Tricks for Children

When I was first writing this course I intended to include a couple of tricks to get you started as a children’s entertainer. I dropped this for a few reasons.

Firstly, just because something worked for me in my style of performing, it wouldn’t have meant it would work for you and your style. With children how you present the trick can be as important than what the trick is. Therefore finding tricks and making them your own is important.

Secondly, the handful of tricks wouldn’t have been enough for you to put together a full show, let alone a full two hour party!

Thirdly, looking over my repertoire as a children’s entertainer I realised that not many of my tricks I performed were original – but I certainly made sure the scripting and presentation of the trick was unique to me.

Website Design for Children’s Entertainment

Designing your website technically falls under marketing and incorporates branding which we have both covered earlier in this section (focusing on children’s entertainment) and covered in general in the Marketing section.

However, your website will play such an important role in generating business it is worth briefly covering it separately, though everything covered is in conjunction with those previously mentioned sections.

Think of your website at your store. This is where people will go from someone browsing to making a serious enquiry, and possibly even making the decision to make the purchase.

Think of your marketing and advertising as the methods to bring people to your shop and get them through the front door. If once inside they don’t like the products you offer or the prices you offer them for then they’ll leave. Like a physical shop, if your website doesn’t have the right look to it customers will also leave.

Imagine going into a butchers’ shop; if the floor is dirty, there are marks on the walls and flies in the air you won’t hang around long enough to check out the produce – let alone look at the prices. You may offer a great magic show that children love and for a bargain price, but if your website has faults, errors, is slow, contains old pictures, dated style and out of date information people will leave it – even those that may have seen you in action may still be put off!

If you offer different styles of magic (for example children’s shows and close-up magic) it is vitally important you have two separate websites. Promoting different styles on a single website WILL confuse potential clients. Though some will take the time to differentiate between the styles and realise the difference, others will skim-read and make their decision based on their first impression; they will hit the Back button until they get to a website which promotes the closest match to their requirements as the primary offering.

Repeat Bookings and Recommendations for Children’s Parties

This is where having consistent branding pays off, especially if it is unique and memorable.

Ideally both parents and children will remember your stage name. A quick search on Google should enable someone to find your website quickly – and it doesn’t cost you a penny!

By ensuring you use consistently your branding (clothing, fonts, colours and logos) means that if they can’t remember your name (or even forget that they’ve even seen you) searching through the internet for local entertainers will immediately freshen their memory and remind them of you when they see your image or website.

This is of course compounded by having your staging (back-drop, banners and roll-on table) branded. Parents take pictures at parties and will often share these on social media – complete with you and your branding. Of course, some parents may even make a note of your details whilst at the party.

Although wise to have flyers clearly visible (so parents can take one) I wouldn’t recommend just giving them out as this is a little too blatant. However, if you are providing party bags then putting a flyer in the bag is acceptable. As discussed previously, you can even get your own party bags made with your own branding and contact details on.

However, the best format is the double sided flyer. On one side are some puzzles and activities for the children, on the other your details. Even if you aren’t providing party bags it is then more acceptable to ask if the children want to take an activity sheet home with them. Parents will know these will be branded, but the included activity for the children makes this perfectly justified.

Even more subtle is to make suggestions that you are available for future events within the show itself. It is important that this is not a sales-pitch, but just the odd line put in for comic effect; but which raises the idea that you are available for future bookings. This should be used with caution though, don’t try and blackmail children, get their hopes up for tell them to tell their parents to book you. Remember, not all parents have sufficient disposable income or may have other plans; and will find your sales-pitch very off putting.

Follow this process:

  1. Let people know they can book you,
  2. Make it clear who you are by having a unique name and branding,
  3. Ensure the branding and style is clear through-out the show,
  4. Give people a direct way to contact you via flyers and branding,
  5. Ensure your branding is clear on all your advertising and marketing.

Marketing Children’s Shows

Later in this course there’s a whole section dedicated to marketing and sales; and there we will go a lot deeper into the principles involved. In this part we aren’t going to cover the fundamentals, nor go into depth, but will look at the elements of marketing and sales that are specific to children’s entertaining. Once you have completed the Marketing section I recommend coming back to this lesson again to refresh on the Children’s show specifics.

It is essential you have a good understanding of marketing and sales before you make any financial commitments to advertising or promotion. It is common for people to want to take action when starting a new company, the thinking being that the sooner you start advertising the sooner money will start coming in. Though true, if the advertising isn’t effective you will not get many enquiries.

In the first section of this course we discussed why offering children’s magic shows is so important, especially to a magician looking to make the leap from amateur to professional. One of the main reasons was lead or turn-around time, and another was the greater demand for this type of entertainment.

Let’s compare a child’s birthday with a close-up booking for a wedding.

Time Scale

Child’s birthday: Average booking made 4 to 6 weeks in advance
Wedding: Average booking made 6 to 12 months in advance


Child’s birthday: Lots of children; all have birthdays, and most will celebrate with a party
Wedding: Will (hopefully!) be a once in a lifetime event

Repeat Business

Child’s birthday: A child may have a magic show at their 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th birthday parties. That’s a total of FIVE magic shows. Most families have two or more children. That’s the potential for ten or more parties.
Wedding: As mentioned it’s a one off event


Child’s birthday: There will be around 20 to 30 other children at the average party. Each will have birthdays (depending on age there could be up to five birthday suitable for a magic show), as well as brothers or sisters who will also have birthdays.
Wedding: Although there could be 80 to 100 guests at a wedding, it’s likely that only a few guests (if any) will be engaged couples in the process of organising their own wedding.


Child’s birthday: Parents socialise with other parents and will often ask for recommendations as all are experiencing the same parenting issues. This can be at social events, waiting at the school gates, on social media or dedicated parenting forums. A positive recommendation is a very strong endorsement and beats any paid for advertising.
Wedding: As magicians at weddings are still quite rare couples are likely to source a magician themselves, though a recommendation is still very strong.

Of course a wedding booking will pay more, but you will have to wait longer to do the booking and be paid for it. Even if you work on the basis that from each party you only get one repeat booking, and each of those books six weeks in advance; you will have performed (and been paid for) eight children’s magic shows in the time it’s taken you to perform (and be paid for) just one wedding booking.

That’s not to say that the wedding will generate future business, but the time scale is longer. Based on my projections, and backed up with my experience, it took about five to six months to become an established children’s entertainer (by established I mean I had enough consistent bookings to generate a consistent income), but it took five to six YEARS to do the same for close-up magic.

It’s because of this you need to ensure your marketing falls into two categories:

  • Getting brand new business
  • Repeat bookings, referrals and recommendations

Once established most of your bookings will come from the second category, which is not only more effect but also a lot cheaper; though it is still worth advertising for new business to keep your pool topped up with fresh clients.

Adding Up-Sells to Children’s Parties

Having established your core packages and prices you may wish to increase revenue by offering your clients various add-on options. These optional extras also give your clients more flexibility to build the full package they want based around the core package of the show.

Including these add-ons will increase the investment you need to make, not just in financial terms but also in time. For example, if you make a balloon model for every child at a party the financial outlay will be small, but with thirty children attending you could increase the time you are at the party for by twenty to thirty minutes. This extra time needs to be factored in if you are doing two or more parties in a day.

Similarly, if you provide party bags it won’t affect the length of time you are at the party for as you may give the party bags to one of the parents who will hand them out at the end of the party themselves. There is of course time invested beforehand making up the party bags but this can be done in your spare time whilst watching television. However, the investment you need to make is in purchasing the item to go in the party bags. In order to make it viable you need to purchase the items directly from a wholesaler. This will mean you’ll need to buy in bulk, which may require an investment of a two to three hundred pounds/dollars, but will give you enough items to make up hundreds of party bags.

As an aside, I realised that I priced my party bags at a rate that meant I rarely made a profit on the party bags, usually it would a very small loss. However, I continued to offer the party-bags as an add-on because I found offering it meant I would get more bookings as clients realised by booking me they were getting a more complete package. If they booked another magician they would have to source the party bags elsewhere. Essentially I was selling convenience, and took more bookings as a result.

Props, Audio, Staging and Other Equipment

Unfortunately in order to make money you’ll need to spend some. You need to create a quality product, and as a children’s entertainer that product is a good quality magic show. But not only must the show be fun and entertaining, it must also look and sound good.

I used to think of a children’s entertainer as an elderly gentleman (perhaps a retired accountant) who would turn up with brightly painted (but worn) wooden props in a battered suitcase. Perhaps using a small crackly speaker to be heard. When I saw a “modern” children entertainer I saw he set up a smart looking stage area, backdrop, branded roll-on table, clean props and played music through a quality PA system and could be heard with a headset wireless microphone.

It is coming at it from this angle which will ensure you stand out and get booked. Of course this takes expense but it’s surprising how cheaply much of this can be acquired for. Although you don’t need all of it to get started, I recommend making an investment because once you get a reputation for turning up with cheap props in a suitcase that’s an image that will be hard to shake.

You should have already looked at allocating expenses involved in setting up your business and created your business plan. If you haven’t go back to the first section and work your way through them using real figures to create a business plan.

Failure to do that will either mean you don’t spend enough at this stage and never get the perfect show for your clients, you spend too much and needlessly waste money on items you won’t use, or you drift through not making a commitment and without a plan have no course to follow or goals to aim for.

Target Audiences and Show Children’s Package Options

We’ll cover types of audiences first before discussing the various packages and options you will offer, but before doing any of that I recommend starting very simply and just putting together one simple package you are confident you can rehearse and deliver from the day you start to promote it.

It’s likely that this will be a 45 minute magic show which is suitable for the 4-8 age group. Although you may want to offer games, discos and other extras these can be introduced in as your core product (the show) gets more established. One of my first bookings was a 1.5 hour party package including music and games. I quickly realised that I had too many “new” things on my mind (using a new PA, microphone, music remote control, integrating new games and tricks, remembering new scripts and setting up new props) for it to go as smoothly as I’d have liked.

I immediately dropped the package options and just offered the 45 minute magic show as the only option. After a while I started telling clients I could do an hour performance which included a few games and music before the show. This eventually built up to offering a full two hour party; which not only generated more income per show, but was the most popular option.

Once your initial offering is established you’ll feel more confident in offering more packages. Don’t try and run before you can walk.

Creating Your Character and Brand for Children’s Entertainment

One of the most important things you can do as a children’s entertainer to create your character. This is more than just want clothes you’ll wear or what name you’ll go by. Every action you take afterwards will be affected by your character, and everything you do should be congruent. Your character will affect:

  • How your audience (the children and the adults at your shows) see you,
  • How professional they perceive you to be,
  • The style of magic your perform,
  • The types of props you use,
  • What age group you perform for,
  • What you wear,
  • What people call you,
  • What colours and fonts you use on your marketing, website and promo material,
  • If people will want to book you.

Another important factor is by creating your children’s character (and associated branding) you will also be differentiating yourself from other styles of magic you may perform. Although it is initially tempting to think of the cross-sales if you offer yourself as a magician “for all occasions”, in reality it will put many clients off.

For example, if your name is John Smith and your website clearly shows you offer magic for children’s parties, weddings and corporate events it will come across as confusing to clients. A potential corporate booker may be worried that John Smith will attempt to entertain their executives with the Hippity-Hop Rabbits trick. A mother organising her child’s party may be concerned you’ll be trying to entertain a bunch of five year-olds with card tricks and mind reading stunts.

However, if John Smith’s website clearly shows that John performs as “Magic John” for children’s parties the client can see the differentiation between the two styles. They’ll know which one they’ll be getting. Ideally you will have a separate website for each style.

Now I realise clients should realise this for themselves. And yes, they should. But unfortunately many won’t.

Some people are in a rush and will simply scan over a website to get a feel if the entertainer is the right “fit” for their event. They won’t take the time to properly read the text, and it will be very unlikely they’ll pick up the phone or send you an email. The most common action they’ll take is it hit the Back button on their web browser and go to the next magician on the list.

By clearly having your character and brand it will show to the clients that you specialise in exactly the style they are looking for, and give them the confidence that you are worth contacting to discussing booking.

Brand Awareness is covered again in the Marketing Section of this course. Ensure you read it too to get the full picture on branding and using it effectively.

Children’s Magic – Introduction

When I first seriously took up magic as a hobby performing magic for children was the furthest thing from my mind. My interest lay with mentalism and sleight-of-hand card magic, both targeted towards the mature audience (which at the time consisted of the usual friends and family).

I had toyed with the idea of becoming a professional magician but after creating a very simple business plan on a spreadsheet I quickly realised that earning a sustainable income to replace my day job with close-up magic in a realistic time-frame was next to impossible. This made me put my hopes of becoming professional aside.

A few months later I attended a lecture at a magic society by a children’s entertainer that completely reversed my view of children’s entertainment, and especially of children’s entertainers.

Previously I had always though of children’s entertainers who were retirees who earned some extra income on a Saturday afternoon with painted wooden props, clown suits and stage-names starting with “Uncle”.

The lecturer I saw was younger than I imagined a children’s entertainer would be, roughly in their mid-thirties. The props he used were modern looking, he made topical references, had a PA for music, sound effects (controlled remotely) and used a head-set microphone. His repertoire included illusions and close-up magic.

The show was engaging, and though aimed at children it was still entertaining for all ages. In fact it was more of a family show, but focusing on the children.

Not only that, but he’d created a whole stage area with a back-drop, wings and table, all branded and colour-coded. There were even flashing lights.

As well as performing tricks he also explained how he played games, ran a mini-disco and interacted with the children and the adults at parties.

I stayed for the whole lecture and even bought his lecture notes. I could see that my preconception of children’s magic was wrong. What’s more, I could see how I could use children’s magic as a tool to progress my career as a close-up magician.

Sitting there I had the revelation that I too could perform in this style, and once I factored children’s entertainment into my business plan I suddenly realised that becoming a professional magician was no longer impossible for me.

It’s for this reason I recommend that everyone should read this Section – even those with no intention of becoming children’s entertainers.

I also recommend that everyone should have a go at entertaining children for many reasons. Firstly, although a close-up magician will promote themselves to bookers as entertainment for adults, there will regularly be children of all ages at these events and it’s important that you can interact with them and show them a trick or two.

Secondly, it’s a great way to get experience. Performing children’s shows (and getting paid for it) may not be your end goal, but it’s a damn-sight closer to being a professional magician than doing your regular day job!

Children can be a tougher and less forgiving audience than adults. If something goes wrong or you aren’t entertaining enough they’ll let you know, whereas adults will still politely applaud. If you want a good show (and you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this) you need to tough it out, that’s how you get good.

You also need to deal with interruptions and things going wrong calmly and remain in control through-out. You need to do this without shouting, swearing or even acknowledging something has gone wrong and interrupting the flow of the show. If you even consider doing corporate work (where some of the audience may have had a few drinks) then you’ll appreciate these are important skills to have.

The ‘turn-over’ time scale is a lot quicker for children’s parties. On average the booking will be made 4-6 weeks prior to the event, whereas close-up bookings can be 6-8 months prior, and on occasion 2 years for weddings. This means a much longer wait before recieving any income, whereas children’s magic starts generating

I must admit that I currently do not perform children’s shows, and didn’t intend to in the long-term. when I put together my business plan I realised I could take advantage of the quicker financial turn-around to establish my business quicker.

Even so, I ensured that the shows were of a good quality, with material that was thought out and rehearsed. I developed my brand, style and invested heavily in market. Children’s magic got me through the first few years of being a professional magician.

In this introduction I’ve just covered a few of the main reasons why I feel it is essential that anyone looking to make the jump to being professional includes this type of entertainment as an option, or is a least experienced and knowledgeable. Read through the two sub-topics which are lists that break it down further and give even more reasons why you shouldn’t skip this Section.

I fully admit that it wasn’t part of my overall objective, and I don’t regret performing children’s shows. You’ll be surprised at how many magicians also performed for children when they first turned professional – and some of these are well known within the industry for their corporate work. Don’t knock it.

If being a children’s performer isn’t part of your long term plan you still need to invest the time and effort into doing it properly. You need to get new props, write scripts and rehearse them. It may be a “means to an end” for you, but remember, for the customer it’s a special day. Don’t ruin a child’s birthday because you have an attitude or think it’s beneath you. It isn’t.

Regardless, you MUST put on a good show. Although I didn’t want to be a children’s magician for any longer than necessary I still ensured every show was the best it could be, and every child had fun and was suitably entertained. This must have been the case as in the last few years most of my children’s shows were repeat bookings and recommendations. In fact I still got enquiries for children’s shows over five year after I stopped.

It was actually getting so successful that I had to force myself to set a retirement date and turn away business for people wanting to book me after that date. Children’s magic can be such a good earner that even after five years of building up my close-up magic business it was still a few more years before close-up magic exceeded what I earned performing for children.

I hope that this has encouraged you to at least keep an open mind about children’s magic and hopefully realise the advantages of it, for both the business and magical development of your career.