Children Parties

Jan 22, 2012
418
1
Hello guys! I know there is a lot of professionals here on the forums and I was just wondering what kind of tricks do you do at children's birthday parties? Obviously it must be not as complex or else kids will lose interest very quickly. I'm 14 and I'm trying to get myself out there for birthday parties for kids around 5 to 8 years old.
 

Pete Pridanonda

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2009
402
35
Here are my top four favorite magic to perform at a children's birthday party.
1. Okito voodoo doll
2. In and Out Rope Escape
3. 20th century silks
4. Vanishing Bandana
 

Ashrei

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2007
351
2
I like Robbie/Rocky Raccoon, Sponge Bunnies, Color Changing Silk, Oreo Bite, cut and restored rope, etc.

My advice, though not my original, is that do not focus so much on doing magic. At age 5, everything they see is still filled with wonder and magic. Magic in some ways is minor part of their life's wonder. Hence, focus on entertaining the children, not so much fooling them. And you will go far. Hopefully someone else can support my claim, or state otherwise. I'd hate to be the only one feel this way, but I'd like to be corrected if I am wrong.

Also, if you are wanting to continue to perform at parties, be sure to entertain the adults as well. Remember who's paying for the gig, cause it's not the birthday boy.
 
Aug 8, 2012
11
0
Montreal
Magic coloring book (always loved)
Silk Serenade (Anyone remember this one?!)
D-Lite
Instant Radio (get them involved and have them draw a radio, great way to add time)
Topsy Turvy bottles (get a parent to be your assisant, the kids will love it)
Finally, Magic Flash pan (recently under-used) I use to produce gum and then go into "bogus bubble gum".

You probably don't have many of these, but on the bright side, they are not expensive. I hope at least a few are good suggestions.

I use to do this at 14, good times! please update and let us know how it went!
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
Professors nightmare
Coloring book
Tracking device by Jay Sankey
Sponge bunnies
Circle square, when I was younger I produced a Barney the Dinosaur doll, if you have a rabbit though this is a great way to produce live stock in a very save way. Close with this, you'll never be able to beat it magic-wise.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,575
3,847
New Jersey
Enter a children's magician. A magician that performs for children. Not a children's entertainer that is a clown (sometimes literally) and that uses "magic" (and I use that term loosely) as part of their show. A magician, first and foremost.

If that didn't cue you in to what is coming, grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage), sit back and enjoy my rant.

Hello guys! I know there is a lot of professionals here on the forums and I was just wondering what kind of tricks do you do at children's birthday parties?

I don't do tricks, despite the conventional wisdom that "tricks are for kids.". I do performance pieces. That is, effects with scripted patter and a developed presentation.

Obviously it must be not as complex or else kids will lose interest very quickly.

Since you are 14, I'll keep this simple so you can understand what I'm saying... Kids are smarter than you think (and yes, my comment about YOUR age is meant to illustrate my point - I know you will understand what I'm saying). Underestimate children at your own peril.

If you do tricks, you WILL lose their interest. However, think about the things that keep children's interest at those ages.

For younger kids age 4 to 5 watch The Wiggles and Dora the Explorer. There also is a great show that you can watch clips of on YouTube called the Upside Down Show. The Wiggles and the Upside Down Show give great examples of stories intertwined with silliness. Dora provides a great example of interactive learning (based on Howard Gartner's Theories of Multiple Intelligences) and a longer story tied together so that it keeps the children's attention.

For older kids 5 to 8, watch the movie Cars. Notice the combination of plot, character and humor - with a powerful and meaningful lesson in the end. The real magic there is that you believe that the cars are real in the end - because they operate within a reality that makes sense.

What I'm getting at, is that kids like stories. They like magic that makes sense in the context of the presentation. They can follow the plot if it is presented right. They like to be involved (see Dora for how the show becomes interactive) in different ways. it is much more than the effect, but the focus needs to be the effect.

My advice, though not my original, is that do not focus so much on doing magic. At age 5, everything they see is still filled with wonder and magic. Magic in some ways is minor part of their life's wonder. Hence, focus on entertaining the children, not so much fooling them.

Yes and no. You are a magician, entertain them with magic. It is easy to entertain kids by acting silly like a clown, but you are not a clown but a magician. Presenting strong magic in an entertaining way to children is difficult, but I believe that anything worth doing is worth the effort of doing it right.

I believe that magic should never be about fooling the audience (unless you are performing for other magicians). Who want to feel like a fool? If you magic is presented in terms of fooling, then the audience will pick up on it and view it as a challenge to figure out the method. You don't want to be heckled by a bunch of 8 year olds.

The focus is on entertaining with magic. You have to establish what is impossible and then do the impossible. Kids at five have a good sense of what is possible - they know that coins don't come out of people's ears. They know that things don't disappear and reappear in their hands. As magicians, it is our job to build up the impossibility through our performances - part of this is making sure our presentation of the plot is clear.

Just as a note, what you said is the advice provided by kids show entertainers such as David Ginn and David Kaye (Silly Billy). However, their target audience is the 3 to 5 age.

Also, if you are wanting to continue to perform at parties, be sure to entertain the adults as well. Remember who's paying for the gig, cause it's not the birthday boy.

The key here is strong magic. The presentation is geared to the kids, but the magic is strong enough for the adults to be amazed. I had one Harry Potter themed birthday show where I was showing the kids my vanishing cups (cups and balls) and the adults were telling the kids to sit down so they could see! I will also perform something for the adults as a warm-up before the show.

Look up anything by Silly Billy. He has a few books that give great advice when it comes to Children's Parties.

I think that Seriously Silly is a good read (there are also some essays on Silly Billy's website you can read for free). However, I STRONGLY disagree with and underlying premise of David Kaye's work (as well as David Ginn's writings) that "it is the journey that matters, not the destination." Again, both of those performers cater to the 5 and under crowd and perform as a clown (Silly Billy) or in a manner similar to a clown (David Ginn). Their performances are filled with gags and simple magic enhanced by a good presentation. That is not my style. I prefer Strong Magic and Strong Presentation. If we are magicians, the magic must not be insignificant.

I'm not going to post a description of HOW I perform my effects here. I've put too much effort into the presentation to put it up to be copied. However, I will list some of the effects that I perform - but with out the scripting and presentation.

Billiard Balls (Benson / Wakeling Handling)
Invisible Deck / Spreadwave (if the kids are older)
McCombical Deck
David Ginn's Sheepdog Puppet
Mismade Zebra (my own effect using silks and. Change bag that fools magicians)
Mark Wilson's Bigger Card
Cups and Balls
Linking Rings
Card to Nested Boxes
Steinmeyer's Concerto for Pasteboards
Dan Harlan's Hover Card
Counterfeit Hollingsworth
Giobbi's Houdini Ropr Trick
Color Changing Spongeballs (not Bizzaro's effect, but one using sleight of hand)
Magic Milk Pitcher
A variation of Tom Stone's Benson Burner routine

POSTSCRIPT: If what I am saying makes sense to you AND you are willing to put a lot of effort into making a unique, entertaining MAGIC show for children, I'm willing to help you. if that is the case, shoot me a PM.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Jan 22, 2012
418
1
Thank you for all your great advice! I really appreciate all your insight on this topic especially RealityOne, your input on presentation and creating a routine really help.
 
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