Which is the most difficult type of magic? Some will say that manipulation, because of its unquestionable technical difficulty; others will say great illusions, because of the difficulty that its staging entails. There will be people who’d say that numismagic or mentalism. And perhaps no one would be wrong. The level of difficulty that we find in doing something is linked with our tastes and natural ease to do something. There are people who have a gift for manipulation, so they will find this branch of magic less difficult than someone who doesn’t possess that natural gift.
Because of the same reason, and of many others, there is a branch of magic which many magicians fear: magic for children. It is not strange to see really good magicians who have achieved great successes not being able to achieve the same results when performing for children. Many magicians even get to a point in which they become really obsessed when performing for children, almost hating it. And it is true: performing for children is a difficult task, with very different challenges which not all magicians are ready to face.
Why is it so difficult to perform magic for children? Doing magic is communicating something with its own language, the illusions. We usually see adults being amazed when their chosen card appears at the spectator’s chosen position. Adults hallucinate when a magician guesses the number of various figures a member of the audience was thinking of. They shout startled when red and black cards never mix together after many ‘mixings’. They understand that this type of effects are something inexplicable. Magic!
But children… they live in a different world. Their own language, a different, imaginary one. And they are children. They don’t control the social rules like adults do. They ask when they ‘shouldn’t’, they interrupt you. And they get bored very easily. Try to do a routine of Aces for Knowers that amazed that adult audience so much to a 7-year old boy, and you will be ignored so badly, so badly you could have never thought such a thing could ever happen to you. But, of course… it depends on the child.
Magic for children needs, in order for it to succeed, to be looked from a different point of view than the rest of magic. Several authors, such as the North-American David Kaye (Silly Billy) have published works trying to clear up which are the most important points to focus on in order to have a children magic show that works, is liked by the children and satisfies their parents.
It is true, there are many different children, and these are not the same in the USA, in Japan, Spain or Colombia. There exist different types of habits, traditions and educations which considerably change the way children are and behave over the world. But there exists something true for all of them: they all have the same points in common. For your magic to be successful among children you must be liked by the children and, for that, the first thing is that you like them. It is the first important step. From there, you can create a successful children magic show, and with good magic.
And the thing is that there is something which many magicians forget when performing magic to children. There are magicians who get into ridiculous costumes, make funny voices, speak in a weird way, perform thousands of clown-like actions… and even then, without the least positive result. Why? Because many magicians forget something that’s essential, and that is that children are not imbecile adults, or less intelligent. No. Children are only children. It is a different world.