Here are some great Quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas!! If you are short on time then you are going to love this list of Quick elf on the Shelf ideas, that will have your elf activities done in no time! This list of fun elf on the shelf ideas will take you no more than 5 minutes of time to set up.
Quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Doing Elf on the Shelf does not have to take long at night and it does not have to be hard. These Quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas will take you no more than 5-10 minutes at most to set up and the kids will love them!
The one thing about Elf on the Shelf that I have found over the years is that many of the easy Elf on the Shelf ideas I have done have been my kid’s favorites. The ones that took me just a few minutes to set up, have gotten the biggest giggles and smiles.
During the holiday season, things are busy, so there are many nights where setting up an extravagant elf set up is just not possible. These quick elf on the shelf ideas are all ones I have done for my kids that they enjoyed.
Plus, to make your life easier we also have the 24 Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas calendar so you don’t have to worry about thinking about the planning. Just follow the calendar and have your Elf on the Shelf fun each day!
Elf on the Shelf Ideas
I have made that super easy and have hundreds of Elf on the Shelf Ideas that kids love. You can use the Elf on the Shelf Planner printable I have created to get organized and make your Elf on the Shelf plan for the holiday season.
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Our favorite quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas
These Quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas on simple to do and don’t take much time at all. Plus the great thing about these Quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas is they are all fun ones the kids will love!
Elf Hide N Seek
Elf hiding places are the easiest way to have fun with the elf and there are many places in the house that are easy hiding spots. Pick a new spot that the elf has yet to be and leave a quick note with hints on where the elf is hiding for the kids to find them.
- In a glass in the cabinet
- In the Media cabinet
- In holiday decorations
- In the Candy Jar
- In the Cookie Jar
- In the Mailbox
- In the bathroom Cabinet
Toilet Paper Christmas tree
Grab a roll of toilet paper and wrap it around the tree or toss a few strips on the sides of the tree as if the elf decorated the tree with toilet paper. Then place the elf on the tree.
Use cotton balls or mini marshmallows as snowballs and create a mini snowball fight scene with the Elf and other small toys positioned around the “battlefield.”
Elf’s Christmas Countdown
Set up a mini advent calendar with the elf changing the date each day, using small cards or numbers. I also like to make a mess with this one sometimes and have the elf write it on the counter with chocolate sauce and leave the bottle out for the kids to find.
Elf’s Tissue Box Bed
Empty a tissue box and add a small blanket or tissue as a bed, with the elf lying down.
Elf Wrapping Presents
Use small gift boxes and wrapping paper to make it look like the elf is wrapping presents. If you want to make it more fun, have the elf wrap a few things for the kids. Silly things like a fork, the toothpaste, a box of pasta always got my kids laughing.
Elf Gets a Snack
There are lots of ways you can make this one quick and easy. Elves LOVE Sweets, anything sweet is the perfect snack, our favorites are candy, containers of frosting, and cookies.
Elf’s Toothpaste Message
Use toothpaste to write a message on a mirror or glass surface. Place the Elf nearby holding the toothpaste.
Elf’s Toy Car Joyride
Position the Elf in a toy car or vehicle, making it appear as if it’s taking a joyride around the house.
Elf’s Game Night
Have the elf surrounded by small board games or playing cards, as if they were playing with other toys.
Elf Cookie Shop
Grab the Elf Cookie Shop printable here, or make your own and set out a plate of cookies.
Candy Cane Hunt
Hide candy canes around the house. Leave a note saying there are ___ Candy Canes hidden in the house and for the kids to go and find them. Include the number of hidden candy canes in the note so the kids know how many to look for and find.
Elf Mirror Messages
Pick a mirror (use shaving cream, toothpaste or an erasable marker) or grab a piece of paper and leave a message from the elf to the kids.
Elf’s Letter to Santa
Have the elf write a letter to Santa. Leave miniature paper and a tiny pencil nearby. This is a great one to have the kids start writing their letters to Santa. You can leave out the printable Santa letters for the kids to fill out.
Elf in the Pantry
Place the Elf inside a cereal box or sitting on a jar of cookies in the pantry, peeking out mischievously.
Candy Cane Swing
Tie a piece of string between two chairs or a door frame. Attach a candy cane securely to the string using tape or thread, creating a swing for the Elf.
Elf Takes a Shower
You can hang elf in the shower for a super simple idea. If you want to get a bit more in depth by having them washing up or sitting in a towel as if they are done taking their shower.
Elf Makes A Mess
Yes I know, us moms do not like having to clean up messes but a little bit of a mess from the elf always makes my kids laugh.
Toilet paper roll snowman
Stack 3 rolls of toilet paper, using a marker draw a face and then stick the elf in the top hole of the top roll of toilet paper.
Elf has a sweet drink
Elves love sugar, that is no secret. Which is why this one is super easy. Get something that is drinkable and put a straw in it. My kids love it best when it is something that is kinda silly like a jug of maple syrup or a bottle of chocolate sauce.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Place the elf in a jar or container and label it as “Elf Magic – Do Not Open!
Use Q-Tips or toothpicks and lay them out to look like a snowflake.
Elf goes Poop
Get a clear glass or a mason jar and a handful of Hershey’s Kisses. Unwrap the kisses, and place the elf sitting on top of the glass.
Set the elf up on the couch or near the TV and place some candy wrappers nearby and make them all comfy to watch the movie.
Elf Plays with Food
Seat out some frozen peas in the shape of the message that says “I pead” or “We pead”.
Elf’s Bubble Bath
Fill a small bowl or container with bubbles (mini marshmallows work great) and place the elf inside, surrounded by mini toy rubber ducks.
Elf’s Message Board
Use a small chalkboard or paper and have the elf write a message or draw something fun for the kids to see in the morning.
Elf Builds a Snowman
Using Marshmallows have the elf build a snowman. He can also leave out supplies for the kids to build their own marshmallow snowman in the morning.
Elf Reads a Book
Grab a book and have elf read it. You can also add some extra to it by setting out other toys as if the elf is reading a book to the other toys.
Elf’s Science Experiment
Arrange simple supplies like baking soda and vinegar with the elf conducting a small science experiment.
Elf’s Toy Parade
Line up some small toys or stuffed animals in a row and have the elf leading them as if in a parade.
Elf’s Decorating Mishap
Set the scene as if the elf tried to decorate with the Christmas decorations but made a mess. Use wrapping paper, ribbons, and tape scattered around with the elf tangled in ribbon.
Elf on the Shelf Plans Movie Night
Have the elf sitting ready to go with everything you need to family movie night. Put a movie and some snacks, a few bags of popcorn with the elf and a note saying this is for family movie night for everyone to enjoy.
Get some bananas or oranges and leave the peels on them. Using a marker draw silly faces on the fruit.
Toilet Paper Shenanigans
Elf can roll toilet paper around a small area or even “decorate” a room with it.
Zip Line Adventure
Attach a string or yarn across the room and have the elf ride a small toy or container as a zip line.
Arrange a small tea party with other toys or stuffed animals, using miniature cups and saucers.
Elf Makes Hot Chocolate
Use the toilet and some mini marshmallows and a few scoops of hot chocolate and tada, the elf has made a large batch of hot chocolate.
Elf gets a Cold
Grab some tissues and tissue boxes and some cold meds to leave out with the elf. Once elf is better you can have them come the next day with a healthy elf certificate, you can make your own or get the printable here.
Arrange a small tea party with other toys or stuffed animals, using miniature cups and saucers.
Set up a bowl of water with toy fish and have the elf “fishing” using a small stick or toy rod. You can also do this with an empty bowl and some goldfish crackers.
Use flour or powdered sugar to create a tiny snow angel on a surface, and place the elf in the center. Sprinkles and cereal also work well to make an angel.
Hot Cocoa Day
Set out mugs and hot cocoa for the kids to enjoy. You can do this in many ways including store bought hot chocolate, homemade hot chocolate, Hot Chocolate Spoons and Hot Chocolate Bombs. Have the elf set out the mugs, the hot chocolate, and toppings including mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.
Hot Chocolate Recipes
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate Spoons
- Whipped hot chocolate
- Marshmallow hot chocolate cups
- Hot chocolate spoons
- Caramel Hot Chocolate
- Pink Hot Chocolate
- Keto hot Chocolate
- Halloween Hot Chocolate
- Unicorn Hot Chocolate Bombs
- Italian Hot Chocolate
Dress-Up Extravaganza for Elf and the Toys
Use doll clothes or miniature attire to dress up the elf and other toys.
Elf on a Swing
Hang a small string and an empty toilet paper roll from a shelf, door frame, or ceiling fan and let the elf “swing” using a small toy swing. I do suggest adding a bit of tape on the bottom of the elf so they stay on the swing, tape also works to have their hands holding onto the strings.
Elf Takes a bath
You can have the elf take a nice bath. Use a sink, Barbie tub or a doll tub and fill it with marshmallows or cotton balls to be the bubbles and have Elf take a bath.
Have the elf draw a funny self-portrait on a small piece of paper using markers or crayons. Don’t worry you don’t need a lot of artistic talent for this one, just the start of the elf face will work.
Head on over here and print the Elf Bingo game or use a Bingo game you already have and the elves are ready to play with their friends.
Elf on the Shelf Printables
Printables make life easier and more fun when doing Elf on the Shelf. These are some of our favorite Elf on the Shelf Printables.
- Elf on the Shelf Tic Tac Toe
- Elf on the Shelf Names Printable
- Elf on the Shelf BINGO Game
- Elf Kissing Booth Printable Prop
- Elf Pizza Shop Printable
- Elf Cookie Shop Prop Printable
- Elf Reindeer Friend Adoption Certificate Printable
- Elf Donut Shop Printable Prop
- Elf on the Shelf Health Certificate
- Elf on the Shelf Adoption Certificate
- Elf on the Shelf Printables Pack
- Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter
- Elf on the Shelf Ideas calendar
- Elf on the Shelf Rules Printable
- Elf on the Shelf I’m Back Letters
- Elf on the Shelf We are Back Letters
Elf on the Shelf Ideas Tips
If this is the first time you are doing Elf on the Shelf and you are not sure on how to start. Check out how to get started doing Elf on the shelf. It is EASY to do and so much fun for both the parents and the kids!
Make sure you also grab the awesome Elf on the Shelf Letter or you can grab this Elf on the Shelf Arrival Letter printable. It makes welcoming the elf on the shelf super easy! And you are going to need the Elf on the Shelf Rules too!
Make sure you also check out Reasons your Elf Did not move… it might happen sometimes.
More Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Kids
- Ultimate list of Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Kitchen Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Dollar Store Elf on the Shelf ideas
- How to Make Elf on the Shelf Fly
- How to hide elf in A Water Bottle
What Is Elf on the Shelf?
Elf on the Shelf is a fun holiday tradition in which scout elves are sent from the North Pole by Santa to add magic to the holiday season.
Each night the elf goes back to the North Pole, some parents say to report back to Santa the children’s behavior and others say it is so the scout elves can meet up and come up with ideas to share with the children.
The elf magically moves to a new spot every night, and children find their elf friends when they wake up each morning. The fun part for the kids is seeing what the elf (or elves if they have multiple) have done for the day. Sometimes the elf brings a gift, other times the elf does something silly, and sometimes something mischievous.
In our house, our Elf adds to the magic of the Christmas Season and is used to have extra fun and enjoyment. You can choose to have the elf be a watcher of good behavior if you want to, that is a personal parenting choice.
If you are new to Elf on the Shelf be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide of Everything you need to know about Elf on the Shelf.
Elf on the Shelf FAQ
When Does Elf on the Shelf Start?
The Elf on the Shelf typically starts around the beginning of December, specifically on December 1st. Sometimes the Elf’s return will be earlier and start their fun the day after Thanksgiving.
How Long Does the Elf Stay?
Elf on the Shelf elves come to visit each day through Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve Santa picks them up and brings them back to the North Pole.
Where do you get an Elf on the Shelf?
You can find the Elf on the Shelf kit in various options at retail stores, especially during the holiday season. Major retailers often have the Elf on the Shelf book kit and accessories for the Elf on the Shelf.
If you want to purchase an Elf on the Shelf Book set there are many online retailers that have them.
More Holiday Fun For the Kids
There are so many tasty Christmas treats that the kids will love and they are all perfect for any kids Christmas parties that you might have. Some of our favorite Christmas treats are Santa Hat Cupcakes and Whoville Cookies !
But you can check out the full list of Kid Friendly Christmas Treats and pick out your favorites to make with the kids!