What you'll need
Cereal or cracker box, milk or juice cartons, scissors, white acrylic paint, paintbrush, toilet-paper tube, mini raisin boxes, pencil, patterned and solid scrapbooking paper, felt, glue, cardstock, scalloped scissors, cotton stuffing, 4" metallic doily, black marker, caps, small plastic animals, batting, small rectangular white lacquer tray ($32; westelm.com), bottle-brush trees ($24 for four; hometraditions.com), fake snow, battery-operated candles
1. Houses: Cut bottoms off boxes and cartons. Cut tops of boxes to a point to accommodate roof. Cut off top edges of cartons. Paint inside and outside of all boxes, cartons, and tubes white. Let dry.
2. Windows and doors: Draw onto houses with pencil; cut out. Cut window casings from solid scrapbooking paper or felt slightly larger than openings; glue to inside of box. Cut shutters from paper or felt; glue to outside of box.
3. Roofs: Cut a piece of cardstock 1" wider than carton or box and 1" longer than the combined length of each top side. Fold in half; glue to top of carton or box. To create scallop-edged eaves, measure the combined length of roof edges and cut 1/2" strip of matching paper that length. Fold in half, cut one long side with scalloped scissors, and glue to underside of roof.
4. Chimneys: Cut raisin boxes on an angle; glue onto flat side of roof. Or, cut boxes into V-shape; glue onto roof's top peak. Glue on cotton stuffing as smoke.
5. Silo: Cut 1" wedge from silver doily, wrap to form a cone, and glue. Glue doily to top of toilet-paper roll. Draw a small square on side with marker.
6.Scene: Paint bottle caps and plastic animals white; let dry. Cut 2 or 3 layers of batting to fit into tray. Arrange trees, houses, animals, and bottle caps on top of batting; sprinkle with snow. Illuminate houses with battery-operated candles.
Originally published in the December 2012 issue of Parents magazine.