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How to Make a Unique Magic Wand
This toddler friendly craft project is inspired by the character Abby on Sesame Street. If you aren't up on all your Sesame Street characters, Abby is a fairy godmother in training who uses a magic wand in the show to do spells. She is my two and a half year old daughter’s favorite character, and for a long time my daughter has been using a plastic pumpkin flashlight left from Halloween as a “magic wand” in order to “twinkle think” the way Abby does on the show. Recently however, the magic wand got lost, a casualty of the mysterious vortex that somehow exists between playground, daycare and home. My daughter has commented on the loss several times and so the idea for this project was born.
I never wanted to be one of those parents who automatically replaces something as soon as it is lost by their child. I don’t think that’s a great way to learn responsibility. However, my daughter is very young. Also, I did want my daughter to have a magic wand again because it is part of her developing imaginary games. So I decided on a compromise: she and I could make a replacement wand together. That way her wand would be uniquely hers, something truly special. After some thought about how to accomplish this we hit Michael’s, the big chain craft store in our local area, for supplies.
Supplies and Preparation
I purchased one pack of “craft sticks” (a.k.a. popsicle sticks in my childhood) by Creatology®. I suppose I could have obtained them by eating popsicles, but since we don’t really eat popsicles in our house it seemed easier to buy them. I also found a small package of pre cut wooden shapes by Loew Cornell® that included stars and hearts and diamonds. For decoration I found foam stickers of letters, flowers and dots, self-sticking gem stickers, and the all important glitter glue pens. Everything I used was in the Kids Craft aisles in the store, and I had a great time looking and dreaming about all potential for more crafts in the future. All together our supplies cost about twenty dollars, which is more than replacing the pumpkin wand would have cost but also promised more fun.
The night before I planned to do the project with my daughter I pre-assembled some wands by gluing the wooden shapes to the craft sticks. I had debated buying fancy wood glue but settled on good old Elmer’s Glue-All® which seemed to do the trick. I put about six wands together; in retrospect I should have done about 12, since the decorating process went pretty quickly with my two and a half year old. I also took the opportunity to play with the craft supplies on my own. I told my husband I was testing them out, and he wisely chose not to comment further.
On the designated craft night (a night my husband was out of the house doing his own thing, leaving the coast clear for my daughter and I to revel in all things artsy and craftsy) I brought out our plastic tablecloth that we use for any and all messy activities in the household. I covered the table in the kitchen, got out the pre-glued wands, stickers, and glitter glue and we went to town. I ended up gluing more shapes to more craft sticks about 20 minutes into the project so we could keep going, since she was moving through the prepared wands pretty rapidly.
The biggest hit, hands down, was the glitter glue. My daughter had a fabulous time trying out all the different colors in different combinations. She enjoyed the gem stickers, which were also sparkly, to a lesser extent but took them off the wands as often as she put them on. I tried to interest her in the use of the letter shaped foam stickers to personalize wands for herself, mommy and daddy (since she proposed making wands for other people as well, and also listed her grandparents and friends as recipients) but she didn’t buy into that. Usually she enjoys letters; I think it might have been better to write the letters in glitter glue. The other foam stickers were immensely popular stuck all over her hands (and mine, placed by her) but not interesting on the wands themselves. She ended up with about 10 decorated wands, mostly featuring wonderful clumps of glitter glue in color combinations that appealed to her. I also had fun making a few wands decorated in my own way. My daughter inspired me to stop thinking in terms of a star on a stick and play more with combinations of shapes and sticks.
We ended up playing for about 45 minutes, and probably would have played longer but we ran up against bedtime and had to stop and clean up. My daughter had fun matching colors and putting the caps back on the glitter glue (which we had actually used up; there isn’t much in those little tubes) while I swept the backings of the foam stickers into a trash bag. We moved our completed wands to the counter for overnight drying and I wiped off the tablecloth. Then we hit the bathroom sink to wash hands, and the mess was done. This was an easy, enjoyable project that I think any kid would love. My daughter loves her unique wand and we now have several in reserve for the inevitable losses and breakages. Best of all, we had a fantastic time together on our first mother daughter craft project!