Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Kids

Elf on the Shelf is a magical way to have some fun leading up to Christmas. Here are some simple and creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas for kids.


Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Kids

For years my family has been doing elf on the shelf and they look forward to it all year long. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas with your special elf. Let me help you this holiday season with some elf on the shelf ideas for kids.

Our elf shows up the day after Thanksgiving, but your elf can show up when you want. You can start December 1st or wait until the week before Christmas, it’s up to you!

One thing I’ve learned over the years with our elf is that my kids love the simple magic of our elf moving and the fun in finding him every morning. It doesn’t need to be a huge production. It’s fun to do a few big things once in a while, but don’t feel like you need to get super creative for your kids to enjoy it.

Have some questions about your elf? Find some answers below by clicking on these links:

Elf on the shelf tips and advice
What to do if you burn your elf on the shelf in a light fixture
What to do if your elf on the shelf forgets to move

Elf on the Shelf advice:

1. Don’t over do it!

2. Have a plan for the week

3. Use your kids’ toys as props

4. Put him up high for less temptation to touch him

5. Get ideas from Pinterest

6. Have fun…isn’t that what it’s all about?

Elf on the Shelf in your Car

I always hide our elf in our car once during the season. The kids will look for him all over the house and give up and then when we drive somewhere they’ll be surprised to find him waiting in the car. Make sure your mirror is where you want it for driving because once he’s there you don’t want your kids to see you touch him on accident. 🙂

Elf on the Shelf in a Car Mirror

Elf on the Shelf Gingerbread House

This day took a little more time, but not much. We had made gingerbread houses as a family so I had our elf make a tiny little gingerbread house and he sat behind our already made houses.

Elf on the Shelf making a Gingerbread house

Elf on the Shelf in a Jar

This is one of those super simple ideas that my kids liked. I had overheard my son say that it would be funny if our elf hid in one of those canisters, so I stuck him in there one night.

Elf on the Shelf in a Jar

Christmas Decorations with Elf on the Shelf

It’s always fun to include your Christmas decorations in with the elf. Whether it’s sitting on a reindeer or hanging in a Christmas tree, this little elf can be so versatile. This is an easy idea and your kids will love it.

Elf on the Shelf riding a Reindeer

Elf on the Shelf can Balance

I was surprised at how well our elf could balance on our cupboard like this. I was thinking of using a pin or something to keep him in place, but I didn’t even need it. I’ve also done this trick on the side of the tv and he just hangs there all day. What a talented elf!

Elf on the Shelf hanging onto the cupboard

Minecraft Elf on the Shelf

I shared this Minecraft elf idea earlier this week. You can find out how to make it here.

Minecraft Elf on the Shelf

Swinging Elf on the Shelf

I made this swing out of a toilet paper role and twine one day. To keep the elf on the swing I used a little white thread tied around his wrist and then to the twine. This is a funny idea since toilet paper has been the big talk of 2020.

christmas, elf on the shelf ideas, elf swing

Elf on the Shelf Slide

Use a glue gun, toilet paper roll and card stock to make a sled.

Sledding elf on the shelf

It was so fun all the cool toys lined up to have a turn.

christmas, elf on the shelf, sledding

Just before bed I let the kids push the sled down the hill.  He had been tempting them all day dangling over the edge like that, I told him he wouldn’t mind being on the floor for a little while before heading back to the North Pole. Everyone loved it!

christmas, elf on the shelf ideas

Elf on the Shelf Reading to the Toys

Place your elf on the shelf with a book reading to a group of toys. It was so fun to do a dinosaur book to all the dinosaurs.

christmas, elf on the shelf, reading

Elf on the Shelf Hanging on a Garland

Upside down on our garland with a bunch of candy canes.

elf on the shelf hanging on the garland with candy canes

Elf on the Shelf Playing the Piano

Playing a little tune on the piano was a fun surprise. He needs a little prop to get him up to height.

elf on the shelf ideas, playing the piano

A little late night snack for the elf and the kids can enjoy the cookies for the rest of the day.

elf on the shelf ideas, eating cookies

Elf Floating on a Boat in the sink

Just a toy boat and a shallow amount of water in the sink.

elf on the shelf ideas, elf in a boat

Pyramid of Sugary Cereal

Acrobat elf brings a pyramid of sugar cereal. What a treat!

Hanging elf with cereal

Build a Fort with Elf on the Shelf

Streamer had some help from some of the other toys making an awesome fort in the front room. This kept them entertained and happy all day.

Elf on the shelf toy fort

Nutcrackers trap Elf on the shelf

Oh no! Streamer was captured by a bunch of nutcrackers. They hid up on top of the cabinets in the kitchen to make it a little trickier to be found.

Nutcrackers with elf on the shelf in the trap

Elf Delivering a Christmas Movie

Fly in a Christmas movie for the kids to enjoy.

Elf Flying with a movie attached

Get your Elf in Disguise

Silly Streamer made a disguise with an eye patch, mustache, and an argyle sweater (an old church sock with a hole in it!) He was checking himself out in a mirror.

Elf in disguise

Elf Drinking some water

All of the flying back and forth to the North Pole can make an elf pretty thirsty.

elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf getting a drink

Decorating Elf

Decorating a small Christmas tree.

elf on the shelf ideas, elf decorating a tree

Fishing Elf on the Shelf

Fishing for fish crackers in the bathroom sink.

elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf fishing

Elf in the Freezer

Maybe he was feeling home sick for the North Pole? Place your elf in the freezer (with a scarf, of course).

elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf in the freezer

If you’re looking to get your own elf on the shelf you can get them here.


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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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