I had to recommand a book, I would say, KidBiz by David Ginn Lots of good information in it.

If you are looking for a blue print to work from and build upon, I would recommand Life on the living room circuit by Tom and Merianne Myers.

With the items you have listed, Kidbiz is your best bet, I have a few book and tapes by David Ginn, useable solide stuff. His style is a truely his own.

Spend some time and learn to twist balloons as well, it is a great add on and or time filler for the end of a show.

I do have Dan Harlen's tape, for pack small play big for childern's parties. I did not care for the tape, all that much. HOWEVER, there are some really good workable ideas. His style is more forced, to me (at least on this tape). One could take this tape, change out a routine or two (3 would be better) add in say, The Gaint Tazmanina Man-eating devil for a running gag, instead of his Balloon-atic (which is weak and not all that funny), A better Sponge ball rountie, or maybe the card on the back rountine (kidbiz), add to the coloring book, silks to crayons, to coloring book. Add in your Dove pan and or change bag.

Lots of possible ideas for a kid show.

Just me,

Kevin Smile
Michael Peterson
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Well, I have come to the conclusion that I can't avoid doing kid shows. I ned to put together an act for birthday parties. I just wanted to know what goes over well with kids.

The advice so far is much apprecited.



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Sir T
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So, I am sitting here going through my books and would say, if you are starting from ground zero, I would like to add the following books:

The Birthdat Party Business and Handbook for the magical party clown, (don't worry, if you are not a clown, this book still has good information in it).

If you want to learn to twist balloons, http://www.balloonhq.com for advice and run do not walk and get Captain Visuals big book of balloon art!

kevin Smile
WR
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Here is some stuff I posted on another form;First of all let me say I am not the end all be all of kids shows. Nor am I attempting to sound like I know everything there is about performing. I am just stating a few things I have learned in doing kids shows for the last 2 years; When performing for kids I like to put a long piece of masking tape in front of me and announce that one of the rules is too please say behind it. This stops the kids from ending up at my feet.

Always fit the show to the kids. I have diff. shows for boys diff. for girls. I have a show for younger kids as well as older. I have a show for church parties and one for hospitals.

For kids shows use colorful props and make sure they are logical. If you make something vanish, make it come back. Kids are not dumb they know what is going on.

I don't suggest using fire, knives or anything that might cause damage. I pesonally don't like using the finger or arm chopper things. Kids love to imitate. How many of us played superfriends or house.

I suggest having animals either real or fake in your act. How many stuffed animals do your kids have. I don't have live animals in my act but I do have ; a rubber chicken, Roxie, Fur mice, A card duck, pokeman and some birds. I find that if you keep hem moving amd give them a personality they are great. But, be prepared for the kids to want to pet them after.

Avoid sucker effects. A break away fan or wand in good fun but an effect where the kid is made to look stupid or foolish is not.

Avoid tricks that are over the kids heads. One of the main ones are card tricks. Often kids don't remeber the card or it is above them. I do use cards for three effects, the card duck, an effect with furball the mouse, and a shoot the deck trick. But at the end of each I hand out the used card as a momento for my helper.

Use as many helpers as possible. I have one effect where I use 5 kids. Alway have the audience clap and cheer for the helper at the end of the effect.

Use magic words so the audience can help with the magic "On the count of three lets say now. One, two, three..." Use the b-day childs name as a magic word for certin effects.

Avoid crude effects. The baffling bra or such are not good.

Pass out activity sheets with your name on it at the end of the show. Also I suggest having a coupon for a certain amont off your next show. People love to save even if it is for $5.00.


I was just reading about a magi in AK, who did a school show and the Pricipal got after the kids for being noisy. I have done kids shows for a few years now and I feel A few points I have learned the hard way might help those who are also doing them 1- Always make sure the parent or authority figue in charge knows you are there to entertain and not to be the one who keeps the kids in line.

2- Always make sure they know what your show is like. I Tell them the kids will be excited and will make some noise but that is all part of the show. I encourage that they get involved and sit back and enjoy the show.

3-Always tell tell them to schedule you 30 min after they want the show to start. This makes it good for any late people to get in before the show.

4- Always ask the person who is hiring you to PLEASE wait till after your show to do cake or presents. Trust me on this one, it cuts down on distractions.

5- Always "draw a line" not to be crossed. I have noticed that kids get closer and closer until they are around you feet. "please move back". I use a roll od masking tape and tape a long line in front of me about 3 feet out. I tell the kids they need to stay on that side of the line...If they ask why I tell then I have a man eating frog named ralph who will eat them..Oh and he is invisable.

6-Remember kids need to be entertained. Silly Bob will go over better than Serious sam. I suggest getting Books by kid performers. One of my favs. it David Ginn. USe brightly colored silks, Animal, live or Props (Rocky is great as well as a rabbit in the hat).

7- Always remember that you are there to entertain the kids. Forget the adults are there. Have fun.

8- Never do a sucker trick that makes the kids look foolish. The MAgician in trouble is great. Make you the sucker. Some tricks are fine IF they come out with the kids as the hero.

9- NEver do a dangerous trick. Kids love to imitate. Do a rope through the body not the neck. PLEASE no needles through the arms or tounge. No FIRE is a rule to remember.

10- Have a couple of shows at least ready. In the beginning I had kids who would go to a show for someone who had been to my show already. I had one show and would hear "Oh I have seen this...Are you going to do the same show as last time..." I have 4 different show ready.

11- K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple and Short.... Over half of my show is "Prop" magic...Dove pans, Change bag, Die box etc... You don't half to have a giant production to entertain kids. Be silly have fun. Also don't have hour long shows. Kids are active I suggest for 5-8 = 20-25 Min. 9-11 = 30-35 min.

12- If you are doing balloons save them for last. Nothing is worse than "POP" or "My doggie came untied" durring the show. Also have a wide range of animal, swords etc... Just in case. I tie the ones I think the kids will like. Dogs and Dinosaurs are great and alot of kids like Mouse too. You will probable need to rety some but its still fun.

13- Get you money before the show. Do this away from the kids. I have had "TightWads" say "oh, I only have x Dollars will that be ok.....I did not feel the show was worth X dollars"...Etc....

14- DO charity Shows! When not performing for Money charity shows get you seen, most of my shows come from word of mouth, the alow you to try new stuff to see how they work on audiences too.

15-Lastly, Don't make a mess. I clean up after my self. Some use confetti or long Streamers and leave a mess. MOM hates to clean so I keep it clean.

Most magically yours,
WR
Smile Smile
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
GlenD
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First trick I always have done, as sort of a lead in for whats to follow, is the one where you pull your thumb off.
Then I do a finger chopper, thats always fun, especially if you let the birthday child select the volunteer! If the parents arent close by, I whip out my needle thru arm and work it in and out several times for the kids before the parents return (usually to the call of the screaming kids)! It kills... oh and, consider the over the head paper bag smash for a finale!! Thats all I can think of right now.
Good luck! Smile
Let us know how it goes...
GlenD
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
Alan Munro
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My advice is to get videos and books on kidshows by those who are great at it: Samuel Patrick Smith, B.J. Hickman, Bob Markwood, Silly Billy (aka David Kaye), Trevor Lewis, etc.
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