We're going to give you
the simplest outline that can be effective. This is so
easy. When a performer can't do something like this
without looking at notes, it appears as though they
don't respect anyone's time. Practice enough
that you can move seamlessly from one of these simple
activities to the next.
You can handle
collection of your fee according to the environment
and your instincts about that particular person, but
we do suggest that if you aren't paid in advance, that
you just quickly and positively confirm the
amount and length of time that you are staying.
Collecting up front may help you feel secure, but it makes it
almost impossible to get a tip.
Many beginning birthday party clowns and
costumed characters get much of the structure for their time from the music
that they play. Radio Shack sells a simple adapter cord that allows you to
plug a small tape or cd player into a solid-state guitar amplifier. This
kind of compact PA system may not provide stereo sound, but it can be
effective for what you need- mainly that everyone can hear the music. Having
music allows you to dance a little bit before you introduce yourself.
After you introduce yourself and have paid
attention to the birthday boy or birthday girl, you can move right into
playing games. Music based games include Hot Potato, Musical Chairs or
Musical Corners1, balloon limbo, Odd One Out2,
and "The Freeze"3. Simple dances can be fun, especially
with costumed characters, such as The Chicken Dance, and the Hokey Pokey.
If the children are old
enough to run without being hurt, and especially if
they're too old for some traditional games, try
playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" or "The
Blob"4. We like these games better,
because the heightened drama gives us a chance to play
Anyone who can smile
and run a party, or perform any task for that matter,
when they don't feel perfectly happy or enthusiastic,
knows what it is like to be "in character".
Even if you're not a clown or costumed character, you
may act differently that you usually do, and that's
OK. As you lead parties, you'll notice what kinds of
mannerisms and spoken phrases that your audience finds
entertaining. and you can begin to act that way
consistently. The character that you develop may be
very much like you are, or entirely different, but the
idea is that anyone can can develop an entertaining
personality with just a little bit of experience.
And Balloons, of
Four to six games and
balloons should be sufficient to fill a one-hour show.
There are many internet sites that can introduce you
to balloon sculpting.
Don't Forget the
but Important Moments
When all of the
children have a balloon, gather them together for
cutting the cake, singing Happy Birthday, and for one
more picture. This is a good time to make your exit.
Look for a good opportunity to give the birthday child
a sincere compliment, and remind the child that
someone thinks that they are special.