What you need:
The Sheep Fairy, by Ruth Louise Symes (optional)
• 12" stick (about 1/4" wide) or dowel rod from craft store
• glue
• lucky charm chosen by your child
• non-toxic tempera paint
• paintbrush
• thick piece of Styrofoam (about 5" square)
• star-shaped cookie cutter
• tablespoon
• cellophane
• glitter, ribbon, lace, sequins, feathers, or other decorative touches

What to do:
1. If available, read The Sheep Fairy with your child. This beautifully illustrated book is about a sheep who saves a fairy and is granted a wish.

2. For the base of your wand, use a dowel rod (available at craft stores) or search out a "magic" stick with your child. Look in the park or yard to find a dry stick about 12" long and 1/4" wide.

3. Help your child find a "lucky charm," any object larger than a quarter (such as a stone, seashell, or small toy). Ask him why he thinks the object is magical, and have him imagine the sort of wishes it will grant. (Avoid objects that are very tiny and may be a choking hazard for small children.)

4. Ask your child about his favorite colors. Which colors does he thing are magical? Let him paint the stick however he likes. Put it aside to dry.

5. Help your child press the cookie-cutter through the piece of Styrofoam to create a star shape. If you've read The Sheep Fairy, look through the book together to find pictures of stars.

6. Use the spoon to gently scoop out a section of Styrofoam from the star's center. Make a space large enough for the lucky charm to fit.

7. Cut cellophane into a star shape (significantly bigger than the hollow).

8. Glue the charm into the hollow. Then glue the cellophane star over it.

9. When the rod is dry, help your child gently poke it into the bottom of the star (about 1" deep). Pull it out, tap some glue into the hole you've made, and push the rod into the glue-filled hole again. Apply light pressure until it dries in place.

10. Your child can finish decorating the wand with the remaining materials.

Learning benefits:
• encourages creativity
• teaches shapes
• promotes imaginative play