As a magician of over 25 years. I've done my share of kids birthday party magic shows. There are certain things you should do and know to make the magic show more enjoyable and successful.
It's my hope that this guide will help you plan a successful birthday party in which a magician will be providing entertainment. Designed with both the magician and the guests at your party in mind.
Before I go into it. I'll share a couple of interesting facts about kids magic. Did you know that magic was never intended to be an art form for children? For centuries it was strictly for adults.
It wasn't intended for kids until they started incorporating magic into Punch and Judy puppet show in the UK in the 1700's.
In the United States kids magic started when churches started using magic to teach lessons of the bible in the 1800's. Magic is one of the oldest performing arts. So kids magic is very new.
It became known as more for kids when TV was born and cartoons started containing magicians with the top hat, tuxedo, cape and white gloves. The cereal rabbit didn't help either. :)
Anyway. On with the guide. The first thing you obviously need is a magician. I can't tell you exactly how to find one because every area is different.
These days your first step would obviously be the Internet or phone book. Some locations have websites for this. For example we have michiganmagicians.com Or maybe you've meet a magician yourself.
Lets assume for a moment you've found a magician. Keep in mind that not all magicians do kids shows. So don't just assume they're right for your party. Let them know the age of your child.
The age of the child and the age range of the guests is important to a magician. 6 year old often response to different kinds of magic than a 12 year old would.
As a rule of thumb I don't like to do magic shows for children under the age of six. There are alway exceptions but six is the age most kids can understand magic and appreciate it.
Think about it this way. To toddlers almost everything is magic. How does that microwave work? How does that toaster work? Toddlers only respond to visually funny, colorful and flashy.
Let the magician know the situation they'll be performing in. Inside or outside. Living room or restaurant. This is important information. And living room show will be very different than...
Say a large room with a large crowd. Certain magic isn't possible in certain venues. For example outside could cause props to be blown away by wind. Lighting can affect some magic.
Avoid hiring a magician in venues such as this image. With so many fun and colorful things around. It'll be a task. Often feel like a punishment to get the kids to sit still for a show.
The kids should enjoy the show. It's the parents job to gather the children and get them to anticipate the entertainment they've provided by hiring the magician.
By the way this is another reason I fallow the six year old and older rule. They've learned to sit like this in school by their teachers. So they know that this is time to expect to be an audience.
This is a big one and it never ever fails. There's always at least one brat in the crowd. It's not the child's fault. It's the parents fault. What happens is the children are excited.
So an excited child with a bunch of other children can tend to get a little hyper. And this I must stress. It is not, I repeat not the magicians job to make the kids behave. That's the parents job.
Magic can sometimes be effected by things like angles and lighting. So if you have a place in your home you plan for the show. Ask the magician if it'll work for them.
Or discuss it with them when they arrive. Let them observe the place and let you know if it'll work for the show. If not they'll let you know if they see a better location.
Not all magic shows are alike. Here I decided it was best in this situation for me to just sit with the kids and do magic. The kids loved it and that's all the magician is there for.
Let the magician know of any special interest the b-day kid has. Maybe they can tie it in the show. Here I showed a Harry potter fan how to float on a broom. :)
Stage shows have emcees. Their job is to not only introduce the performers. They also get audiences pumped up and excited about the performances to come. In a sense that the parents job too.
The more excited the kids are about a magician coming the better the magic show tends to be. In show biz a "dead audience" is an unresponsive and unexcited audience.
A good magician will be able to wake them up but if they where already looking forward to the show then the show will end up much more entertaining.
To recap. Inform the magician what's to be expected (age, location, conditions, etc...). Let them help you find the best "stage area" for the show. Work with the entertainer for best results.
It's not the magicians job to make kids behave. Their job is to entertain.
I hope some of these tips help you plan a magic show for a kids birthday party and make it a fun a memorable event.