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Performing magic for children is a daunting task. It requires a different psychology than that required to perform for adults. Most who perform magic for children will quickly admit that keeping their attention is an absolute MUST, because loosing it will bring your act crashing down around you.
Involving the children in your act is one of the only truly tried and tested ways to keep their attention. I'm not saying bring them all onstage... because you can assure their involvement from the stage. How?
Use a magic word...
Create an appropriate word for the age group. Young children from three to six need something unique, but something they can remember. Let's say you use ' Shazam '. Tell them the magic word, ask them to repeat it together, and during the trick point at a child and ask them to remind you of the magic word. Give them the opportunity to earn praise from you. Always end an effect with your magic word, shouted in unison by your audience.
Children love to feel recognized and praised. Even a puppy will patiently sit at attention if he senses' you have a 'treat' in your hand. Children will sit patiently waiting on praise, and waiting on an opportunity to shout the magic word. Children naturally feel as if they are part of your act if they can verbally participate.
Don't underestimate this powerful method... It works.