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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2012 entrée: David Kaye » » Mentalism for Kids » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ba Ba Booey
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Hi David,

What are your thoughts on performing mentalism for kids? At which age do you think they start "getting it"?

Do you have any suggestions for performing mentalism for kids in the age range of 9-11 years old? Thanks.
David Kaye
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Baba Booey,

This is a very interesting subject. Whether you can perform mentalism for kids or not has been debated for a long time.

My first answer is get the new book by Paul Romhany, Performing Mentalism for Young Minds. I know the book has been discussed here on the Café. I contributed my thoughts on the subject to the book.

I think you can do mentalism for kids. The first thing you have to do is change your vocabulary. If you say the word prediction to kids they often think you are talking about the weather. Instead say, "I will guess what you will say." The other thing you have to do is be very clear about what is happening. It is not a magic trick. It is mind reading. Be clear about the plot and for the older kids (9-11) be sure to eliminate all possible explanations they might come up with.

Sometimes when I do mentalism for kids it falls flat. "Well you knew I was going to say that" is sometimes their explanation of the method. So be clear about how impossible it would be to know the future or read their minds.

Other than that, if you are serious about the subject you should get Paul's book.
David Kaye / Silly Billy
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Dorianmagic
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There's a commercial trick called "What's Your Job" that I found works well and gets a lot of kids in the audience involved.

Another favorite uses a design duplication theme. I say: "There's a new TV show about a 10 year old girl who can read peoples minds. Has anybody seen it? No That's because it didn't come out yet… But it will!

"Imagine how wonderful it would be if you were able to tell what other people are thinking - your mom and dad, teachers, friends… boys!"

I use a deck of Jumbo cards showing well known cartoon characters. One of the cards is selected (R&S for the force) and the experiment begins.
Let's say our 11 year old spectator's name is Emily. With pad in hand, we sit facing each other:

Emily, with your help, I'm going to read your mind. And here's how I'm going to do it. I want you to look at that picture and, without saying anything - I want you to try to it send it to me just by thinking about it. A good way to do this is to trace around the picture with your finger, just like you're drawing it yourself - the nose - the eyes - the mouth etc.
On the count of three we turn our pictures around to show an almost perfect. The cartoon character has signed his autograph to Emily which she keeps as a souvenir.
DanHarlan
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Kids understand menatlism as long as it is themed to something they can relate to (but I believe that should be done for adults as well) and as long as the process makes sense... and doesn't take to long (ditto for adults). Dorianmagic's drawing dupe is a fine example. I once contributed an effect to the Scholastic Books magic kits that was themed as a trip to the zoo. Basically, someone thinks of one of the animals and you tell them what it is. David is right... you do need to use language that makes sense. No "prediction" or "mentalism" or "psychology." However, it's best to remember that really young kids haven't yet grasped the concept of the "hidden self" within their minds, so they may just assume you already know what they're thinking. Typically, once they've been exposed to a year or two of "formal education" they understand the concept of secrets.
--Dan Harlan
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Dorianmagic
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Thanks for the kind words Dan. I agree, there is a line they seem to cross after the second or third grade. I've found Mental Epic works well in family shows too, usually with one adult and two ten or eleven year olds. I call it "Guess Your Best" with a tip of the hat to Bob McAllister. It keeps the adults interested as well as the kids so you don't have to become the "baby sitter". If there's a mistake along the way, which for some reason always seems to happen, it gives one of the kids a chance to show the magician might not be as smart as a fifth grader.
Bob
jlevey
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Thanks for your valuable input David (and other fellow members), Just curious Dorian... why do you "tip you that to Bob McAllister"? I am a Bob McAllister fan and am curious to know how he influenced you if you are willing to share.

Jonathan
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Dorianmagic
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Those of us who remember Bob McAllister know how much he loved magic and magicians. In 1972, I was performing as Merlin at the Metropolitan Museum in NY and Bob invited me to repeat the act on Wonderama. Over the years we became friends and worked together many times.
Bob
ThatsJustWrong!
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I don't suppose you know the McAllister Monte, Bob? I found the packet that I bought from Bob at a lecture many, many moons ago but no instructions. I suspect they may have been in his lecture notes. Any idea?
Joe Leo

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Dorianmagic
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Sorry Joe, I don't remember that one
Bob
Ba Ba Booey
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Thanks for your answers, tips, and advice, David, Dan, and Dorian.

Mark
krowboom
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Ba Ba Booey. I do a routine called Animental by Danny Archer. I mainly perform for preteen kids (usually 5-10) and I almost always use this. This routine always gets a great reaction and the kids just cannot figure out how I guessed their selection. This "mentalism" is as simple as it gets and it gives you the chance to do lots of great acting in your performance. Kids definitely "get this" and it's fun to do.
Ba Ba Booey
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Thanks for the tip, Krowboom.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2012 entrée: David Kaye » » Mentalism for Kids » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes)
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