I get booked a lot through recommendation. This means that some kids may have already seen my show. Similarly, I am booked for birthday parties for the same child year after year. Mum’s always ask me – “Do you do a different show?” “Can you do a different show?” “Will you be doing a different show?”
More often than not, they are booking me off the back of a great show, yet they want it to be different as they fear it is not good to see the same thing more than once….For an adult this might be right, but let’s step into the world of a child for a second…..
Kids’ love to watch the same movie over and over again.
Kids’ love to listen to the same song over and over again. And over again. (Gangam style ring a bell?)
Why is this?
The psychological answer behind this is kid’s are constantly learning things. They way they are able to master a skill is to practice it over and over again. This, eventually, given time, leads to mastery. But why a movie – they are not necessarily learning anything here…?
It could be that they don’t understand the movie, but the more they watch the easier it is to understand. It could be they love the songs, they love the dancing actions and just want to join in.
Once they have mastered the storyline, dancing or singing games, they will no doubt celebrate this success in a way you would no doubt relate to hearing them do – saying I’ve seen this or predicting what is about to happen. It is this, which is their own self-congratulatory pat on the bag. In magic shows, I may produce a deck of cards for a children’s trick. With about a million tricks out there using playing cards, there is absolutely no way they know which trick you are about to perform. But this doesn’t stop them shouting – ‘I’ve seen that one’ – out of a mere recognition of familiarity with the deck of cards.
Even if they have, genuinely seen a particular trick then the children I perform to still have a wild fun time, if not more so than the time before as they are now familiar with the trick and the interaction they have with it. Since the world is unfurling before their very eyes, life remains an unpredictable place for children. Children, more so than adults, relish the ability to ‘predict’ or know what is coming up next……
So then, back to magic. I had the great honour of spending time, chatting with the ‘grandfather of children’s entertainment’ Terry Herbert a while ago. Whilst he imparted much Wisdom on me, one thing that remained intriguing. He told me that he’d performed the same kids’ magic act for the last 25 years – and the reasoning was a reduced version of what I mentioned above. Now this man is revered in magic, and his act a tribute to him.
Kids’ are happy to watch the same thing over and over again, but only if it is excellent!
I get lots of fantastic congratulatory words from satisfied mum’s and dad’s time and time again which suggest I have a great act. That said, there is a part of me which wants to keep my show fresh and exciting, not only for the kids but for me too. As a result, my show is constantly evolving. I have more than one act but I mix and match between the two, because as I mention earlier, kids love familiarity. It breeds comfort ability, and allows them to love the show even more….
I have more than one puppet, more than one set of tricks and years of experience which makes for some great fun magic shows for kids (and adults alike)!