• Do you do children’s magic shows?

  • August 12, 2019

  • Recently I wrote about doing magic with animals and how it is something I don’t do. So today, I had the bright idea to talk about magic with and for children.

    I don’t do kids parties. That’s my rule. I will teach children magic if they are interested, but I won’t do performances for kids under a certain age. It’s not that I don’t like doing kid’s parties, I don’t, but it’s a different type of magic. I know I also wrote about the different kinds of magic not too long ago and made no mention of “kids magic” as one of the categories. Maybe I should fix that for the next time I talk about the different types...

    There are quite a few reasons I don’t do kids magic, and they are all personal. There are some excellent reasons to do it for professional purposes to; I have just decided that for me, they aren’t enough.

    One of my biggest personal reasons is that when doing kids magic shows, the focus is on entertainment over magic, to a degree where the magic is almost non-existent. This may be a harmful stereotype that I need to get over, but in my experience, the type of magic has to be a caricature of the magic I love to perform. There are some fantastic magic effects that kids can understand out there, and I certainly don’t want to come across as bashing kid’s magicians. It is a tough act that I do not envy.

    The thing is, the magic I love doing is intricate and requires focus from the audience, something I can get from a more mature audience. Children rarely have the necessary faculties to follow along with the magic I perform, despite their parents insisting otherwise. That probably says more about my magic than the children though.

    I have and will continue to perform to kids once they are in the teenager bracket, as they can hold a conversation, follow along and hold a train of thought for long enough to enjoy a magic trick. The last party I did for anyone close to being a child, was a thirteenth birthday party where I was showing them magic, but also teaching them some after the performance. There were only eight of them, including the birthday boy, and it was great fun. It did come very close to being babysitting at a few moments, but they were old enough for me to bring them back around to the informal parlour-esque show that I was doing. Any younger and it may well have descended straight into chaos, which isn’t fun for the parents or me.

    With kids involved, there is also always a chance they will get upset and throw “a hissy fit” because they can’t have their way, or they hurt themselves, or any other of the many possible reasons that something could go wrong. As a performer, it would be my job to resolve the situation calmly and make sure that the parents are assuaged of any wrongdoing on my part. It happens regularly for me, which again, probably says more about me than the kids... And it is something I would just rather not deal with when I can just as easily avoid the situation altogether.

    For me as well, the character/persona I have as a performer is not very kid-friendly. I try to be cheeky and banter orientated with magic throughout my performance and occasionally brushing up towards “blue” material depending on my audience. With children, I can’t be so carefree with my language; I would have to be more of a clown, something I have done and do not wish to do any more. Again, there is nothing wrong with being more of a wholesome performer and having a relatable act for kids, but I find that I do not have the energy or the patience for it, so I opt out of doing it at all.

    Once, I did have a client book me to perform for a get together at their home. The reason was their son’s fifth birthday party, but they assured me, I was there to present to the parents and the older guests, with no need to entertain the children. Despite that fact, as is always the case, the parents would insist I show some magic to their kids; the children would harass me throughout the performance to do this or that again, and again. I did my job, entertained everyone as best as I could and then continued on my way once I was finished.

    I don’t like to struggle through gig’s like that, as I don’t feel like I have provided the client with what they want, and I haven’t been able to do what I love.

    So please, don’t book me to perform at your kid’s party. Just tell me that is what you are looking for, and I would happily recommend you a couple of much better-suited entertainers, that way, everyone has the best time possible!

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