We had a great time sharing with the elementary students at North Georgia Christian School this week. They are a terrific group of children and the teachers there are wonderful to work with.
We shared the Bible stories out of the Gospel of Luke about the Lost Coin, Lost Sheep and Lost Boy. Of course we added a little magic to it and had lots of interaction with the children. Because the Head of school said I couldn't bring in sheep, I brought Wiggles the Magic Bunny instead and shared the story of the "Lost Bunny" and the "Bunnyherd" (instead of "shepherd"). We made sure to help the children know that God is just like the woman, the shepherd and the father in these stories -- and that once the coin, sheep and boy were found, there was a great big Party!! You should have heard the children laugh when we were finding coins all over the place in children's ears, hair, and noses through the audience. And you would have loved the squeals of delight when Wiggles the "Lost Bunny" magically was found. Some of the teachers said Jeffini should come do all their chapels!! We look forward to being back at NGC again soon.
There is a lot written about entertaining children . . . and a lot more written about performing magic. Most of the information about performing magic pertains to "doing a trick" or focuses on method or performance. Very little is written about entertaining children. I have enjoyed joining a terrific group called "KIDabra International: The Association of Kid Show & Family Entertainers". They make it a point to encourage professionals to focus on the children and not on the magic.
Magic and puppets are simply tools to enhance great story-telling and child-focused entertainment. You may see a lot of performers who know how to do a nice illusion, but very few who truly understand children - their needs, their interests, and their energy level -- and then know how to really connect with them in an entertaining or educational manner. It's the little things like getting down on the child's level, looking them in the eye, listening to them, and giving them focused attention that makes a huge difference. These ideas go further than magicians . . . it also relates to parenting and anyone who works with children.
Story-telling is also an art in and of itself. In the old days magicians used what was called "patter" or a specific script for a particular magic trick. The patter focused on the trick and rarely on the child. When children were asked to be a part of the show, they were often used merely as props to show off the magician or magic. Today, I aim to engage children in stories that they can relate to and use the magic or puppets to enhance the story-telling. Kids love stories and good stories capture their imagination and even teach life-long lessons. A powerful, memorable story is better then a sermon or lesson . . . yet it can act as either.
Jeffini the Atlanta Magician has entertained children, families and adults for over 40 years. Jeffini enjoys using magic, puppets, story-telling, and drama to entertain, motivate and educate children of all ages.