We wanted a modern and natural way to decorate our small Christmas tree-less apartment with festive lit ornaments. It turned into a fun way to use the moss and various natural curiosities that we had been collecting.
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.
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 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.