Elf on the Shelf ideas! Never be stuck on what to have the Elf on the Shelf do when he or she comes to visit with this list of elf on the shelf ideas that also includes Elf pictures too!
Have no worries coming up with Elf on the Shelf Ideas this year because we have you covered with this HUGE list of EASY Elf on the Shelf Ideas! With 135 Elf on the Shelf Ideas you can scroll thru this list and not have to think of anything to do this year!
Elf on the Shelf Ideas
What is Elf on the Shelf?
Elf on the Shelf is one of the most fun and loved Christmas Traditions. The Elf is a scout Elf that is sent by Santa to make sure that the kids are behaving and to help Santa with the Naughty and Nice lists. Along with checking in on the kids each day they bring a little fun to the kids too!
When a family adopts an elf, they pick their elf name, which then gives the elf his or her magical powers to fly home each night to tell Santa about the days activities. (Need name ideas, check out this awesome list of Elf on the Shelf Names).
The next morning the Elf comes back from reporting to Santa and has some fun with the kids. Kids love seeing the fun their elf bring and running around the house looking for him each morning.
If you have never done Elf on the Shelf then make sure you check out how to Start elf on the shelf! It is filled with everything you need to know to start elf on the shelf. Be sure to also include the Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter when your Elf comes to visit for the first time!
If you know that you might struggle with planning grab the Elf on the Shelf Ideas calendar. It will help you not to worry about planning, just follow the calendar and have your elfy fun each day!
Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas
Now when your elf on the shelf arrives you are going to need some, that the kids are going to LOVE! There are lots of cute elf on the shelf ideas that are perfect for welcoming your elf on the shelf back!
I like to have our Elf bring the kids a small gift the first night they arrive. Depending on the year it has been new Christmas pjs, advent calendars or a craft.
I do always like to have our elf write a personalized note to the kids. Sometimes it is on fancy paper, sometimes it is a card and other times it is a printable welcome letter. But no matter what way I do it, the Elf always brings the kids a personalized note to get things started for the year.
What to Do with the Elf tonight?
Are you sitting up at night looking at the Elf going “What the heck are you going to do tonight that you have not already done?” Then you are going to LOVE this list of Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas!! There are 135 Easy Elf Ideas that are super simple, take almost no time at all. Plus you will never have a kiddo who is upset that the elf didn’t do anything!
Oh and if you ever run into an issue where your elf didn’t make it back to do something fun there are lots of great, kid friendly Reasons the Elf did not move.
If you need more ideas be sure to check out these awesome Elf Ideas that kids will love!
Toddler Elf Ideas
If you are looking for Elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers the best thing to do is keep it simple! Have the elf bring tiny gifts, or hide in semi easy places to find him or her.
If you have young kids at home then you want to have easy elf on the shelf ideas that work for places they will find them! There are lots of these ideas that are great elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers. Just be warned your toddler may try to touch the elf on the shelf, if they are like my toddler who is in love with our elf!
Be sure to also check out the Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Toddlers post for more ideas for the little kids.
Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Older Kids
The older kids are probably going to want to have more then just the elf sitting on the kitchen counter to be entertained. For us the kids love it when the elf on the shelf does silly things, or brings them a small treat. If you want to make it even more fun for the older kids you can have the elf on the shelf make a scavenger hunt for any items he is bringing with him.
Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
There are so many easy Elf on the Shelf ideas and I am sure you are going to love all of them and how easy they are. This holiday tradition is one that I am so glad that I started with my kids. It might get a little crazy sometimes, but the kids love it and I love seeing the excitement each morning!
“Celebrate other Holidays”
One of the easiest elf on the shelf ideas is to pull a few decorations from other holidays and have the elves decorate just a little bit with them! Have elf on the shelf decorate the house with a few Halloween decorations or Easter decorations!
Hide and Seek!
There are lots of places that the elf can hide. You can leave a note to help the kids find him or just let the kids run around like crazy looking for him! The kitchen is a great place, so make sure you check out these Kitchen Elf on he Shelf ideas for even more ideas that you can do in the kitchen! There are so many easy ones!
Hiding in the kitchen cabinet, in a glass… that is totally an elf on the shelf mischievous ideas! If you have them hide in the cabinet, you can use many different types of glasses for this.
Sometimes I like to make things a challenge and hide ours in a glass that is solid so the kids have to move lots of cups around. I do tend to leave a note with some sort of hint when I do this one though, or we have tears because no one can find the elf.
Hiding in the Freezer or the fridge. But be sure to wrap him up so he doesn’t get cold!
Getting into the coffee cups and deterring the morning need for coffee is quite the naughty elf on the shelf idea! But be sure that you don’t set yourself up to not have any coffee. Remember no one can touch the elf, so make sure you are placing him where you can still access your coffee!
On top of the Fridge! There are lots of different things you can add to be with him to change things up while he is on top of the fridge!
If you have a big enough piggy bank he can hide in there. Or behind it or under it and have only a part of the body being seen!
Have your Elf bring a snack!
Cookies are a great thing to have your elf bring the kids. You can make homemade sugar cookies and homamde Royal Icing and have the elf bring them for your kids to decorate! You can also have your elf on the shelf bring your kids favorite snack too!
Hot Chocolate is a great treat for the elf on the shelf to bring. You can also have him bring new Christmas mugs. Homemade hot chocolate or store bought hot chocolate will work perfectly for this fun elf on the shelf treat! If you are wanting to get really fun and fancy make some hot chocolate spoons and have the elf on the shelf bring them with him! There is also green hot chocolate that you could get all of the ingredients together and have elf on the shelf bring them the recipe!
Elf Makes breakfast!
It is really easy to have your elf pour a bowl of cereal and hanging on the counter! If you want to make it fancy and festive, have Elf on the shelf bring a box of special cereal! A few of our favorite Christmas themed cereals are:
- Christmas Captain Crunch Cereal
- Kellogg’s Holiday Colors Rice Krispies Breakfast Cereal
- Lucky Charms Chocolatey Winter
Of course one of the best things ever that their visiting friend can do… is make them one tasty breakfast! Of course we all know that elves do not eat breakfast like we do. Elf breakfasts are filled with all things sweet and tasty!
If your kid is having a birthday, make a birthday card from the elf and have your elf bring them a special birthday treat!
Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas
For the my older kids Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas have been the biggest hit with my kids! Having the elf get into things and make a bit of a mess has always been my kids favorite things that the elf has done. I am not exactly sure why the kids love naughty elf on the shelf ideas so much, but they do!
Using toilet paper to “tp” the house or things in the house is an easy and funny elf on the shelf idea that the kids will love!
Toilet papering is an easy idea and you can toilet paper just about anything in the house and the kids will think it is funny! Toilet paper the kids rooms, the Christmas tree, the bathroom and just about anywhere else that you can hang toilet paper!
If your tree isn’t up yet then you can easily set one up as a surprise from the elf and then have him decorate it with toilet paper. Then leave out the Christmas ornaments for the kids to decorate the tree with!
Leaving Messages around the house!
Writing on the mirror with toothpaste is a fun and easy idea. Plus the clean up isn’t bad at all! If you don’t want to use toothpaste you can also use shaving cream or dry erase board markers to have your elf on the shelf leave messages for your kids!
The great thing about this one is that you can have ANY saying you want to.
The kids rooms a mess? Have the message tell them to clean their room.
Homework needs to be done? Write a message for that!
Elf on the Shelf Bathroom Mirror Messages Ideas
- Be Good
- Brush Your teeth
- Elf was here
- Santa is watching
- Good Morning
- Have an Elftastic Day
Elf on the shelf mischievous ideas
The copy machine makes for a great mischievous elf on the shelf idea! Plus it is SUPER simple! Just photocopy the elf on the shelf and then leave the photo there with elf on the shelf on the printer.
If you want to take it a step further then you can replace photos in the house with the photocopies that were made!
Sometimes the elf might just steal lights off the Christmas tree and climb them… this one is always a hit!
Stealing candy… now that is a tasty idea!
Or attempting to knit… better say he didn’t do to well with this one. 😉
Sneaking money… or is he putting himself in the change jar? Either one will work well!
Trapping the kids in their room with ribbon…. totally an elf idea!
Or Elf in the candy jar…
Or grab some silly string and spray a room in the house! The kids love it when they wake up to this in the morning. This is also my go to one when someone in the house starts having Christmas doubts, they know Mom would never make a big mess that she would have to clean up later. 😉
Eating to many cookies from the cookie jar.
Skipping out on flushing the toilet.
Or sneaking in a shower so no one else can….
or just set up his own little christmas tree!
Elf on the Shelf ideas for older kids
If you are looking for more elf on the shelf ideas for older kids then you are going to love these next few elf on the shelf ideas! The kids toys are a great thing to use when having fun with elf on the shelf. So when you are looking for elf on the shelf ideas for older kids check out the stuff they have in their rooms and the toys that they love!
For some odd reason my kids get a big kick out of it when the elf on the shelf is getting caught or tied up. I am not sure why exactly, but they do and it is a quick and easy thing the elf can do that they enjoy.
Grab a candle, or the electric candles and make a camp fire for your elf on the shelf. Use mini marshmallows and a toothpick and have your elf enjoy a campfire and roasting marshmallows! Super easy elf on the shelf idea!
Quick elf on the shelf ideas
If you are running short on time, and need some quick elf on the shelf ideas these are some really quick elf ideas that can be done in under a minute!
Things, like hanging your elf from the laundry room shelf, or getting into the cookies, make perfect quick elf on the shelf ideas!
Grab a package of cookies…. Then just stick elf in! Tada! Quick and Easy Elf on the Shelf Idea!
Frosting is such a favorite treat for Elf on the shelf! Just grab a spoon, the container and let the elf have some tasty fun!
Elf on the Shelf Hiding Places
Random hiding places around the house are always great quick elf on the shelf ideas!
Elf on the shelf can easily hide in the pantry, or a kitchen cabinet!
… in the car ….
in a vase…..
In a Christmas tree….
In a bowl in the kitchen….Now this is one super easy Elf on the shelf idea!
Another super simple elf on the shelf idea, is to have him (or her) hanging on the vacuum, which can be done so easily if you have forgotten to move them the night before. If you are like me then your vacuum is easily accessible because you are always using it!
The kids toys are one of the easiest ways to get the elf moving in your house! One of our go to is anything Barbie! Barbie items are the perfect size for Elf on the shelf!
Elf on the Shelf Ideas for kids
Playing guitar with barbie….
Taking a bubble bath with barbie…
Riding in the car with barbie….
Another simple Elf on the shelf idea…. on top of the fridge! Gotta grab him some friends to, since you don’t want him to have to hang out alone all day!
The playroom, has plenty of easy hiding places for Elf on the Shelf and it is a great way to find elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers since they spend a lot of time in their playrooms. This is a great way to have eld on the shelf hanging out with your kids while they are play.
Elf on the shelf ideas with marshmallows
Using marshmallows or other candy items are a great way to have your elf leave a message for the kids!
Speaking of Marshmallows, they make a great way to give your elf a bubble bath!
Or have your elf on the shelf take a bath in the sink with marshmallows!
If you are looking for another elf on the shelf ideas with marshmallows, the big marshmallows are perfect for making snowmen!
Use a candy cane and some mini marshmallows with a candle, then make a little seat and tada! Your elf is roasting marshmallows!
Crafting with Elf on the Shelf
Crafts are always a big kit with kids, and craft items make great gifts for the elf on the shelf to bring!
Or you can have your elf on the shelf do the crafting as gifts for the kids! It is really easy to set up having the elf on the shelf coloring a picture for the kids.
Have an elf on the shelf scavenger hunt! A fun elf on the shelf idea is to hide candy canes, or other small candy items around the house and have the elf on a shelf leave a note for the kids to find the goodies.
If your kiddos are having struggles remembering to do their chores, your elf on the shelf can leave them a reminder!
Elf on the shelf balloon ride
There are a few different ways to have do an elf on the shelf balloon ride, you can have the elf on the shelf in a ballon and hang the balloon on a tree or anywhere else in the house that you want to.
You can also use a safety pin and balloons to have your elf on the shelf go on a balloon ride.
Elf on the shelf activity ideas
There are lots of easy elf on the shelf activity ideas that you can have your elf on the shelf do that will make it fun for the kids to find their elf friend in the morning when they wake up.
Reading is a lot of fun for your elf on the shelf to do!
Sometimes elf can read with friends, sometimes your elf can read to friends. There are lots of different things you can change up to make it so your elf has fun with reading. The elf could even bring a new book for the kids!
Going fishing is also something that is a fun elf on the shelf activity!
You can use a fish tank if you have one, but if you don’t a cup full of water with some goldfish works perfectly!
Another fun activity is planting candy cane seeds. Super simple! Have your elf bring candy cane seeds (peppermints) and then a bowl of sugar plant the seeds, then in the morning when the kids wake up they will grow in to candy canes!
Elf on the Shelf in the Playroom
Again…put those toys to good use for easy elf on the shelf ideas!
Elf on the shelf can hangout in the barn with all the animals…. or ride a horse!
Speaking of animals… he can clean up after them too! Chocolate candies are great for this one!
Of course we can not forget making snow angels… that is always a great Elf on the Shelf idea. Flour makes the perfect fake snow!
Speaking of making messes…. The kids always get a chuckle then the elf goes number 2…. hershey kisses are perfect! On the floor, in a barbie potty… there are lots of ways to make this one an easy elf on the shelf idea!
or maybe he just wants to make more mess with toilet paper and decorate a doll house!
Swinging and hanging are always fun elf on the shelf ideas!
The Christmas tree makes an easy hanging spot for elf on the shelf!
or using some underwear….
Possibly your elf on the shelf wants to be helpful. Like setting up more Christmas decorations or decorating the Christmas tree.
Decorate their own little Elf sized Christmas Tree!
Elf playing with the cat.
Sometimes elf on the shelf can be a helpful little fella!
Sometimes elf on the shelf might want to be a cat…. or a dog whichever pet you have 🙂
He might want to make a castle out of can goods…which can also be a great way to encourage the kids to give to others during the holiday season.
Or making Mom a cup of coffee…
or making breakfast….
Doing work or homework…
Baking a cake….
Sewing some clothing…
or maybe he just wants to hide….. on a shelf because after all he is the Elf on a Shelf!
Or he could want to play pretend and want to be Dr. Who! Dr. Who elf on the shelf how cool is that!?!
Elf on the Shelf Games
Elf on the shelf games are always fun!
Building an elf gingerbread house… also the perfect time for the Elf on the Shelf to bring a gingerbread house kit for the kids to make!
Sometimes simple elf on the shelf ideas are the best… like hanging out on a clock!
And sometimes the Elf on the Shelf needs to give the kids a little reminder…
If there is an angel in the house then he could totally get married to her!
The kids can totally give the elf some gifts too!
Having a tasty sweet snack!
Elf makes a giant mess in the kitchen trying to build a snowman with flour.
Elf playing video games.
Sometimes elf on the Shelf likes to decorate the house.
Sometimes he might steal the remote.
Take a ride down the banister in a slipper.
Get the dolls out to be a hair stylist.
Or he might just want to take things easy one day and find a place to just hang around!
Making some fun apple face and then brushing the apple’s teeth…. Grab a toothrush from the dollar store for this fun one! Which you might also want to check out these awesome dollar store elf on the shelf ideas!
Shaving cream makes a fun (but easy to clean up) mess that is totally a messy elf on the shelf idea that will make the kids laugh!
You can make elf on the shelf fly around anywhere you want to with this easy trick on how to make Elf on the Shelf Fly!
Hiding in a water bottle is another awesome and fun elf on the shelf idea… Check out how to put elf on the shelf in a water bottle for the full step by step directions.
Hanging underwear on the tree… now that is always an easy elf on the shelf idea that the kids will love!
Reading Christmas Stories….
Printable Goodbye Letter
When it is time to say good bye… a cute goodbye poem is perfect!
Get the EXCLUSIVE Good-Bye letter Printable!
In this FREE E-book you will get 3 Printables to make your Elf on the Shelf adventure easier! It includes Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter, Elf on The Shelf Rules and Elf on the Shelf Good-Bye Letter. Just fill out the form below!
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Thank you to all the readers who sent their photos of their elves in, that made it possible to share this amazing list of Elf on the Shelf Ideas!! We also update this list of Elf on the Shelf Ideas whenever we come up with a new, fun and easy elf on the shelf idea!
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