5 Common Birthday Party Planning Traps

We all make mistakes – we’re human!

But throwing an super fun party for your child can be a breeze – once you know which stress-inducing mistakes to avoid.

Read this quick post to discover 5 common birthday party planning pitfalls (and how to easily avoid them!)

  1. Scheduling food and activities for the same time slot
    Nothing derails a birthday party faster than a spilled drink or plate of food that (inevitably) gets stepped on. Avoid disaster by scheduling games and entertainment separately from the time when kids eat.
  2. Trying to plan the entire party by yourself 
    Sure you can do everything yourself, but it’s harder and more stressful than you think.  Recruit enough help before the party so that you have a chance to relax and enjoy your child’s special day, too.
  3. Choosing a date before finding out if the best friend is free
    It’s deceptively easy to just invite everyone and hope for the best, but a pro-tip is to check-in with the parents of your child’s best friend before choosing a date is a guaranteed win for everyone.
  4. Planning an outdoor party without a backup plan
    Avoid huge disappointment by making sure you have a plan for inclement weather that’s better than just “hoping for the best” . As they say in show business, “The party must go on!”
  5. Waiting until the last minute to start planning
    The sooner you start planning, the more choices you’ll have.

Let my experience performing for hundreds of parties guide you and avoid falling into these 5 common birthday party planning traps

Magic Traps
Top 5 Magic Party Traps

– you’ll be happy you did!

5 Simple Rules for Norristown PA Birthday Parties — Most parents forget #3!

If the thought of having a birthday party for kids in your Norristown house or apartment makes your blood pressure spike, then you’re not alone…

Many parents envision children running around, wrecking the furniture and messing up the carpet.

There’s hope – it doesn’t have to be that way. You can plan a safe, entertaining and inclusive birthday in even the most intimate of apartments.

How? Simply follow these 5 Simple Rules:

  • Keep it simple. A never-miss birthday party formulaincludes party games, entertainment, pizza, cake, presents and good-byes. If you stay with this tried and true formula, then you’ll see fun, laughter and joy on the faces of kids and adults alike.  
  • Keep it active. Time flies when you’re having fun! Give yourself the ability to set the pace of the party by planning more activities than you think you’ll need.
    • A good rule of thumb is to have an activity handy for every 10-15 minute block of time.
    • After about 30-45 minutes of games, treat the kids to an appearance by a professional birthday party entertainer.
    • Relax and enjoy the show, and before you know it, it’ll be time for the kids to go home.   
  • Keep it structured. Before the party, set expectations and go over the guidlines with your son or daughter.
    • Close doors to rooms where guests should not go.
    • Hang balloons and decorations to define the party area
  • Keep it short.
    • If you have a toddler or preschooler, then a party that runs between 60 to 90 minutes is ideal.
    • If your child is older, then aim for a party that runs between 2 to 3 hours.
  • Keep it manageable. I understand the pressure you may feel to invite the entire class or splurge on a bigger birthday party. But here’s the truth…
    • You don’t need to.
    • Only plan a party that you know you can manage. That way, you’ll have a chance to relax and enjoy the day, too.
    • So, in between the greeting, the supervising, the food serving and cake cutting, find a chance to soak up all the fun, laughter and joy.
    • Why? Because you deserve it.

If you follow these 5 Simple Rules, then you can be assured that many of your worries and fears will disappear, well, like magic!

Top 5 Magic Birthday Party Venues in Greater Philly

One of the first considerations when you plan your magic party is where to have it. From my experience as a performer, I’ll share my thoughts on how to find the best venues for your children’s events.

Top Choice: Magic Birthday party in your home
Top Choice: Magic Birthday party in your home

  1. The easiest and most common choice is your own home – when you host at your home you’ll have the luxury of having the party come to you. I’d say that 90% of my work is done in people’s homes and that usually works out great. But what if you don’t want to hold it there?
  1. A really good option if you have one is the neighborhood community center. If your residential area has a party room you should try it as a possibility. They are usually very well-maintained and the fee to rent is nominal. Keep in mind that you probably should make your reservation early as they have a tendency to book up quickly; especially on Saturday afternoons. To play it safe, you should make your booking arrangement as soon as two months in advance for these venues.
  1. Another good option are recreation centers in the parks department. Most townships in the Philly area have their own parks department and they often allow residents to rent out their buildings for events. You should try to make early reservations for these places as well.
  1. You might also look into karate, dance, gymnastic schools and similar places, especially if your son or daughter attends one on a regular basis. Even if they don’t advertise the fact, they might let you hold a party on a weekend afternoon as way to add a little revenue. They have parking, an open area for the show, rest rooms which are all perfect to accommodate a party and you might even get it for free (if your child attends the school).
  1. Firehouses are also a good option. They normally have a large hall and rent the space for a reasonable price. Some of my favorite magical parties have been held in firehouse halls.
  1. Last on my list are restaurants and that’s because they are the most problematic. Often you have to share your space with other people and that takes away from making your son or daughter’s event a special experience. They are also somewhat expensive. The best of the family style restaurants that host parties are pizza places or ice cream/frozen yogurt shops. Make sure you visit ahead of time to see the spaces they have available before booking.

Easy Science Project for Kids

This is a very easy project for kids to do and would work well at school or at a science magic party.

Stuff you need

  • A plastic bottle
  • A sheet of paper

How do I do it?

STEP 1

Tear off a little piece of paper (like a post it note) and crunch it up into a ball so that it fits in the mouth of your bottle!

STEP 2

Hold the bottle sideways and put the crunched up paper ball into the mouth of the bottle, as shown!

STEP 3

Now for the fun part of this experiment! Challenge a friend to blow the piece of paper into the bottle. Try it - the piece of paper will come flying out!

What's going on here?

This happened because of Bernoulli's principle.

Bernoulli realized that air has a lower pressure when it's moving more quickly.

As someone blows into the mouth of the bottle the air is moving fastest - so is at the lowest pressure.

Inside the bottle the air is moving more slowly - so a higher pressure. As the pressure is higher inside the bottle than in the mouth this pushes the paper out!

Bonus

Here's a bonus experiment with a surprising result that also use and demonstrates Bernoulli Principle.

Bernoulli's Principle bonus science magic
Bernoulli's Principle Bonus Science Magic

Try either or both of these at your next science magic party!

Eggciting Easter Magic in Warrington PA

Had a blast with a great bunch of kids in Warrington PA today! GrandMom & GrandDad had all of their kids and grandchildren over for an Easter celebration and the evening before they decided it would be fun to do something extra this year.

Luckily I had a timeslot open and live nearby to Warrington, so I was able to help them out. I enjoyed it thoroughly because I have a TON of Easter-themed tricks using bunnies and eggs, and for once I got to use them ALL. I also got to practice some Easter balloon sculptures including a chick, a duck, and of course a rabbit!

The reactions from the grandkids were spectacular - they were LOUD and really enjoyed themselves. Got a nice review from their Grandfather too.

Warrington PA Easter Magic Party
Warrington PA Easter Magic Party

Magic Party Game Idea: Hat Trick Game

I found this interesting idea which would be good for parents as an add-on for a magic-themed birthday party:

Magic Top Hat
Magic Top Hat

For this cool child activity, put a black-top hat in the middle of a large room and have all the kids sit in a circle around the hat. Then pass out an equal number of playing cards to each kid and have them take turns tossing the cards into the hat.

(Change the size of the circle, closer or farther away from the hat, to match the skill and patience level of the kids).

Each kid in turn tosses a card into the hat. If they get theirs in they continue to toss until they miss. The player who tosses the most cards into the hat gets to start the next round

Anastasia won 1st place at the North Penn Talent Show

My daughter Anastasia has performed in the North Penn High School Talent Show all three years now. She planned and auditioned with a large illusion that was simply spectacular. She had always dreamed of doing something huge in her senior year, and through the generosity of local professional magician Mike Bonacci, who let us borrow one, she seemed all good to go.

Best Laid Plans go Awry

Well, she made it through the audition, but the week of the show there were two days of tech & sound rehearsals and a dress rehearsal. And none of the assistants were able to make it to those. The situation was bleak. Without attending these practices, the big show was a no-go.

Luckily, Anastasia has some experience in the magic biz, and with just 48 hours before showtime, she came up with and prepared an entirely different act that needed no assistants. It also wasn't (apparently) a big illusion.

On the night of the big show, she put on a big smile and pulled off the act of the night, fooling the entire audience badly.  Here's the video of the full magical performance:

A New Slight

Today I worked on learning Mike Kaminskas new effect "KFC," which has some interesting applications for closeup magic and may well add some "spice" to my performances!

200px-KFC_logo.svg.png

Experimenting with Thumbtack for Magicians

Thumbtack for Magicians

I have been experimenting with Thumbtack, a service which links service providers with prospective clients, in my case magicians or balloon artists to party or event planners. The magician pays a small fee for each lead and that entitles them to present a quot to the prospective customer. I'll post back as I see how or if this works.

My Thumbtack Site