How we did it:
- clear glass or plastic ornaments (5) - take off the top metal hangers for later use
- moss (2-3 pieces per ornament) - make sure they can fit into the ornaments
- tweezers (1)
- led lights (5)
- lithium batteries (5) - CR 2032
- card stock paper - For the on/off switch for the LEDs
- dried/silk flowers (2-3 pieces per ornament) - make sure they can fit into the ornaments
- seeds (2-3 pieces per ornament) - make sure they can fit into the ornaments
- sticks (2-3 pieces per ornament) - make sure they can fit into the ornaments
We found small pieces of moss collected off logs during late summer as well as twigs, seed capsules, and dried flowers. We also used some reindeer moss and red and white tissue paper flowers that we had around from another project.
First, I removed the metal tops of the ornaments and set them aside for later. I made sure the open tops of the ornaments were free of sharp glass edges before letting the little ones touch them. (I definitely recommend going with the plastic ornaments if you're concerned about the glass breaking.) We used tweezers to carefully stuff the objects into the ornaments to make our terrarium.
We played around with arranging the moss, sticks, and flowers to create mini scenes inside each ornament. This was the most fun part!
This next part should be done by an adult or an older child since it took lots of fine motor coordination:
To light up the terrarium ornaments, we used LEDs powered by common lithium batteries. (You can buy these online for pretty cheap.) First we made sure the right LED nodes touched the right side of the battery. Then we simply taped the metal nodes to the batteries. Since I wanted to turn these on at night only, I cut little strips of card stock to place between one of the nodes and the battery. This effectively created an on/off switch where I could turn the LED on by pulling the paper out, and turn the LED off by stuffing the paper back in.
We then placed the LEDs inside the tops of the ornaments and anchored them using the metal wire that came with the ornaments.
We used yellow yarn to hang the ornaments on a mossy branch we had found during a nature walk.
We turned all the LEDs on and turned off the lights, and voila! We have Christmas lights without using string lights.
We loved how the light highlighted the organic items in the ornaments. The batteries will last for two to three days if continuously used, but we turned them off during the day and when we went to bed so that they would last longer.
We strung extra ornaments on some of the house plants we have in our living room. They'll make great mood lighting for Christmas dinner!