Your 40 Top Tips for Kids Entertainers

50 top tips for kids entertainersWe asked 40 kids entertainers one question…

What is the one thing you wish you had known before becoming a children’s entertainer?

In this post you will find tips, wisdom and technique from 50 kids entertainers. The answers came in from face painters, clowns, jugglers, magicians, costume characters,  balloon twisters, ventriloquists, kids musicians, circus artists and comedians who all work with kids. Some of the tips are from full time professionals, some are from beginners and hobbyists but all are shared from personal experience. This post is what Kids Entertainer Hub is all about, kids entertainers coming together, sharing and learning from each other in the pursuit of betterment of our art. The idea is if we all share our most valuable learning,  we will all grow together as artists.

Please share your “one thing” in the comments section below this post.


Well becoming a children’s entertainer for me was a complete accident, a happy accident, but it was never in my plan. So I would say what I wish I knew when I first Margie Neugentstarted out was that I didn’t have to lift every single child into my chair. I would instinctively reach for them to make it easier for them. However, I watched many parents stand by my chair and chuckle while saying, “yeah he’s much heavier than he looks right?”I tried everything bending at my knees, preparing and bracing and still by the end of the weekend I was struggling to get my cases in the car. So I started to let them climb up with my assistance or turn to the parents and ask them to help. I learned to protect my body so I can give more at each event.

Margie Nugent
makingfacesparties.com

Great Scott the magician


I wish I knew that children want to be given the chance to volunteer/participate in a show – much more than I ever thought before  becoming a magician. I have since included many more tricks which give more and more opportunities to get the kids up and involved. And in saying this, they want to be the magic hero, who is part of making the magic happen! If it’s a birthday child, they must be given extra special attention.

Great Scott the Magician
www.greatscottmagician.com.au


The one thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer is a priceless quote from the Guru of Kid Shows – Silly Billy aka David Kaye. I attended his lecture Bernard Marianoin 2003 and it totally transformed the way I approached kid shows. The quote was “It’s not the destination, but the ride.” Before this I thought the most important thing was the magical effect and climax to every trick. Since then, for me it’s about embellishing the trick with gags, props etc and ensuring all the kids have fun along the way – the climax is just the bonus! Try this approach and you will see a 200% increase in reactions from your audience!

Bernard Mariano
www.bernardomagic.com


Christine MaentzNo one told me how this hobby could become so addictive! Whether it be face painting, balloons or magic, the better you become, the more you want to entertain and develop your creativity! I love to see kids excited about what I do and how that makes them feel. Happy kids are all that matter. My audience must be left with joy and wonder or they’ll never call me again – that’s what I’m paid for. Either to make them feel special with a painted face, a unique balloon design or total amazement with a trick they participated in. I always want to do more, to mesmerize more and to bring more joy – that’s what I do as a kids entertainer. It used to be something I did for fun for myself, now it’s something I need to do, for the kids… no one warned me about that!

Christine Maentz
knoxvillepartymagic.com


Jason Dinder jungle jim jam

Simply put, I wish I knew much earlier on that children’s music was my calling. There were so many hints along the way beginning in my own childhood that I hadn’t connected. These hints grew stronger early in my marriage when my wife and I would write educational songs for her students in grade school. Had I started in children’s music decades ago, who knows how much further along I’d be. Ahhh, but there’s the wisdom: Even if you get started late, get started anyway! Do something every day. I just passed the 2 year mark since my first kindie band rehearsal and when I look back on those 2 years at what we accomplished, I’m encouraged to keep going.

Jason Didner – Creator of Jungle Gym Jam children’s music

Lucy SpielbergThe one thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer is that when you are having or have had a really bad show, it doesn’t mean your a bad performer. You are a good person and children need more role models like you in their lives.
For days after an unsuccessful show I would beat myself up about it, what went wrong, why it went wrong, how I should just quit the whole thing.
Now I know there are so many other things to factor into a party that can go with or against you, and over time you learn to eliminate as much as possible to give yourself every chance of success.
Also ALWAYS carry a megaphone to warn noisy parents and an extra PUMP just in case 🙂

Lucy Spielberg
lucylost-it.co.uk


 

Dennis Regling

I have been presenting school shows for 14 years now. Over 1600 schools in 28 states. The one thing I wish I had known before becoming a childre’s entertainer is the importance of building relationships with my clients.
My first few years, I would do my show and go. I didn’t follow up with thank you notes, related information for students and teachers or even keep an organized list. Looking back, I realize how many opportunities I may have lost.
Today, I always follow up with a thank you and I have a website for students and teachers to join my newsletter and get free follow up materials. Building relationships has become very important in today’s competitive world.

Dennis Regling
greatassemblies.com


 

Keith MarshallThe one thing I wish I had known before coming a children’s entertainer is wish I had began doing it earlier
I was 34 before I started, although I worked with children before that at teaching wildlife, but it was not until I got saved, that I dedicated my life to working with children especially in church and kids clubs
I used my magic skills with the ROYAL RANGERS a Christian outreach to boys and girls .
I also work voluntary in care homes too

Keith Marshall aka WILDLIFEKEITH


Ed SumnerI wish I had known about the importance of structure in my magic shows. At Ready Steady Magic we believe our entertainment is best enjoyed when the whole family can be involved together. That’s why now, we actively encourage parents to sit with the children. It means that everyone can be involved and it helps to prevent distractions such as children wandering off, or parents chatting noisily. We still occasionally have a show where the parents want to just leave us to babysit the children, but now at least now we also have measures in place to deal with that situation too.

Ed Sumner
readysteadymagic.co.uk


Charlie Fass
I wish I had known that children are entertained by different things than an adult audience.  Simple things like dropping a prop three times in a row, or saying that I don’t think I should do a certain trick until they start chanting “do it, do it, do it….”are entertainment techniques I did not find out about until I had performed many children’s shows.  With children, it is the process I go through instead of the actual magic which is most entertaining to them.  Over the years I have been able to develop a show which now entertains the children and the adults present too.

Charlie Fass, aka Mister Illusion
misterillusion.com


Peter Bugnet

One thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer is how much love and joy they give you back! If i would have known this, i would have started doing this long before I did. I feel the kid’s enthusiasm keeps me young.
Yes, there are long days, often with lots of driving and lifting and sweating, but those smiles and laughs make it all worth it  (and the money is good, too, since i do have to eat)!
I retired early (age 42) from teaching high school science and thankfully was able to turn my love of magic and children into such a rewarding career. I encourage all who can to share your life, and love, with children.

Peter Bugnet aka Peter the Great
PetertheGreatMagic.com


Keith FieldsMake sure that every show (even if it is your fifth of the day) is the best you can possibly do.  I became a children’s entertainer 35 years ago, now I travel the world doing corporate shows, but it started with being a children’s entertainer and I still love to do kids shows. The sky really is the limit.Entertaining anyone is a privilege.  Unless you are 100% committed to do the best you possibly can and 100% committed to giving your audience the best show possible then you are in the wrong job. It is all about them, not all about you.
WARNING – If you ever lose your sense of joy at the thought of doing another show then it is time to re-think, re-invent or give-up.  So how does this happen?  It happens when we get lazy.  When we stop trying and just go through the motions.  This is the best job in the world but it is still possible to ruin it with a bad attitude.

Keith Fields
KeithFields.com


Mike Brezier

I am a comedy magician for the under seven age group.  It’s not the magic tricks that matter. The number one thing is your personality and being able to connect with the children at their level.  Having the ability to make children laugh and entertained for forty five minutes is the key.  It won’t happen overnight but with practice you can do it.

Mike Brezler
wackywizardmagic.com


Magical Nick

Expect the unexpected. You may have a solid plan, think you know everything that could go wrong and are prepared for the worst. You arrive at your first paid gig and everything that you did not prepare for makes an ugly appearance. This will be normal the first year of performing and even beyond. You will soon notice you will learn something new after every show that will help improve your performances. While you should always have a well practiced and polished show before you cash your first check I found that the only true way to learn everything you can’t read in a book is to get out there an perform. Keep your head up high and know that it is normal to make mistakes along the way.”

Magical Nick
magicalnick.com


Matt Martin

The one thing I wish someone had told me at the outset is to take all this information with enough grains of salt to load a thumbtip. Although the irony is not lost on me that this very article adds to the mountain of advice I’m advising you to approach skeptically, is worth saying anyway. The plethora of information you’ll come across has been written by people who – at best – made mistakes and learned good lessons from them or – at worst – haven’t actually been in the trenches but sure do like to hear themselves talk (figuratively speaking). The latter group of people aren’t worth listening to. The former may have some great bits of wisdom to share, but don’t assume that something won’t work for you, just because it didn’t work for them. And if you do ignore their wisdom and fail, so what? Learn from that. Don’t be afraid of failure; the path to success is paved with it!

Matt Martin
matttheballoonman.com


Randy Cornwell

I wish that I would have known that you need to know what kinds of show you want to do before you start buying magic. I wish that I would have known before I started buying magic tricks just because I thought they were cool or that they worked for someone else how I was going to use them in my show, did the trick fit me and the character that I am and fill the most comfortable with or was it something that worked for someone else. Was the trick something that I could fill comfortable with and entertain a group of kids with. Did the trick fit in my show? This would have saved me a lot of money and time.

Randy Cornwell


 

One thing I wish I knew before I began to entertain children is the resourceful sites available to give guidance to those starting out.
I started twisting balloons about six years ago and then began to be asked if I would do birthday parties by numerous people I met while line twisting.
If you are just starting out there are wonderful helpful people just waiting to give some guidance. Julian’s Magic School, Balloon HQ and your site Ken are packed
with information for those wanting to become Business people and entertainers of children.
I think it is the idea of a starting point or starting template that is the stump in the road for many.  Grab onto the strings and pull in all the tutelage that you can
find from these and other sites just waiting for you to access them. Read books and watch videos on You-Tube.

Jonathan Harmer


Andre BiadwellWill I be good enough ?
I did not know anyone else that was doing what I was about to journey into. No mentors, no guidance. I did not know what the standard was to aim for.
It was quite daunting. I had one or two books that that I learned magic from. Putting it all together was huge, but I ventured out and did a few kids parties and quickly learned what does not work.
I also charged too little in the beginning, but, that’s ok, I was experimenting and growing. I invested all the cash into new books and DVD’s, learning from the best in the industry. And I thank all of them for making me the best performer I can be – building on those who have come before me – I seek out the best material, make it my own and perform it with everything I got, every time, not just for myself and those who hire me, but also for every other magician out there, before my time, now, and those to come, to honour our art as entertainer’s. Never stop learning and growing and improving !

Andre Bladwell
magicshow.co.za


Colette Kelly

The value of bubbles.
I have been entertaining kids for over 14 years and only introduced bubbles at my kids parties 2 years ago. After seeing a bubble act at a magic convention I got totally pumped. I took bubbles to my next party. Lessons I learnt: use a hand held bubble gun. I pick them up from eBay (buy a few at a time as they last only so long). Blowing bubbles from a little tub is not only impractical (because you can’t talk while you blow), it looks amateurish. A bubble gun easily fills the room with bubbles and creates a non stop flow. Tip: Always carry a towel to mop up spills and drips as bubble mixture on some floors becomes very slippery (and dangerous). Combine bubbles with music and a few simple games and you have a sure winner.

Colette Kelly
www.magic4children.co.uk


Steve King

When I started out 20 years ago, I wish I knew that one of the most important things to be is adaptable.  I used to plan each party down to the last detail – the order of games, the effects in my magic show, etc.  I soon realised that no two parties are the same, the best plans can disappear the minute you walk through the door.An intensely shy birthday boy or girl, or one who dislikes dancing/puppets/balloons are all common variables that can change the shape of a party.I know the material for my show inside out, so it can be adapted. I bring more than I need and I am prepared to be spontaneous. For me, this is what makes the job exciting, creating a unique experience that responds directly to the party guests.

Steve King
magicmrsteve.com


Magical Eddie

Performing for children can be very gratifying. It’s all up to you! Children understand more than most people give them credit for. They will let you know if you are doing a good job and tell you if you mess up. They are very impressionable and if they really like what you are doing, they may want to be just like you. Take the time to say hello to the kids, give high fives and shake hands. By doing something as simple as this, it can give you a fan for life.

Magical Eddie
idokidsmagic.com


Mr Mudge

Becoming a Mr Mudge the Clown is the best thing I ever did. Hearing children’s laughter is the best feeling in the world. Although I wish I was prepared for the strange and sometimes violent things children say, things that only a 5 year old can get away with. Like, ‘Punch him in the face!’ Screamed from the back of the hall at my puppet, Dusty the Dragon. Or ‘Smack him!’ shouted one child, about the mouse hiding in my wand. Children also say the funniest things ‘I’m good at juggling I just can’t catch,’ said a young girl at a circus workshop. Sometimes you can never be prepared for what will come out of their mouths no matter how long you have been doing the job. Or for when you ride in on your unicycle, blowing a horn, and the children run and hide – what do you do then?

Wayne
thecrazyworldofmrmudge.co.uk


 

TomCrowl1 copyThe one thing I wish I had known before I became a kids entertainer – really applies to any age group. I wish I had known how to read people and interact with my audience on a personal level. Like many acts, when I started I thought it was all about me and what I did that would make the show great. Later I realized it was really about the people in front of me. My advice to anyone who is just starting, or even those who want to improve – don’t study what a person does, study how they do it. Never copy, but incorporate the nuances to create a stronger connection with your audience.

Tom Crowl
how-to-be-a-ventriloquist.com


Dale-Obrochta

The one thing I wish I had known before I became a kids entertainer was all the work that was involved, from marketing, contracts, costumes, props, and skills required to be highly successful in the entertainment field.I found many of my entertainment friends were learning as they went along, which was strange for a guy who was coming out of business college where things where laid out in X’s and O’s. My advice for a newbie is this is a business.  The development of the Internet makes this a cutthroat business where people slash prices, steel clients, and love to commiserate with who haven’t accepted that the entertainment industry is a business.
If you are professional, you will realize the cutthroats business techniques is a very small percentage of the industry.  If you take the time to learn the industry; the rewards are bountiful.

Dale Obrochta
daleobrochta.com


MarcelaMuradWithGirl

The one thing I wish I had known before I became a kids entertainer is the importance of being able to look into a child’s eyes and listen. Realizing that children are little people and not just props, understanding their make up and knowing  that my job is not so much about my skills  and talents but more about how I can make them feel. Today I know that being likable as well as having stage presence is something that comes from deep inside and cannot be taught and that  it’s up to me to work on developing the virtues that will make it so.

Marcela Murad
fabatv.com


 

Pete EllisonThe one thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer is asking thorough questions to determine the price and interest level of the gig.  I have an interactive music entertainment company where each of the guests (child and adult) are issued 3 types of percussion instruments to use during the course of our show.  50 guests equals 150 instruments! (yeah).  It only takes the surprise of two flights of stairs, or shale rock stepping stones down the side of a house (to get to the performance zone) to let the steam out of any fun balloon one brings to the party.  Get the specifics of your party zone down to the minute detail.  If you don’t ask, they may not mention it and handing carrying  your sound system and gear will definitely change your attitude if it is a surprise. I worked in one Hollywood star’s home where it was a flight of stairs up to the house, through the house and a flight of stairs down to the back yard where the party was located (all hand carry = less than fun).

Pete Ellison
oneworldrhythm.com


 

DanysHamelMoroccoUnicycling

Working for kids is not well paid as working for adults BUT you will always have work! All my friends magicians who were working only for corporate gigs long time ago are now working in the kids market. They have no choice to survive… So be and stay the king in your market! Don’t let anybody laugh because you are a kids entertainer… Do your job well and you will have all the money that you need.

Danys Hamel
danyshamel.com


Tim Pressley

Starting out as a Children’s entertainer can be very lonely.
I made the decision to become a magician in high school. When I started telling my friends and family, I expected to hear encouragement and receive confirmation that I was doing the right thing, but instead my parents expressed their doubts and my friends just looked confused. My confidence in myself and in my dreams faded.
If there was one thing I wish I had known before becoming a children’s entertainer it would be that friends and family may not fully understand and support your decision at first— but that’s okay.
People are afraid of what they don’t fully understand. Don’t give up on your dreams. Find a mentor. Connect and build relationships with successful children’s entertainers through social media and websites like Kids Entertainer Hub. Surround yourself with successful and positive people and you will most positively be successful at whatever you do.

Timothy Pressley
TheAmazingMagicShow.com


Kelly Cummins

I started entertaining children nearly 15 years ago after seeing an entertainer at a friend’s party with my 3yr old daughter.  Unfortunately he wasn’t very good and I thought “I could do better than that!”.  After he left I started playing with the children and two mothers who came to pick up their children thought I was the entertainer and tried to book me! I handed in my months notice at my full time job the next day started my career in children’s entertainment.  All by myself I  built an act, taught myself magic and balloon twisting and for the next 7 years worked happily (or so I thought).   I then joined a local magic club and wished I had known to do this at the start!  The help and inspiration I received from my club has been invaluable to me and I have took my act to new levels I never would have thought have going if it were not for my twice monthly meetings and seeing amazing lectures from top magicians from all over the world!
I also do not feel so alone anymore, it can be quite strange as a company of one!  No Xmas parties or social events etc.  I would recommend anyone starting out to get involved with their nearest magic club or even start their own social group with the other entertainers in the area.  I regularly meet up with some local entertainers for lunch and they are not even members of my magic club! It is nice to talk to others who understand the ups and downs of our business!
It also helps to price your services similar to others in your area and to not undercut others as this can create bad feelings and also bring the price down for everyone in the area!

Kelly Cummins
jellykelly.co.uk


AnnieBannanie copy

Two things:  (1) I wish I would have known how important it would be to finish my BS in education.  I do school assemblies now, and that would be a huge advantage to me in my competitive local market.  (2)  Also, when kids ask how they can do what I do when they grow up, I tell them “learn how to run a business.  If you know how to run a business, that business can be anything you want it to be.”

Annie Banannie (aka Laura Caldwell)
balloonstoryteller.com


 

Anna ToddI was fortunate enough to fall into my love for face painting through Girl Scouts.  They say if you give of yourself without expectation you will receive much more than you could
ever expect.  I spent three years as a girl scout leader and to entertain the girls I would face paint them at special gatherings.  When I saw the look on their face once they looked into the mirror it just filled my heart with joy.
The feeling was infectious and I knew I had to take this to new levels.    So for the last 7 years I have been blessed to be part of this face painting world and all the wonderful things it offers, happiness, relationships and
just plain feeling good about who you are and what you give to the world.

Annie Todd
fantasyfacepaintnj.weebly.com


Dean BerubeHello, my name is Dean Berube and I perform as Dean Davids.   The one thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer is all magic doesn’t always pertain to children. When I was approached to do a children’s show I said “no problem it’s just a kids show,” now mind you I’ve been performing magic for well over 20 years at trade shows, cocktail parties and restaurants. I stood on the stage performing my magic the way I always do and things started to go downhill.  I was performing the signed bill to lemon trick and when the bill was revealed inside the lemon a kid shouted “that’s DUMB.” I asked the child why and he said “why would the bill show up in a lemon why not in a candy bar, so at least you can eat it.”

In that performance I gained respect for children entertainers.

Dean Berube
ctpartymagician.com


Andrew ReadyThe one thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer was how to think about things from a booker’s point of view.  Increasingly I’m realising a booker doesn’t really care what particular tricks I do, or how long I’ve been performing.  What they want when they first enquire is to know that the show is going to be fun and everyone is going to have a great time.  I used to perform with a traditional ventriloquism dummy wearing a shirt and tie.  Since getting a more “fun” looking puppet and a more “fun” looking costume I began to get a lot more enquiries through my website.  I realized that although I knew I had a fun show the image I presented in my publicity wasn’t communicating that.  It’s now my goal to make sure everything I publish communicates the “fun” message.

Andrew Ready
www.birthday-party-magic.com


 

I wish I knew what a privilege…honor, really it would be before becoming a face painter.
Just setting up, the assumption is that it’s all about you and your art. That all changes when you see a child look in the mirror at your art on their face and they see themselves in a whole new light (brave, strong, beautiful, whatever the case). It is a very empowering moment to witness. Instantly, you become a small part of the fabric that makes that child who they are….and by extension the adult they will become.
Yes…it is merely paint turned into butterflies, superheroes or whatever chosen design….but, with our brushes, smiles, kindness, encouragement and glitter….we can create what could become a very important turning point for our next smiling canvas.

Charlotte Patterson
EmbellishedFun.com


Kevin Peterson

The one thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer comes from this quote,”Magic is the hook upon which to hang your personality.”
In other words, your personality MUST be at the forefront of your performance. Your talent needs to become a subtext to your personality. Remember, your personality is the first thing your audience sees when you come out on stage and it is the means by which they decide if they like you. Once the audience is on your side, they are willing to buy into whatever it is you are presenting.
Don’t make your show about your talent. Rather, make your show all about your personality and let your talent manifest itself through your personality.

Kevin Peterson
berkletheclown.weebly.com


Colin UnderwoodI have found of immense value in keeping an ideas journal.
I wish I had kept one from my early days.
Although computers are really useful I prefer using a proper book with open pages for drawings.
If you store these over the years one can go back and firstly see how you have integrated ideas and also use old ideas that seemed really impractical at the time but with experience will have value in the future.
I have found some ideas are cross pollinated with a completely new outcome available.
You don’t have to force the process but if you do write your ideas down as and when you have them you stimulate the subconscious. I have found it very useful in having a small notebook next to my bed. I have moments of brilliance but the next morning have forgotten them.
All I can say is start today !

Colin Underwood
colinunderwood.com


Robert Baxt

The one thing I wish I had known before I became a kids entertainer is how to pack small, but play big, with no long set up.  As a budding magician, I had to get to every show extra early to have some privacy to fill up my milk pitcher with water that I would then add “oom” to, to make imitation milk. Then I had to carefully lay out an invisible thread between my tables for what I thought at the time was a marvelous trick.
Never once did it occur to me in those early days that as soon as I rang the doorbell I would be surrounded by a mob of children all excited and thrilled to see me, who did not want to let me out of their sight while I tried to set up my show!
Those routines did not last long in my show!

Robert Baxt
robertbaxt.com


Max Marshall

The fact that the world of entertainment was going to evolve so rapidly in the early days of my career 15 years ago. A huge combination of the development with the internet, computer video games, smart phones, digital photography and more, has reshaped peoples attitude towards what they want to be entertained by, now that they have more choice and greater expression of opinion. Somehow along the way this affected children’s attitude towards elders and the entertainer (maybe it’s not connected, or maybe Im just getting old! lol) (no wait…I just wrote “lol” I cant be that old) Also, the incredible advancement in special effects in movies, I believe, changes the belief of children of all ages and what the want to see live. The avenues of magic education and inspiration grew fast too. All of this seemed to happen right before I went into it all so everything I had learned the many years previously, and everything I had ever imagined myself to be as a magician, was all of a sudden “Old School” It was bad timing for me as everything I had prepared and had practised needed to also be reshaped ,as it had all appeared to be the same for years. This is not to say that the classics done well are not good of course but, I think my style and attitude towards entertainment, had I started my career further into that technology boom, I guess might have been quite different. Recognition of entertainment evolution was my valuable lesson there, and will use it wisely as I continue to grow in this art. The most thankful fact, is that storytelling is the heart of entertainment that will never die no matter what.

Max Marshall
facebook.com/max.marshall


Jane Sloupova

I wish I was able to see myself after one year experience as children´s and family entertainer.
I wish someone told me not to worry too much. Don´t hesitate. Just start and be yourself.
You will learn so many things. Always be your own judge. Some methods and strategies will not work for you. Don´t give up. Try different ways when one thing is not working. Everyday take at least one small step towards your goal and know it will all work out fine in the end.
I also wish I knew how sorry I would be that I didn’t write a diary about my early shows and how surprising will be realization that because of birthday parties I have very few free weekends. Yes I know BIG surprise.:-)
Truth is that many things you will never know until you try it. So my advice is: Just go and start your journey with first step. It is worth it.

Jana Sloupova
kouzelnickaoslava.cz


 

This topic really got me thinking about the perfect answer and after much thought the one thing Philip NanniI can look back on and wish I knew before dedicating my life to entertaining kids is just how much they would influence my life. When I began entertaining I thought that I would inspire and teach kids to enjoy art and be creative with whatever medium they decide to use. When I look back now what I see is just how much they influenced me and through their little minds and little eyes have made me see things in ways that I never would have on my own. They have touched my life in so many ways and without knowing it have molded me into the entertainer, husband, father, and person that I am today. The kids of Morgantown, WV love Mr. Twister but they may never know how much I truly love them in return. ~ Mr. Twister West Virginia

Philip Nanni
mrtwisterwv.com


RichardWelsh3

After working for over 25 years in the entertainment business form being a Club DJ (70/80s ) Various comedy shows including a very popular tribute show hosting some X- factor show for Chico in front of 1000s of people with a few TVs thrown in the mix and an award winning comedy act. I thought I had seen and done it all.
Nobody told me that being a Kids DJ/Childrens Entertainer would really be the best job in the world. From the reaction from happy smiley children who you make that connection with. The joy on parents faces when they have had the stress of planning that very special party turn in to a complete success. A childrens party is not just another party but a very special event for that Birthday star with all the build up to the big day. I feel very privileged to be part of a chosen few who are able to create that memory. The photos will be shared over and over again and you will be part of that familys memories .
Do I harbour those days when I was working with all those famous pop acts or a storming set at The Edinburgh Festival…. No !!!
Really “ cheesey “ I know but to be honest that’s how I feel being a Childrens Entertainer.

Richard Welsh
childrensentertainerdorset.co.uk


JozimaHi, my name is JOZIMA and I am a part-time magician from Sweden.This is not a easy topic, but it is a fun one! First time I was performingf or kids I loved it. I was only 10 years old and the audience was between 7 and 15.

No one ever told me how to control an audience, so I did my best by using the best tricks of mine and borrowed maybe 10 tricks (which the audience had already seen many times) from a senior magician. They went totally mad and knew every trick, since I did not know that I could not control the kids.
That would have been great to know before entering the stage, how to control and entertain a young audience when they know ”everything”.
That happened 40 years ago and I would not had miss it for the world. After that incident I had to learn how to entertain kids and it is the most wonderful and exciting thing about performing for kids.

Jonas Ziegler
jozima.se


bart-Simpson

The one thing I wish I knew before becoming a children’s entertainer was how important it is to have a business / marketing plan and plans of action.

I was basically told the old adage, “Have a good show and you’ll get other shows.”  While I do believe that is true, I feel like having a better business plan / marketing plan going on would greatly accelerate the rate at which you can get shows.  I know the saying that it’s show business and business is twice as long as show, but I think a lot of people don’t realize HOW important it is to have a solid business plan.  If I could go back in time, I would still have a good show, but I would spend more time on the business / marketing of it as opposed to making sure I had a better show.

Bart J Simpson


Michelle Uulf

I the one thing wish I had had known before I started as a kids entertainer is: you are not alone!
When I began my business I knew next to nothing, I didn’t know about marketing, pricing, invoicing, how to run a party, barely knew how to paint a face, run a magic show the list goes on. But here’s the thing that would have saved me countless hours and stress, I am not alone and there are people and groups out there that can help me. These days there’s facebook groups, YouTube tutorials and classes that can teach me. As I now train and teach a team I can see from how fast they become proficient compared to how slow I did, it’s all to do with getting help, not having to learn the hard way, I wish I had have known this!

Michelle Uulf – Aka Zoom the Clown
kiddly-winks.com.au


Julian Mather

The one thing I wish I had known before I got into this game is that kids entertainers collectively under – value themselves. I hear it all the time – especially in the world of magic where I’m from – ‘I’m just a kids entertainer’. I came into children’s entertaining late in life which allowed me to observe the industry objectively. Let me say, it’s simply not the perception outside the industry. Mums and Dads who are in awe of the job we do. ‘I wish I had done something like that’ and ”You are are amazing with the kids, you were worth every cent’. I wish I had known this earlier because I love trying to change attitudes by slowly chipping away at these self imposed perceptions. I would have had an extra 5 years up my sleeve had I known.

Julian Mather
birthdaypartymagician.com


Ken Kelly

Sometimes as kids entertainers we can be faced with some challenging behaviour from the children we entertain. I spent years wondering why some children seemed more difficult to work with that others and sometimes I would get frustrated with overly challenging behaviours.
I was fortunate to study behavioural science and there I learned we are all just the product of the road that we travel. I learned that some children have horrific and sometime abusive home lives and them acting out is often their way of dealing with their pain.
I now look at children with new eyes and when a child behaviour is difficult I try to imagine how hard it must be for them and I try to be an example that shows that grownups can be trustworthy.

Ken Kelly
magic4children.co.uk

 


What would you have said? The more we share the better we all get. Add your ideas in the comments below …


  • Bernard Mariano

    Great collection of tips and advice coming from an eclectic group of children’s entertainers. I have learned much from reading each and every post – and I’m sure every member of this great new site will glean the same!

    • I agree Bernard, my eyes have been opened.

  • Wayne ‘mudge’ Oakes

    Completely agree with Lucy – Megaphone is a good idea 🙂

  • Peter Bugnet

    Such wonderful advice from working professionals! Thanks SO much to Ken and Julian. I wish this site was here when I was first starting out.

  • It is truly great to be included with a group of great entertainers like those above. Sometimes we do not know how much of an impact we make on kids until years later. ….like the time I was in the local magic shop and a teenager walked over to me to say he was now doing paid magic shows after I did a birthday party show for him when he was 8 years old. We kids entertainers have a big impact on young lives.

  • ColetteKel

    Love these nuggets of wisdom. Jana, your story really rings true for me… Having the ‘guts’ to just go with it is such a good way of thinking. Children are often so willing to engage and your enthusiasm is what makes the difference!

  • I feel a ‘kinship” with many of the people who’ve contributed to this post – some of us go as far back as the days when we were waiting anxiously for our next BYMS module! We’ve come a long ways together! Thank you Julian & Ken for creating this awesome hub!

  • Randy Cornwell

    very helpful I found myself in a lot of the places when I was first starting out thanks to all

  • I haven’t read all of these yet but am sure enjoying the feeling of being part of a community, just like Michelle Uulf pointed out. I also like the Silly Billy reference by Bernard Mariano. Keeping in mind kids love the ride more than the destination certainly changes my approach to magic tricks, and is definitely true when it comes to my ventriloquism performances.

  • Kevin Peterson

    Randy Cornwell,
    Your post made me laugh. When I first started out, I did the same thing. Buying magic tricks simply because they looked cool. I too gave no thought as to how I was going to use them in a show. Oh well, live and learn.

  • Kevin, I still have boxes of props I look at and wonder what was I thinking???

  • Need to put together a yard sale of stuff I bought thinking it would make me a better entertainer…

  • Colin Underwood

    If all these ideas and thoughts had collectively been placed in book form I would have bought it without hesitation. In my early days performers were more closed to sharing the real secrets of entertaining and rather focused on the tricks themselves.There are hundreds of tricks but only a few tried and tested techniques for entertaining. This group touched on a few and added alternative outside the box look at entertaining kids. Thanks everyone for the input.

  • Michelle Uulf

    Wow, so much valuable information here. So much to learn from everyone, thank you

  • Amanda Destro Pierson

    One lesson I learned the hard way once I started working at children’s parties, you HAVE to schedule yourself some time off! I work a full time job and do face painting on the side. When I started I would jump at every opportunity and never said no. I would drive an hour for a 1 hour party, schedule 3 events in a day and never gave myself a day off. My third summer working I was slammed and had only a handful of days off in 6 months. By September I was depressed and exhausted because, although I had a successful business and was making money, I missed out on every fun event my family and friends had invited me to. After that I raised my minimum time for a gig and make sure to schedule myself off one weekend a month. It has made a world of difference and I haven’t gotten burnt out since!

    • I can relate to that Amanda. I just went hard at it for the first year taking EVERY booking. I couldn’t keep that up. I had to learn to work smarter, not harder. It’s still a work in progress.

  • Brett L. Belleque

    I really relate to the comments about marketing. I had no idea when I started how much marketing would be involved in my business of performing! I wish I had taken a few business courses in college! Marketing is still my least favorite part of my business but I’m glad I’ve done some work to educate myself!

    • It was a shock to me too. Honestly I thought if I was good enough they would simply come to me. I had NO idea. It’s become a lot easier because I have learned to enjoy educating myself about it.