If there’s been one positive thing we’ve come to appreciate over the past year, it’s the chance to connect with loved ones and spend time with the people in your household. Even so, some parents may have struggled with coming up with ways to occupy young ones who find themselves cooped up inside more, especially as outdoor temperatures cool. With the holiday season upon us, The Mercury gathered a few supplies to create simple craft decorations the whole family can work on together.

Message garland

Hanging garland, especially the festive kind, is a perfect way to fill space on a bare wall, and it’s easy enough to make on your own. You can customize them to spell out whatever message you’d like. Think “jolly,” “merry,” “hope” and more.

What you’ll need

  • Cord or twine
  • Mini clothes pins
  • Card stock
  • Alphabet stickers or markers
  • Ornaments

Directions

  • Cut approximately a 4-foot-long length of your cord or twine.
  • Take card stock and fold and cut it in equal parts. Cut a triangle shape out from the bottom of each square to create a pennant shape. You will want one pennant for each letter of your message — we made five for the word “jolly.”
  • Either place your alphabet stickers onto the paper or draw them on yourself.
  • String ornaments onto the cord and using the clothes pins, clip the pennants onto the cord in between each ornament.
  • Tie off the ends or create a loop so you can hang it wherever you’d like.

Winter wonderland snow globe

Since this season hasn’t been all that cold or snowy so far, bring some of that winter charm inside with these super easy DIY snow globes. If you’ve crafted before, you may already have most of the things needed for this project. Your winter wonderland scene doesn’t even need to be that festive as the children could put Lego figurines or other small toys inside.

What you’ll need

  • Mason jar
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Mini trees or figurines/small toys of your choice
  • Water

Directions

  • Take your trees or figurines and glue them to the inside of the mason jar lid. Hot glue will likely best keep it in place, and parents should help out here if needed.
  • Fill the jar with as much glitter as you want (the more the merrier), and then fill it up with water as high as you can because you don’t want to leave too much a dry space when you flip the jar upside down.
  • Screw the lid back on and shake it up to get the snowy effect going inside your snow globe. If you find the lid leaks, try putting some glue on the inside edges and letting it dry before screwing it back onto the jar.

Longer-lasting gingerbread house

Often around this time of year, you should be able to find small houses and buildings to create a a mini winter neighborhood or town. Grab some plain ones and transform them into gingerbread houses. While these aren’t the sugary and edible kind, they should be able to last through the years if carefully stored.

What you’ll need

  • Clay or wooden house structure (ours was purchased from Target)
  • Brown paint
  • Paint brush
  • Spackle
  • Piping bag
  • Cake frosting tips and ring attachment
  • Beads (optional)

Directions

  • Paint the entire house brown and let it dry between coats. Repeat until you have an opaque covering.
  • Prepare your piping bag by snipping the tapered end, placing the frosting tip(s) of your choice onto the end and securing it with the ring attachment. Put spackle inside the bag. Make sure to tie it off or twist the top before frosting to make sure the spackle doesn’t ooze upward.
  • Much like you would a normal gingerbread house and icing, pipe the spackle onto the edges of the house, roof and windows to create whatever designs you’d like.
  • While the spackle is still drying, you can place colorful beads on the house to create a Christmas lights effect. If you find they won’t stay with spackle, glue them on once the spackle is fully dry, which could be an hour or two.

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