The days after Thanksgiving are much anticipated for parents with young children. While many prepare their lists for Black Friday shopping, some prep for the arrival of the mischievous Elf on the Shelf friend (or at times, foe). Coming up with a month's worth of Elf on the Shelf ideas year after year is harder than you might imagine, so having a stockpile of inspiration comes in handy on those days when you're feeling less than creative.
Plan in advance and mix some simple ideas with more complex ones throughout the month, so you don't experience elf burn out. Also, don't be afraid to repeat ideas from previous years—the kids will still get excited when Elf repeats old antics.
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The Much-Anticipated Arrival
Make the elf's yearly arrival something special with a print out that welcome him back into the home. Push Elf through a punched-out hole in an otherwise gift-wrapped box, or spell out a message with mini candy on a table where Elf arrives. Some ideas include "Did you miss me?" or "I'm back!" You could also have Elf ride in on a toy airplane or car with an accompanying arrival sign.Continue to 2 of 13 below.
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The Cookie Debacle
Uh oh! Elf is suffering from a milk and cookie hangover. If you haven't made Christmas cookies yet, the elf may get caught eating Hershey kisses with chocolate on his face or drinking an open container of maple syrup out of a straw.Continue to 3 of 13 below.
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So Fresh and Clean
Even elves need to shower every once in a while, so set him up on the shower caddy. Alternatively, you could position Elf in a bowl filled with mini marshmallows, so it looks like a bubble bath, or spell something out with toothpaste on the bathroom sink and leave Elf behind. Make this a sink in your house that your children don't use on a regular basis.Continue to 4 of 13 below.
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Who's Ready for Some S'mores?
It's never too cold out for an elf-sized campfire and s'mores. To go even further, create a small tent using tan construction paper and a sleeping bag using felt, then position elf sleeping under the stars. If your child enjoys fishing, put a toy fish in the sink and have Elf fish out with a fishing pole made of a candy cane and string. Goldfish crackers will work if there are no toy fish available.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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A Swinging Good Morning
What's cooler than an Elf that also moonlights as a trapeze artist? Craft gymnast rings using twine and key rings, then position Elf in a typical gymnastics pose. Make a tire swing using twine and a mason jar lid, so Elf can swing in style, or create a zip line using any type of string or ribbon, then have Elf slide down on a mini candy cane.Continue to 6 of 13 below.
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Elf Learns a Valuable Lesson
When Elf has been misbehaving, he's sent to timeout just like any other magical character. Set up a bunch of mini figurines and toys that are tying up Elf with yarn or masking tape.Continue to 7 of 13 below.
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A Little TLC Is All Elf Needs
A common cold is no match for Elf, so long as he has some travel sized kid-proof cough syrup. Since a cold makes the elf sleep, make him fall asleep in a half-empty box of tissues and crumple up some tissues to put in his hand. If the Elf has had an "accident," cut some ace bandage into tiny strips and wrap up his arm or leg.Continue to 8 of 13 below.
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Even Bananas Aren't Safe
Are you good at doodling? Apparently, Elf is too—on bananas! Add some googly eyes and a felt mustache to your bananas instead or cut a hole around the center elf on a box of Rice Krispies and have Elf push through his head.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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A Sticky (And Happy) Situation
Your child likely agrees that stickers look best when they're scattered all over, everywhere, even all over Elf. However, the Elf might want to decorate something else with stickers instead, such as a jug of milk in the fridge. Another crafty idea: Place two knitting needles between Elf and have him attempt to knit, while also wrapping yarn around him.Continue to 10 of 13 below.
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When it comes to Elf antics, marshmallows will become your best friend. Set up a snowball fight between Elf and another figure using mini marshmallow snowballs, medium-sized marshmallows for a snow wall, and flour for ground cover. You could also make a weight using a mini straw and two marshmallows, then set up the Elf to benchpress it.Continue to 11 of 13 below.
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Add a Little Color
Adult coloring becomes Elf coloring, a stress-relieving Elf antic to try. Create a painting on a mini or full-size easel, then adhere a mini or full-size paint brush in Elf's hands. If your child loves books more than art, open a storybook and place Elf on his belly with his hands on his chin as he reads.Continue to 12 of 13 below.
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TP Hide and Seek
How long will it take your kids to find this hiding spot in a roll of toilet paper? Other TP fun could include rolling the Elf down the stairs in a tube of toilet paper, leaving a trail behind. or canvasing the Christmas tree with toilet paper with the Elf positioned next to the roll.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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Bored Elf Watches TV
Too much screen time isn't an issue for Elf, but he may get caught inside an opened M&M's bag with candy scattered over the kitchen counters as a movie treat. You could also place Elf inside a cookie jar with a cookie positioned in his hand or keep the microwave door open with a full bag of popcorn spilling out while Elf enjoys his own mini bowl next to the microwave.